Where I am right now 

  

Where I am right now is Home.

Home Alone.

  
Those two words above deserve there own line because its rare I get to say them. I love being at home raising our kids and working just a few hours, its the path we have chosen as a family. But that doesnt make it always easy or without cost. As an individual I thrive off time with my friends and family, but also time alone. There have been seasons where this has been naturally impossible with a large, close in age family, but I have come to realise it is unsustainable for me to have this continually, and to live my life well.

As most of you know we are approaching a year since we left family and friends and relocated to Scotland for the next stage of our journey. Within that year I have come to understand and accept myself and my story a lot more. We are travelling back tomorrow for our first visit back and it has thrown a lot of old emotions back to the surface. 

They say that “comparison is the theif of joy”

They are right.

Moving hundreds of miles away places you in a unique postion to really take stock of who you are away from the pressures , expectations and opinions of others. Real or percieved. I have found it easier here to explore and express my true nature and am finding peace with my slightly introverted personality, and need for time alone.

However Jon and I made a decision recently which really exposed how affected I am by “mum guilt” for any time away from my kids unless Im working. I figured if I’m battling with guilt over this then lots of you are probably battling with your own version of it. Most of the amazing mums I know are normally giving themselves a hard time over something or other. 

We have paid for Sophia to do an extra 4 hours in nursery from August which will give me an entire school day without the kids when im not working….and I am racked with guilt. Even though logically I know she will be fine and I will be a better wife, parent and general human being because of it. 

Yet I can’t shake the guilt and comparison….and I am suprised at myself for it.. I thought I was past this.. I know its bad because Im normally happy to share my heart and I dont want to write this. As I type I’m  worrying what certain people will be thinking!! That in turn makes me feel paranoid, silly and exposed, which I do not enjoy.

The truth is we are as mums we are all so different, and we have different pressures and coping thresholds.  But the one thing we share is our love for our families and the fact that we are all trying our best. So lets be champions of each other and find peace with ourselves on a true and deep heart level.  We all need time to recieve life from God and just have fun, and its worth fighting and planning to find it. 

Jon and I are big believers in investing in marriage. So term time monday mornings are going to become date morning! and monday afternoon will be time to finish a writing project for me. I hope I can embrace it with thanksgiving and find a way to let go of the guilt….

I pray my vulnerable rant will inspire you to take stock of some of the things you get ‘mum guilt’ for, and for you to see if thats some baggage you can throw overboard!

Heres to the journey towards freedom

I will leave you with these lyrics from Jared Andersons song  “where i am right now’

   

Advertisements

Image

Living the micro in light of the macro

It’s 10.30am, The kids and I are all still unwashed in our pajamas relishing the slowness of this day. So far it’s comprised of eating, slouching, playing, reading and way beyond the recommended daily allowance of screen time. It’s one of those rare blissful days in a large family, one where everyone is occupied and happy, no one is arguing…after a busy, fantastic and fun festive period it’s heavenly.

Whilst I have pottered doing washing, making snacks and fetching things for people, I have also read my book and felt God speaking to me through it. And so unexpectedly I’m writing. I never write in the day when all the kids are home…there’s too many jobs to do, I feel guilty that my attention is elsewhere, it’s too noisy, the list goes on. But today it’s different, I’m still being interrupted every 2 minutes, it’s noisy but I don’t care….the need to write is great today. I kind of need to communicate the swirl inside my heart and spirit and this I realise is how I do it, by writing. I do not need to feel guilt if I’m honest what would I be doing otherwise in my slouchy pajamed state? Flicking through social media or gazing in the cupboard looking for leftover Christmas chocolate..would that be a more helpful use of time?

