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31.12.09

2009 Lessons and Loves


2009 has been a toughie that's for sure! I think whatever could have been thrown at us has been and it has been very challenging. I could write a book on the lessons I have learned and the person I have become through it. I can honestly say that I do wholeheartedly agree with James when he wrote in the Bible that we should count it all joy when falling into various trials. It has been a joy - truly, I am not just saying that. It's almost like saying that labour and child birth is a joy. It's the same sort of thing, you don't deny the pain but the fruit far outweighs the bit of pain that you have to endure. I thank God for working all things together for good in my life and for the lessons he has taught me in 2009.

I also want to thank my beautiful family for being on this journey with me. Together we have faced giants, conquered battles and celebrated the victories. Together we have also cried, argued and driven each other quite crazy on some days. Never-the-less we did it together!  I am so grateful to God for my family - I know what we have is quite rare, in fact we are very special. Thank you my darling husband, Eric, for still loving me even though you have seen my at my worst - you are an incredible man and I respect you with every fiber of my being! Thank you Lorah-Kelly for being the reliable one in the family, when we are all losing it and acting like children you speak wisdom, sense and show us the mature way of doing things - you are an amazing young woman Lorah, if you keep walking on the path you are on you are going to do awesome things in this world. Thank you Jordan for your unconditional love and for being the fun one in the family. I often don't think I deserve the love you give me and I want you to know that I am very proud of you and love the young woman you are growing into. Don't EVER try to be like anyone else Jordan, you have such treasure inside of you and I look forward to watching you discover it over the next few years. Daniel and Amy can't read this yet but they are so very cute and make every single day of my life special just by being as cute as they are.

2010 is just around the corner, I can't guarantee that it is going to be easy but I am convinced it is going to be AWESOME. I am looking forward to all the adventures that God has planned for us and I look forward to being transformed from glory to glory! What did you learn in 2009 and what are you looking forward to in 2010?

Happy New Year

Love
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25.12.09

Looking for the Messiah

SUPPOSE JESUS CAME to your church. I don’t mean symbolically. I mean visibly. Physically. Actually. Suppose he came to your church. Would you recognize him? It might be difficult. Jesus didn’t wear religious clothes in his day. Doubtful that he would wear them in ours. If he came today to your church, he’d wear regular clothes. Nothing fancy, just a jacket and shoes and a tie. Maybe a tie … maybe not. He would have a common name. “Jesus” was common. I suppose he might go by Joe or Bob or Terry or Elliot. Elliot … I like that. Suppose Elliot, the Son of God, came to your church.

Of course, he wouldn’t be from Nazareth or Israel. He’d hail from some small spot down the road like Hollow Point or Chester City or Mt. Pleasant.And he’d be a laborer. He was a carpenter in his day. No reason to think he’d change, but let’s say he did. Let’s say that this time around he was a plumber. Elliot, the plumber from Mt. Pleasant. Rumor has it that he fed a football field full of people near the lake. Others say he healed a senator’s son from Biloxi. Some say he’s the Son of God. Others say he’s the joke of the year. You don’t know what to think. And then, one Sunday, he shows up. About midway through the service he appears in the back of the auditorium and takes a seat. After a few songs he moves closer to the front. After yet another song he steps up on the platform and announces, “You are singing about me. I am the Son of God.” He holds a Communion tray. “This bread is my body. This wine is my blood. When you celebrate this, you celebrate me!” What would you think? Would you be offended? The audacity of it all. How irreverent, a guy named Elliot as the Son of God! Would you be interested? Wait a minute, how could he be the Son of God? He never went to seminary, never studied at a college. But there is something about him … Would you believe? I can’t deny it’s crazy. But I can’t deny what he has done.

It’s easy to criticize contemporaries of Jesus for not believing in him. But when you realize how he came, you can understand their skepticism.

Jesus didn’t fit their concept of a Messiah. Wrong background. Wrong pedigree. Wrong hometown. No Messiah would come from Nazareth. Small, hick, one-stoplight town. He didn’t fit the Jews’ notion of a Messiah, and so, rather than change their notion, they dismissed him.

He came as one of them. He was Jesus from Nazareth. Elliot from Mt. Pleasant. He fed the masses with calloused hands. He raised the dead wearing bib overalls and a John Deere Tractor cap.

They expected lights and kings and chariots from heaven. What they got was sandals and sermons and a Galilean accent.

And so, some missed him. And so, some miss him still.

From A Gentle Thunder by Max Lucado
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24.12.09

Sleep for Christmas

Eric & I had a lovely 2 weeks in the USA to visit my mom & dad! It was a fantastic time of rest & catching up with family. We arrived home last Wednesday morning after 3 aeroplanes & a bus trip from London. It is great to be home but it seems that all that rest has already been used up. Eric & I can't sleep!!! Since we have been home last Wednesday we have been averaging 3 hours sleep a night. All I want for Christmas this year is some sleep ha ha. It's been a week now & we are getting desperate for sleep - any suggestions?
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23.12.09

Free Book - Nevertheless

Nevertheless is John Kirkby’s story of the adventure of starting Christians Against Poverty.