On the 3rd January 2017 at 33years old I finally understand something about myself in a new way. I’m a writer, not the best, most eloquent or creative one. But a writer all the same. God reminded me today through the book im reading, that as a little girl, a teen and a young adult one free of time constraints and responsibilities…I was always writing. Even as a mother of 1 and 2 children I wrote a lot. Yesterday whilst looking for some lost paperwork I came across 70000 words of a book I wrote a few years ago..discarded and shoved under lots of old files. Hours upon hours of my heart poured out, buried.

Life. What can I say…it’s messy and beautiful, it’s painful and joy filled, it’s dull and it’s wonderful, it’s ordinary and it’s glorious. And it’s flying by….

It’s days that roll into weeks, that roll into months and then into years. But they are made up of moments. The very moment that each of you are in right now is truly the only life that you really have. What’s gone is memories and what’s ahead hasn’t happened yet and truly we don’t know if it ever will.

So how then should we live. As people occupying this earth in 2017 how should we spend this wild and precious life that each of us have? I think it in the micro. In the moments, in the small descisions to forgive or be kind. To pick up an apple instead of a cake, and sometimes a cake instead of an apple. To add an item to our shopping trolleys for the food bank, or put down our screens and share a meal with someone important to us. To stop what we are doing and look our children fully in the face when they choose to share something seemingly small, but important in their world. 

Yet if we only live in the moment and the micro we won’t get to where we want or need to go. These moments need to be lived in light of the macro. In the light of vision and purpose and direction. 
It’s kind of like a giant puzzle made up of tiny pieces. We need the puzzle cover box to glance up at as we handle the small pieces that make it up…or we won’t have a clue how it all fits together.

So I encourage you to take time to figure out what the macro things are in your life. What’s important? Where’s God leading you? What does your giant puzzle look like? What needs to be introduced in the micro, in the daily to get you where you need to go? What’s in the way? What’s got to be eliminated?

Although it’s kind of cliche the new year is a good time to take stock of where you are. One of the things that Jon and I have always done to help position us is to pray for a word, a phrase or a scripture for the year. Sometimes it comes immediately, sometimes it takes weeks. But God is faithful and He always speaks to those who seek Him.

I’ve never shared mine before..it’s so personal. But this year I will as means of example and encouragement. And because someone else who lives miles away that I barely know has the same one…maybe it will be the word for one of you?

My word is ENOUGH.

God is enough, I’m enough, there’s enough time, I have enough stuff……

Well it’s sat for 45 minutes and my window to write this is well and truly over…it’s probably full of slightly over honest musings and typos…but hey if you’ve bothered to read this far I’m sure you don’t mind the unedited me.

Happy new year

May you take time to discover, renew and prune your macro. And enjoy, be present in and relish your micro wild and precious life

Love Emma x x 

 

Image

Catch the wind

It’s been months since I’ve written on here.

Come to think of it, it’s been months since I’ve written anything. 

As I’m sure many of you are aware in July our family made the move from Cornwall to Scotland. It’s been such an interesting and emotion filled time loaded with highs and lows for all of us. Full of joy filled glorious moments as we build our little church community, and lows as we settle into this new season.

I was prepared to leave Cornwall, I knew I would miss our friends and family, I knew it would be a big upheaval for the kids.

But I was not prepared for how hard it would be as a parent to watch our children suffer. To see them cry as family left, to leave them at the school gates looking lost, to watch them be overlooked at the park and to gaze over at them as they withdrew into a book or a film not wanting to tell us how there day has been….it’s been brutal on our hearts as parents.

Yet it has produced good fruit. Beautiful, diverse, lasting faith and hope filled fruit. We’ve prayed with more passion for them. We’ve taken time to listen to them individually and love them with more intention. In difficult moments when I don’t have any words to bring comfort I’ve sought God for wisdom of what to do or say. We’ve been teaching them about God being their refuge and in those times at school when we can’t physically be there for them, they are learning for themselves that God is always with them. In our little church community, and out and about I watch them be kind and inclusive as they seek to make others welcome.

The fruit is as beautiful as the process has been brutal. The beautiful exchange as we give God what is hard and painful He transforms it into something good and lasting. 