In 1996 John and Lizzie Kirkby set out on a faith adventure. John felt God call him to give up his successful career in the finance industry to do what he could to help the poor and needy in his home town of Bradford. John did what he was best at and devised simple budgeting systems that allowed people to reduce their debt whilst living a decent life. In doing this John found that he could share the life transforming faith he himself had experienced some four years earlier, and people’s lives were changed before his very eyes.

I have read this book & couldn't put it down, it has really changed our life & given us strength to get through many difficult times. Eric at times said he had to put the book down as he couldn't continue reading - he was wondering how anyone can get through what John managed to get through. Eric & I have also had to privilege of meeting John Kirby & seeing the CAP head office. John & Lizzie have done an amazing thing & many lives are being changed all over the world because of the very high price they paid for something that they believed in. Thank you so much for all you have done John & Lizzie.

I highly recommend that you read this book. Get a free copy here
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18.12.09

Christmas Fun



It's that time of year again - what fun! I love all the gift wrapping, baking, parties and all the fun around Christmas time. One of the things I like to do is sort out the children's toys to see if they need anything new. Well needless to say this year they don't need anything new, what they did need was a ton of batteries for all the old toys! Look at the photo above, these are all the toys that they never played with because their batteries had run down. Well, thanks to my wonderful mom and dad who bought us a giant pack of batteries, they are now all working! I do however realise why I let the batteries run down though - all these toys are noisy!!! Oh well, all good fun. So what are you doing to prepare for Christmas?

Love
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9.12.09

Marriage Tip #3 - Leave the Past Behind

One of the nicest things Eric ever said to me is; "I don't care about your past, I care about your future". The best part is that he totally meant it, he has never brought up my "colourful" past or used the mistakes of my past against me. Sometimes I even feel like he doesn't believe the stories I have told him about all the bad things I have done in the past. It is so amazing to be loved for who I am not not based on what I did (good or bad) in the past.

In the photo above are two of our most wonderful friends, it's so important to have great friends who will also leave the past in the past. One of my best friends ever, Michelle (above), has seen me at my best & at my worst, she has seen me single & married - and still she is my friend (whew!). I can't tell you how amazing it is to have a husband & great friends who all believe in my future & don't judge me on my past!
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8.12.09

Hello From...


Hey there King's Daughters! Eric & I are having the most amazing time on holiday but thinking of you all every day. God has been so amazing by providing us with this unexpected gift of a good, restful holiday. There is lots of news but before I get into the news... who can guess where we are? Check out the clues in the photo above & tell me where exactly in the world you think we are!
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30.11.09

Marriage Tip #2 - Respect

Men need respect & women need love. If we simply learn to meet the one main need that our spouse has then we may eliminate many other battles or problem areas.

Ephesians 5:33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

This is all that Eric needs to either make him or break him as a man. When I show him that I respect him he is stronger but when I disrespect him, especially in front of people, he is a broken man with no power at all. As women we don't realise the importance of our respect, it either releases our husband into his full potential as a man or without it we cripple our man & make him unable to be what God has called him to be.
Here are some tips for wives:

1) Go to God - he already has all the answers & will very happily help you


2) Watch Your Words - communicate only words of life that will build him up, if you have any complaints just shut up & chat to God about it. If you are creative you can use positive words to have what you need in your marriage, this will build him up & at the same time you will be able to have what you need too. For example rather than nagging & complaining that he never washes the dishes rather say something like, "Darling I really love it when you help me around the house, it makes me feel so important to you, I especially would like it if sometimes you helped with the dishes". I am not talking about manipulation or control here, don't misunderstand the heart you need to have behind your words. You are simply communicating your needs in a positive way rather than in a nagging, controlling way. There is not a man alive on this planet who likes nagging. This way you can still show him respect but also tell him what you need.

3) Support Him - be passionate about what he is passionate about. Eric is passionate about his guitar so I have taken the time over the years to learn about the guitar & other music stuff. He is a brilliant guitarist, the best in the world in my eyes & although I have been careful not to let this define him I have done my best to make music a big part of our life. If Eric was into racing motor cars then I would be out in the garage right now passing him tools to help him get ready for a race. If Eric was into golf I would be on the green right now passing him a wedge. I am sure you get the picture... don't take what he is passionate about and hold it against him rather be a part of it if he wants you to & if he doesn't want you to be a part of it give him space & time to get on with it.

Do you have any tips for either husbands or wives? I would love to hear your thoughts but most of all these are just some tips to help us, I get it wrong more often than I get it right so don't feel bad if you still have some work to do, I do too so let's work on our marriages together :) If you are reading this and are not married you can still practice, the way you treat men in general in your every day life is probably how you will treat your own husband one day. Start showing respect to the men in your world & see how you will release their potential.
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26.11.09

Christmas Cake

It's that time of year again! I love all the festivities, food & fun of Christmas & I am just starting to get into it by baking our Christmas cake so I thought I would share the recipe with you. The photo above is of last years half eaten cake ha ha.

800g mixed dried fruit
75g glace cherries cut in half
200ml brandy
300g plain flour
I t ground cinnamon
A little freshly grated nutmeg
125g ground almonds
150g softened unsalted butter
150g dark muscovado sugar
4 large eggs
I t cocoa powder
Pinch of bicarbonate of soda
6t apricot jam
450g marzipan
900g ready-to-roll fondant icing

· Soak the glace cherries in the brandy for 24-48 hours.
· Lightly grease the cake tin & line with greaseproof paper.
· Sift the flour with the cinnamon, a pinch of salt & a little nutmeg.
· Whisk the butter until creamy & add sugar gradually until light and fluffy.
· Beat in the eggs & add the flour mixture & almonds, then the fruit and its liquid.
· Add the cocoa and bicarbonate of soda.
· Bake at 150°C for 1hr.
· Wrap in greaseproof paper and foil, and store in a cool, dry place. Every week for the first four weeks, prick the base of the cake and spoon 1t brandy over the top. For the last two weeks, leave to dry.
· 5 To decorate the cake, warm half the apricot jam and spread thin layer over the top and sides.
· Position marzipan over the top of the cake, press down lightly, and trim any excess. Cover with greaseproof paper and leave in a cool, dry place for two days.
· Warm the remaining jam and spread over the marzipan. Cover the cake with white icing as with the marzipan.
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24.11.09

Marriage Tip #1 - Go to God First

I can't tell you how many arguments Eric & I didn't have because I went to God first. Also I can assure you that the ones we did have was when I didn't go to God. It's quite simple really, God is so much smarter that we are & has a much better perspective on things so why not get his advice first. I have gone to God when I am angry, when I am sad, when I am hurt & even when I need some inspiration or creativity to make Eric feel more loved. For me God is definitely the source of our marriage & my love for Eric. I would have completely wrecked things by now if I didn't go to God - and I go often. Some women seem to be such perfect wives & I am happy for them, but as for me... well I just keep going to God ha ha. For me it's as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”

Don't you love Eric's big smile in our wedding photo above? Even Gary Clark (in the background) had a nice cheesy grin... do you want to know why?

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22.11.09

Seasons

This Sunday I had the privilege of preaching at our church. Preaching is a love hate thing for me but whether I am loving or hating it I do find it a real privilege an honour to be communication the heart of God to our Church.

This message is all about the seasons of life based on Ecclesiastes 3. One thing is totally 100% guaranteed in life, and that is that things will change. God has appointed the times and seasons, the events of our lives, the happy and the sad, the easy and the difficult. God exalts and humbles the same person. He raises nations up and brings them down. The great thing is that God is in control, he has a plan & he works everything together for good so we can have a great life.

The painting above is one that Lorah painted after one of our lovely summer holidays. I thought it would be nice to include it for you to see. So who wants to count how many times I said 'um'? Listen to the full message here.

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20.11.09

Choices

It was really lovely to hear all your comments on the God Said post. As promised here is how it impacted me.

I was having a rough few weeks, one thing after another has been piling on top of me & life was looking a bit stormy. You see, I asked God to make me a bigger person & remove the constraints that are holding me back in life. At the Hillsong Conference, Flip Flippen addressed this area & it totally challenged me. God has so faithfully answered my prayer by allowing me the opportunity to be a bigger person. God isn't going to "zap" me with the gift of being a bigger person, He isn't going to come down from heaven & remove my constraints. Of course not, He is going to allow a little bit of hell to break loose in my life so that I have the opportunity to respond as a bigger person. Even as I type this, I know that I really don't want to do what I know I have to do to be this bigger person. At the same time I really do want to be a bigger & better person. I guess that's exactly what Paul meant when he said in Romans 7:19 "For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice." Thankfully he gives us the solution in Romans 7:25 "...So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin." What Paul is saying is that we need to CHOOSE to do what is right despite the wrong that our flesh wants to do. It is a fascinating piece of the Bible, read all of Romans 7 when you get a chance, it's extremely interesting.

That email really highlighted to me that God has already given us everything we need to lead a great life, but we have to choose it. Read God Said again if you like and see how God says no to most things because He wants us to choose a new mindset in each circumstance. Perhaps you too are facing difficult circumstances at the moment? Perhaps you would like to join me in choosing to change the way I see these circumstances? Rather than keep asking God to change the circumstances let's ask Him to change us & to help us see how we can choose to see things differently & respond accordingly.

The power is in your CHOICE not in the change of circumstances.
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19.11.09

Dumb Things He Does - Dumb Things She Does


To kick off our series on marriage I thought it would be fun to start with one of my favourite books on the subject. Holly has a fantastic way of saying it as it is & hitting the nail on the head. This little book is packed with enough to keep you going for your entire marriage. Eric & I read it before we got married & highlighted the bits that were important to us. It has been fun going back & rereading it over the years & seeing how some things have changed for us & how most things are still spot on.

When we were planning our life together we were excited about having a great marriage & read books like this one with great enthusiasm for how we were going to get it all right. Now several years later we run to this book & others for answers to the challenges we face. It's quite hysterical really as we both still want the same things, we still both believe the same things about marriage but somewhere along the line we realised that we are only human & make mistakes more often than not. Perhaps our ideals are shattered but our passion to get it right & have a great marriage is stronger than ever.

So now we rejoice in the good days when we get it right & we get out the books & the Bible & keep trying on the days we get it wrong. Holly's book has been fantastic in helping us keep our marriage on the right path.
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18.11.09

God Said...

Today I received a really interesting email. Well at first glance you would think not, in fact I usually delete all chain emails or long emails right away, I don't have the time to trawl through things like that. But today was different, I had been asking God to show me the way forward through something I am struggling with. I really didn't hear His voice at all this morning when I was praying. Do you ever get those moments or even seasons? The season when it feels like all hell has broken loose in your life. Last week life was perfect & this week it has all fallen apart... do you ever get that? Well I have been having a few weeks like that & each week seems to get worse.

Here is the email that I received, before I tell you how it spoke to me I want to hear what it says to you. So have a read & I will do another post about how this cute little email hugely impacted me.

God Said...
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I asked God to take away my habit.
God said, NO...
It is not for me to take away,
but for you to give it up.
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I asked God to make my
handicapped child whole.
God said, NO...
His spirit is whole, his
body is only temporary.
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I asked God to grant me patience.
God said, No.
Patience is a byproduct of tribulations;
it isn't granted, it is learned.
cid:image007.gif@01CA643B.DB814290
I asked God to give me happiness.
God said, NO...
I give you blessings;
Happiness is up to you.
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I asked God to spare me pain.
God said, NO...
Suffering draws you apart from
worldly cares
and brings you closer to me.
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I asked God to make my spirit grow.
God said, NO...
You must grow on your own,
but I will prune you to make you fruitful.
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I asked God for all things.
that I might enjoy life.
God said, NO...
I will give you life,
so that you may enjoy all things.
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I asked God to help me LOVE others,
as much as He loves me.
God said... Ahhhh,
finally you have the idea.
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10.11.09

Priorities & Seasons

Lately I have been looking at my priorities & have noticed that it is essential to understand the season that you are in in order to set reasonable priorities. For me it has been a bit of a struggle because I have done the whole stay at home mummy thing for years & have moved on to a career & then even moved onto starting my own company. My eldest daughters are 14 & 18 but I also have two new gorgeous additions to the family who are 10 months & 3. Lately I have been feeling the tension between the busy me that has been allowed to grow as my teenagers have gotten older & the mommy with 2 babies. It's kinda like I have to go back & do it all over again. I love my babies & my teenagers & I love my life! The thing that I have been working on though is defining & understanding this season in my life. I have to reset my priorities to God, husband & children ONLY. That is how it was when Lorah & Jordan were little & that was right for me for that season. Life got busier & more interesting as they got older but now with little ones & leading a church I have had to take a very careful look at what is realistic for me in this season of my life.

As women we may have many roles that we have to play in life, but we do need to clearly define our priorities. It will help us have harmony in our life. Here is a practical example of how priorities can help us. The other day I was working on a sermon & Amy was playing on the floor near to me. She got a bit tearful after a while & crawled up to me. If I hadn't clearly defined my priories I may have been annoyed at being interrupted while working. But since I have clearly defined my priorities it was easy for me to respond to Amy with lots of love because she is the priority not the interruption. The sermon was the interruption to my priority. Does that make sense? So I can still attempt to do other things with my life, but I have to keep my priorities in place. God, my husband & my children are the priorities, I can do other things but they can't interfere with my priorities. As a church leader that is often very tricky as people tend to think that all the needs within the church are the leaders responsibility. I love our church very much, but never-the-less, if someone in church needs me & my husband or one of my children needs me at the same time it is clear that one is my priority & the other is the interruption to my priority. For example there is no point in me being out in the community all day feeding all the hungry people & then coming home too tired to cook dinner for my own family.

I really hope this makes sense & is useful to you. I have found it very freeing knowing my priorities & my season. What season are you in & have you managed to set your priorities? I would love to hear your story.
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5.11.09

You Are... special


One of my favourite writers is Max Lucado. His children's books have changed my life as I have read them to my children at bedtime. My absolute favourite is You Are Special - this has helped me so much with understanding how little it matters what people think about me and how much
what God says about me really matters. This book has helped me so much with my identity & I know it will help my children with theirs as they grow up. Sometimes it's the simplest things that are most powerful, I imagine this is partly what Jesus meant when he said in Luke 18:17; "whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it"

Have you ever been impacted by a children's book?
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30.10.09

Being Free - The Story of the Infirmed Woman

I have decided to start a section for my sermons so that they are available to you should you be interested in something a bit more than my posts. I don't preach often so there won't be much to listen to from me & I am not very good at preaching so it won't be as awesome as Eric's messages, never-the-less I will keep an archive of them under the category called "my sermons" should you ever want to have a listen :) To start us off I thought I would add a sermon I did a few weeks ago in our Strength & Beauty Series called Being Free.

My heart's desire is that women (and men) realise who they are and are no longer robbed from their identity because they made a small mistake somewhere in their life or were victim of something horrible at some point. Even though the things that happened were horrible, they do not dictate who you ARE. No matter what has happened or no matter what you have done, here are some truths about who you ARE:

You are forgiven
You are clean
You are loved
You are God's favourite
You are holy
You are free
You are accepted
You are worth dying for

Hold on to what is true, say the above phrases out loud every day until you believe them more than you believe the lies that the enemy tries to tell you. Is the life you are living worth the death Jesus died? Come on girls, fight with me to be free women! I am on a journey too, so together let's be all we can be, a beautiful army of princesses shining for Jesus and showing our world how to live this precious life that Jesus gave to us. Listen to the full message here.
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26.10.09

Autumn Leaves

It's definitely autumn, isn't it! Today I raked up all the leaves in our garden & then simply had to play in the big pile of leaves - I just couldn't resist. It wasn't that long ago that I was panicking about not being ready to say good bye to summer but now I am enjoying autumn & more determined than ever to enjoy each season in my life :) Life is too short no to. Have a great week & if you are doing anything fun to enjoy autumn let us know about it in the comment box below. x
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23.10.09

Love Happens


Eric & I went to watch this movie on Wednesday & we both absolutely loved it! I wasn't expecting much when we went, I thought it would just be your usual romantic drama & was happy with going to see something light. However, it turned out to be a lot better than I anticipated. In a nutshell it's a romantic drama about a widower whose book about coping with loss turns him into a best-selling self-help guru. On a business trip to Seattle, he falls for a woman who attends one of his seminars, only to learn that he hasn't yet truly confronted his wife's passing. Watch the trailer here & if you decide to go see it take some tissues!
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19.10.09

My Bedside Table


A bit random I know, but I thought it would be fun to Blog my bedside table! You can tell a lot about a person from their bedside table :) On my bedside table is my Bible, journals, notebooks (because I often can't sleep as I think too much so have to write things down during the night) & the books I am reading (Battlefields of the Mind - Joyce Meyer, Stop Acting Like a Christian & Just Be One - Christine Caine & I'll Have what She is Having - Bobby Houston). One of the journals is a journal of the journey of our church, I love our church and what God is doing & when I feel discouraged I read through that journal & look at all the photos & see all the beautiful people that God loves & my courage to 'press on' returns. I have a little teddy on my bedside table, Sam (Lorah's exceptionally amazing boyfriend) gave that to me one Christmas - his mom probably chose the gifts but never-the-less I like it (and I like Sam - he is so kind to Lorah & is doing amazing things for God in our church). I also have my three favourite perfumes on my bedside table, all gifts from amazing people in my life! I have a candle, actually we have lots of candles in our room, Eric & I enjoy candle light. Lastly I have a little butterfly bag that I keep bits & bobs in, you know like nail file, pens, nail polish, etc.

So what can you tell about me from my bedside table? Send your photo of your bedside table to me with some info & I will Blog it or leave a comment in the box about your bedside table. What a fun way to start the week, have a great week & remember '
Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.' Psalm 37:4

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16.10.09

Blogs

Great news, Eric has started a Blog . He is writing his thoughts about church planting, leadership, creativity & innovation. If you want to know more about the heart of our church or just general thoughts on leading & impacting your world then subscribe to Eric's Blog. I am really enjoying what he has already written & am looking forward to all that is to come. Check it out here. Also for more about the daily life of our church check out our church Blog here
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11.10.09

Hillsong Conference 09

I have just returned from the most incredible week in London. The Hillsong Conference was so amazing, I don't think I will be able to put it into words for you. I have not laughed & cried so much in a long time, my heart was yanked in all different directions. God is clearly wanting unity amongst us churches so that he can come back & fetch His beautiful bride. I was challenged to the core this week & I know that a huge process of change has already begun in me. Here are some thoughts that stood out for me, each one completely life changing:

Craig Groeschel: God needs to do something in me before He can do something through me.
Joseph Prince: John 6:11 ...as much as they wanted
Donna Crouch: Are you building "us" or "them & us"
Flip Flippen: Your success is my mission
Craig Groeschel: Make them one as we are one
John 17:20
Phil Dooley: What you & I judge, Jesus might find beautiful
Donna Crouch: What is the need in your city, not what program do you feel like doing to feel good about yourself?
Brian Houston: IT is finished but I am not - "When Something Is Over Don’t Stop. There’s a huge difference between the end of an era and the completion of a destiny. Rev. 22:13 says, He is the beginning AND the end. Out of every end there is a beginning. Trust Him and never underestimate what can come out of an end. When you come to the end don’t stop. The best is yet to come!"

I can't resist including this photo too, look at Christine Caine - preaching with a Vespa on stage. I just love her passion & clear message on how as a church many of us have forgotten the mission! We have moved from missional to so many other things & it's time to get back to the mission of reaching the lost for Jesus. Matthew 28:19

It's not easy to put such an amazing experience into words, have a look at the highlights
here.


My most amazing friend, Michelle, totally blew me away this week by taking care of Amy for the entire conference! I cannot describe my gratitude to her for this HUGE gift to me & to the entire King's Church team for making it possible for Eric & I to have this life changing week.

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4.10.09

WOW

You gotta check this out, what an awesome, amazing, blessed, special day I had today! At Church we dedicated Amy & another little boy called Aston. His dad, Tom, shared his testimony briefy, it is amazing.

Oh my goodness, just 11 weeks ago this man, Tom, was on the street, no home & no hope. He came to church through a sandwich, gave his life to Jesus and today he was on stage with his family & friend dedicating his son to God.

These are his own words; "About 10 or 11 weeks ago I was sat on a street corner somewhere around the city and a guy or a woman, I can't remember who it was, said, hey if you're hungry, go to the Guildhall about 1 o' clock and they will give you a sandwich and a cuppa tea. So that's what I did. I would come each week and each week I started to feel like a hypocrite. But you guys started speaking to me. I started to listen and to do something about my own problems. And it's through that, that we are all stood together on this stage now. And my son will be blessed by God."

Wow, isn't that so precious. Don't underestimate what God can do through the seemingly small and insignificant things that you do. You may not be the one who preaches or sings on the stage, you may just be the person who prepared a few sandwiches for church or who pours the coffee on Sunday. But it was through the sandwich that you made or the coffee that you poured or the little conversation that you had with Tom that made him feel welcome, loved and accepted. All the little tiny things that we do together add up to one more life won for Jesus. One more family reconciled. One more little boy with a future and a hope. One more neighbour hood impacted. One more.... who knows. We simply don't know where this will lead, we don't know who Tom's testimony will reach, we just don't know what is going to happen as a result of this one sandwich!

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30.9.09

My Favourite Things


Raindrops on roses & whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles & warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things...
are you singing along yet?

Here are a few of my favourite things:

Smell of fresh laundry dried in the sunlight
Giggling babies & toddlers with delight
Playing piano & loudly I sing
These are a few of my favourite things

Warm roaring fires on cold winter nights
Beech sand, umbrellas, buckets & kites
Autumns bright colours & flowers in spring
These are a few of my favourite things


Your turn, you write a verse or two for the song :)
It's a great way to feel happy,
just ponder on the simple things in life that bring you joy.


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25.9.09

Prayer

"If we see prayer as a means to getting what we want, we have misunderstood it's purpose. It is all about aligning our wills with God's will & has more to discovering what He wants than getting what we want."

A quote by Ian Coffey from his book What you always wanted to know about prayer.

This sentence has changed my prayer life, my views on faith & a quite a few other things. I am committed to using my prayers to find out what He wants & then to use my faith to make it happen.

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23.9.09

Prepared for Greatness

This is one of my absolute favourite books! It lives on my bedside table & has taken me a year to read through it just once. I am not a slow reader at all, it's just that this book is so meaty that if you read it too quickly you will miss out on so much. So I take one bite every so often & allow it to sink in before I move on. Since I am so passionate about the subject of identity I thought I would share an extract of one of the final chapters with you. This chapter is entitled "The Importance of Confidence" & I really hope this bit helps you realise how important it is to be you. Feast on this then buy the book please, it will change your life.

"As we have studied the detailed & particular preparation that God moulded into David's life, we have seen how it enabled him to defeat Goliath... We see from 1 Sam 17:45-47 that he was obviously incredibly confident in his God, but just as importantly, he was confident in his own unique preparation. Look at what 1 Sam 17:40 tells us he did when he collected his stones: he 'put them in a shepherd's bag, in a pouch which he had, and his sling was in his hand.' The shepherd's bag represented and symbolises his own preparation.

Every one of us has our own 'shepherd's bag', our own unique journey preparing us for our particular race. We have all come different ways, from different backgrounds, with different experiences and training to equip us for our own special destiny. As I renew my own journey, on many occasions I have been tempted to put on anothers armour because I felt my 'shepherd's bag' wasn't sufficient. What I have come to realise is that if I am to function the way God designed me to, I have to have confidence in my 'shepherd's bag'.

As for my own unique preparation, when I first started my schools ministry I would preach the gospel to young people in such a way as not to offend my Christian friends and peers. I would be very religious and speak to these searching young people in the way I would to Christian youth, using phrases that were easily understood by believers but totally alien to my young unsaved audience. Then, with much misunderstanding and criticism from the Christian world, I started to fight from my 'shepherd's bag'. The years spent entertaining in the rock group, my particular sense of humour and my natural ability to communicate were employed to their fullest and the results were amazing. Unorthodox, yes; offensive to some religious people, yes. This was my shepherd's bag and it worked for me.

I discovered that I had to maximise the brief time I was given, usually only five to ten minutes, to communicate the gospel in a relevant, palatable way, allowing the power of the gospel to have its full effect. As I sat there, a being from another generation facing a thousand complete strangers, I began to realise the invisible wall of acceptance had to be broken down within the first minute if the hearts of these young people were to be reached. I fully understand that before people accept your message they have to accept you, so I had to find a way to stand before a group of prepared, receptive hearts.


The secret was discovered accidentally while I was being introduced by the headmaster as 'a Christian coming to address the assembly on a religious topic', which only built the invisible wall higher. I felt something inside my nose causing it to itch like crazy, and as I attempted to relieve the itch with a well-targeted scratch with my finger, I heard ripples of laughter peal across the assembly hall. I quickly realised that the audience of bored teenagers thought I was doing the unthinkable behind the headmaster's back - picking my nose. I had stumbled upon the divine key to demolish this wall of unacceptance even before I stood to my feet. Nose-picking! The headmaster, still in the middle of introducing his guest speaker, was totally oblivious of the reason for his pupil's inappropriate sniggering in assembly. I continued to be the morning's clown, exaggerating each scratch vigorously, and every time the headmaster turned round to try to discover the source of disturbance he found me looking back at him in total innocence and, like himself, totally bemused as to the reason for the pandemonium. When he returned his attention to the assembly, I proceeded with the new-found key God had given me to open up the hearts and minds of my hearers, taking my acceptance level well up on the 'I like this guy' acceptometer...
"

I had better stop there or I will end up re-writing the book! It's awesome isn't it, how God uses each of us just as we are. Now God may not have given me a nose picking ministry ha ha, I am just not that funny, but I know he has given me my own shepherd bag & I intend to use it. What is your shepherd's bag, are you using it?
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21.9.09

My Father's Love

More from Jordan...

After a few months I moved back with my mum, I saw my dad every weekend, then every second weekend...then one day he didn't show up, my mum sat me down and explained "Jordan, your daddy isn't going to pick you up for a while".

"Oh, is he coming next weekend instead?"

"He's not coming at all..."

I locked myself in the bathroom for a good while crying, I've always been SO attached to my father, and now suddenly he didn't want to see me, I was so confused. Right through all of this, my mother had to watch me hurt, she had to watch me beat myself up about it, thinking that I was the reason he didn't want to pick us up, nothing she could say would convince me otherwise.

Being left by your father is a hard thing to go through, even harder if you don't know why; I think my father couldn't pick us up because of money problems, but that's not good enough, a daddy just cant leave his girls! He has to stick by me, be a provider, most of all he has to LOVE me enough to make an EFFORT...

...Now, although my father says he loves me, I'm convinced he knows nothing about love, or at least about the love of a father; I believe this for the following reasons:
  • First, he does not believe in God: God IS love (1 John 4:16) He is the ULTIMATE source of what keeps us going, Love, If my father wants to give me the love I need, he must know the most AMAZING love anyone can experience, Gods love, my Daddy's love.
  • Second, He doesn't seem to be making an effort, he always told me: "If a man really loves you, he will be willing to chase after you" So why isn't he?
Now remember, I am on a path of healing, not a path of "lets bash dad to make me feel better"
If you are hurting, ask God to show you his love; ask God to be your Daddy, trust me, no one can be a daddy like God can, he knows all about us and he loves us unconditionally. God is the only one who can set me free from hurt, so, even though my father cant give me the love I need, I know that my Daddy in heaven has SO much love for me, and I don't have to be amazing to get it! its unconditional!!

More from me soon, mean while PLEASE listen to my mothers sermon: Being Free, which talks ALOT about father's and daddy's, it is AMAZING and many lives will be touched by this word

xxx lovee youu all :) Jordan
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19.9.09

Not Easily Broken

Not Easily Broken is a very moving film, I have watched it twice & have really enjoyed it. Based on the novel by TD Jakes you get a good balance of Hollywoodness (if you know what I mean) & Godly principles. I highly recommend this movie because it is a good story & very real. Some Christian based movies are so neatly packaged that most people in the world can't relate to them. Not Easily Broken covers some real difficulties that we can face in life & in marriage. It does not get the Dove Family Approved Seal but I still feel confident in recommending it to you as it is good clean entertainment compared to some of the movies that are out there. Have you watched any good movies lately?

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18.9.09

Play Dough



While Amy got stuck into one of our kitchen cupboards today, Daniel & I had great fun making play dough. He absolutely loves play dough & it keeps him busy for hours, so well worth the time it takes to make it. Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tsp cooking oil
liquid food coloring

Directions
1. In a heavy sauce pan, combine flour, salt, and cream of tartar. Pour the water and oil into the dry mixture and stir well.
2. Cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until dough forms (will pull away from the sides of the pot)
3. Let it cool in a bowl covered with a wet cloth for a minute. Add food coloring (or ready mixed paint) and knead until smooth and blended.
4. Store in an air tight container.
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17.9.09

5 Years Today


Today is our 5th wedding anniversary! I am so happy to have had these wonderful 5 years with Eric & even more happy that we still have so many more years ahead to enjoy our life together. I don't like assuming how long our life will be so I like to treasure each & every memory that we make together. Here are some of the highlights of the past 5 years:

2004
Eric proposed to me & the girls - how sweet is that! Went to USA to visit my mom. Got married in a beautiful park in London. We had a wonderful honeymoon in Sardinia, Italy. I bought Eric his first pair of roller blades for his birthday & he roller bladed for the first time. We made our first snowman together.

2005
Went on a paddle boat in Hyde Park together.
Moved from London to Cheltenham - that was an adventure. We climbed an indoor wall for the first time, I was a bit frightened but Eric went up & down in a matter of seconds. Bought our first car. We went camping in Oxwich, Eric's first time camping (also our last time we decided). We met my real granddad for the very first time - found out many interesting truths about my family's history. Started a youth group at our home with a crazy bunch of teenagers - they keep us young, we love them to bits.

2006
Had our baby boy, Daniel, such a peaceful little one with big chocolate coloured eyes. Went on a bumper car together for the first time at the fair. Had a few Sushi parties. Played croquet for the first time. Had a holiday in Oxwich, this time in a chalet not a tent.
Went on a river boat in Stratford-upon-Avon.

2007
Bought our first house which has three working wood fireplaces - something that we absolutely love. Many cold winters nights are spent around the fire place in the living room & sometimes we light the one in our bedroom. We also discovered that we both absolutely love gardening & have a beautiful garden that we spend many ours in. After a series of bad cars that kept on breaking down we bought a nearly new 7-seater car which we prayed for for two years. Still thanking God for this car today. Went for a long weekend in Snowdonia which was so lovely, it felt like a full holiday.

2008
Planted King's Church. Had our baby girl, Amy, who is the cutest baby I have ever seen & brings us hours of joy (all times of the day & night) . Eric preached for the first time & I preached for the first time - very scary - lots of running to the loo with nervous tummies before ha ha. We did our first baptisms & so many other cool first time church things.

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15.9.09

Tea Party


I have had so much fun planning our King's Daughters Tea Party! Check out the cute little bags I made for us yesterday :) If you haven't got a ticket but still want to come please let me know today so I can get one to you. See you on Thursday for a fun girlie time. xxx

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14.9.09

Strength & Beauty


I really enjoyed Eric's message yesterday, it is essential that we understand the basics of our identity isn't it. We were made male & female - this is as basic as it gets & if we remain confused about what that means then I don't see how we can get any other identity issues sorted out.

As a woman we not only need to support who God made men to be but we also need to know how to support them. It's easy to say yes I agree a man should be a warrior, but what are you doing to support him in being a warrior? How easy do we find it to criticise men for all their failings? Think about it. As women we are very guilty of taming our men, undermining our men & domesticating our men. This is not just wives I am talking about, all women come into contact with men every day, how we treat them, speak to them & feel about them has a huge impact on them. I have learned over the past few years how important it is to be try be a Godly woman by respecting the men in my life. I have dedicated time to understand the role of a man & a woman so that in my home, in my church team, my work place, etc I can bring out the best in the men God has put me in contact with. Here are just two practical tips that may help:

1.
How do you dress? 1 Peter 3:3-6 Men are visual & you are a tease if you display your body parts - plain & simply. Are you helping the men in your world stay pure or are you testing their lust