As hard as it is, the fire really does refine, and in parenting there is always opportunity to this played out.

For me personally I’ve been driving deeper into who God is and what that means to me as a daughter and a follower of Him. I’ve found massive inspiration and challenge through Melissa Helser’s story. (Check out some of her testimony on YouTube) Rarely a day goes by when I’m not declaring the lyrics from their new album over our household.

My feelings have been all over the place and I’m trying (and failing often) to make good choices with my thoughts and my words despite the circumstances or how I might feel. Eventually peace and joy are found at the end of a good choice.

The other thing that has really helped and boosted my soul is intentionally seeking out the beauty and good in my everyday life. It’s a habit the kids are learning too. 

Autumn has been glorious here in East Lothian, and as I drive and walk about from one thing to the next I take time to breathe in the fresh air, to notice the array of changing colours in the leaves or point out birds to the kids…..

Despite the stories on the news, the illness of friends, the difficult circumstances, the loss and loneliness we can all feel…..good can always be found, and our souls need it.

Look for the beauty today, and catch the wind!

Em x

Image

Is ‘Wellness’ a choice?

I’ve been on the most incredible journey with my health over the last 7 weeks, and it’s rocked almost everything I thought I knew about Wellbeing.

First of all what is Wellbeing? According to the dictionary ‘ it’s the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.’ I think that’s a pretty short but decent definition, although I would have to add in the word soul to that.

7 weeks ago I took my young son for a haircut and stood facing the mirror for a good 20 minutes. I looked and felt awful, spotty skin, dark eyes, lank hair. I felt grumpy, lethargic and worn out in every way. I was exercising, but I wasn’t sleeping well or eating well or thinking well. My prayer life was almost non existent and soon as I got the kids in bed all I wanted to do was sit with my iPad eating junk food and zoning out….and whenever that was possible, thats what I would choose.

Long story short I decided enough was enough, and I did a 14 day eating plan where I cut out junk food and sugar ( and I’m still going in many ways). Lots of areas of my life were a mess but I chose food because I became aware that it was impacting every part of my Wellbeing….let me explain.

John Eldredge from Ransomed Heart often talks about the difference between restoration and relief. Life is busy and full of circumstances and challenges we can’t control, in the middle of that God is always waiting and inviting us to go to Him to be restored. However often instead of turning to Him, to truth, to Life, we seek relief instead. zoning out to the tv, scrolling through social media, eating comfort food…fill in the blank…

so choosing to tackle my eating habits first, although seemingly non-spiritual was actually a spiritual choice. Food had become something in my life that it was never meant to be. The chocolate in the fridge became where I turned when I was bored, frustrated, exhausted or stressed. God wasn’t getting a look in, except occasionally maybe when I would listen to a teach online…while I was eating!

God created us to journey through life with Him. He created food for us to be nourished and sustained, enjoyed with friends. He gave us free will to choose and to think. He gave us a body and a mind to live in and asked us to care for it.

I lay before you life and death….now choose life – God.

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he – Soloman, Proverbs.

When I started eating better, using food to nourish me instead of comfort me…it created space for me to turn to God instead. I got more energy and became more productive. I found myself more awake and alert, praying and worshipping more. I was a nicer person to be around ( especially at home with my kids and husband) with more patience and kindness because I was more connected to God. 

I look better, I feel better and I’m thinking better quite simply because I made a choice. Then I carried on making that choice every day. Has it been easy? No. Has it been worth it? Yes.

We can’t control the things that come against us in the forms of sickness and disease, we can’t control our DNA. But we can choose to think good thoughts, forgive, eat good food, exercise, sleep enough, rest enough, drink enough water, and this will give us the best opportunity for health.

We can choose restoration instead of relief and everytime we do that we choose wellness. Whether we are fighting fit or in the midst of a health battle we can choose wellness. For me it started with choosing well with my food and it then seeped into every part of my life. What is it for you? Do you need to stop criticising others? Or get outside more? Or choose hope over despair? Or go to bed earlier?

Why not pray and ask the Holy Spirit if there is a choice you can make to move you towards wellness

So is wellness a choice?
Yes.

Will you choose it?

Love Emma x

Pls check out Dr Caroline Leaf….think and eat yourself smart it’s a great resource and explains in so much depth how our thought choices and food choices affect our brains and our health.

Finish the exercise!

  
As most of you know I recently qualified as a Pilates instructor, even though I hold the qualification I am only at the beginning of learning all there is to learn. I choose to still train twice a week with a great instructor much further down the road than me, this helps and inspires me greatly.
At my session this week she observed that I never finish each repetition fully, I’m always rushing on to the next one. Often in the final parts of the exercise is where the benefits are found. I joked in response that I am like that in life so it’s no surprise it floods into this part of my world too.
See I’ve always been a great starter….not so good with the finishing! Like so many of us I struggle to keep the momentum going once the excitement has passed. 
So it’s funny really that I have fallen in love Pilates, because in Pilates there are no short cuts. There is no rushing to the next thing. There is no winging it! There’s only discipline, commitment and concentration. 
I love how the natural reflects the spiritual. When we invite God into everything we do he speaks to us. For me Pilates is something that has exposed so much of my character flaws and given me a great opportunity to deal with them. As I face them in the physical I find myself dealing with similar things in the spiritual.
All around my life are half finished projects, piles of not quite sorted paperwork, half completed books and studies…eating plans I started but never finished and it leaves me feeling disappointed and wasting the gifts and opportunities I’ve been blessed with.
Children learn from example not from what we tell them. Now this doesn’t mean we have to strive for perfection and be guilt ridden at every mistake, but actually once something has been revealed to us we have an opportunity and a responsibility to try, and to overcome things is a beautiful thing.
So for me, I will be trying to slow down and finish what I’ve started, whether that be a leg circle, an eating plan or a book.
Being open to listen and learn from our day to day life is invaluable. At my church small group at the moment I feel like a sponge to soaking it all in, hungry to listen and learn. The realisation that I have far to go, and much to learn is one that brings excitement and expectation into my heart.
Sometimes we hide from our flaws or feel condemned by them, but that’s not how Jesus sees it. He is always ready to help us and sustain us and walk with us through it all. Life is an incredible journey and by valuing and humbling ourselves we make the journey that much richer and more fruitful.       
So maybe your crazy busy like me with kids and general life and you don’t have much time to stop, listen and consider….maybe try intentionally praying and asking God to speak to you through all areas of your life….
That’s a prayer you will definitely get an answer to!
I’d love to hear from you if you do post a comment to encourage others
Love Emma x 

Image

Pilates, Peppa Pig and PMT

What a crazy few months it’s been!

As the title suggests, I’ve been desperately tying to juggle studying Pilates and family life, while my hormones have been going crazy. I’m not gonna lie it’s been tough.

Trying to practise my exercise while the kids clamber all over me, studying anatomy with my flash cards while waiting at the school run. Keeping going through horrificly painful periods, it’s challenged me in every way.

I’ve noticed a pattern in my life than when I get very busy another very important ‘P’ goes out the window….

Prayer

It seems the busier I get, the more I struggle spiritually. I try hard not to let it happen but at the end of the day it just loses it’s priority in my life. As stresses come we learn a lot about who we are and what our lives are built upon. For me it nearly always takes a crisis to reevaluate how I live my day to day life.

Chatting to God in the car on the way to work last week, I realised quickly that it had been a while…a while since I just hung out with Jesus, just because I wanted to and because I love him. I mean I sent plenty and one liners up there, and I’ve prayed for other people….but to just be, with no agenda….I’ve no idea how long that had been.

Life is always busy in the world we love in today, and stresses, demands, schedules, illness, challenges…there not gonna stop. I was chatting to someone in the street the other day, they had noticed how worn down I was looking, they gave me some advice which I’ve really tried to take on board.

 This person said to me, ‘ the difficult hormones and migraines are probably caused by stress, you need to take it easy.’ I replied, ‘oh I will, as soon as these exams are out of the way, it will calm down, then I will do less.’ They smiled a knowing smile, ‘that’s what stressed people always say. When your exam finishes there will be something else ready to take its place’

Busted.

I realise I may have been making that excuse a lot recently, oh, as soon as this finishes it will calm down, as soon as so and so starts sleeping through the night, as soon as my period is finished. There is always something…..

So we have to choose right now, what our priorities are, how we spend our time, how much we give to God, our families etc. because otherwise tomorrow never comes and we become people we don’t want to be, living lives we don’t want to live.

This photo below was taken a couple of weeks ago just before I left to teach, I don’t think the make up hides the exhaustion and the banging headache, I didn’t feel myself that day.

Nothing has changed outwardly. I’m still practising til I’m bruised, I’m dreading my next period and that peppa pig song is still driving me crazy. 

But I have changed inwardly. 

Just in a small, probably unnoticeable way to anyone else. But in my heart, my priorities are reordered and prayer  is back, helping me and guiding me along the way.

How are you doing? Do you even know? Maybe take a minute to be quiet and ask the Holy Spirit

Thanks for reading, I hope it helps at least one person

Love Emma x 

 

Your love breaks down my prison

  

I love how God can speak to us in and through all circumstances. I’m a person who loves to be outside in creation and I go there to connect with God and refresh my soul whenever I can. But the reality of my everyday life is that most of my time I’m looking after children, cooking, cleaning, working and running around after everyone.

Monday morning was its normal beautiful chaos, and as we all ready for school and work and my heart and mind were in a bad place. I’d been struggling for a couple of weeks. Drowning it to do lists and anxious thoughts I was starting to panic, as I bent down to clean the toilet I prayed a quick prayer of help to God and I heard His loving responce 

‘You have a choice here, to keep spiralling in anxiety or find your way back to me’

I was tempted to choose to spiral if I’m honest, I just couldn’t find the strength, time or the inclination to come back to Him…it was easier to wallow and attack my to do list. I tried to just pray on my own on the way to work but the slightest things kept setting me off. In the end I called a friend who knows my heart and my story. She prayed and spoke truth into my heart and together we dispelled the lies I has been believing and I realigned with truth.

It was simple, powerful and beautiful. 

We were created to live in community, to share our struggles, and to love and strengthen one another. It’s ok to need help sometimes.

It all starts with a choice.

Leaning over cleaning my toilet I could have chosen to ignore God, shove it all down, ‘put my best foot forward’ attack my day and be panicking and spiralling down inside. Outwardly no one would know, things would get done….not with love really though and I would be snapping at those I care about the most as I struggled in my own strength.

Gods love breaks down our prisons. The ones that build up in our hearts and minds. There are lots of theories about the battles that go on in our minds. Whether it’s hormones, emotional, spiritual, circumstantial or some sort of combination, to be honest it doesn’t matter.

If it’s a lie…just don’t partner with it. 

Your thoughts are where it all begins. As we walk with God he promises us freedom, but we still have to choose it every single day. (Read Ephesians 6:10-20)

Sometimes we are walking on the cliff tops in the sunshine, sometimes we are cleaning the toilet. God speaks to us everywhere. We can always choose Him, we can always choose truth.

I just spent about half an hour listening to Jonathan Helser singing East from West, drowning my soul in truth. Sometimes we just need to seek out and marinate in His love for us.

I’m smiling and peaceful as I sit here because HE IS GOOD and  Monday morning I chose well. 

I love this journey with God I find myself on, I’m praying that someone out there will find freedom today from this.

His love breaks down my prison…..

Love Emma 

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries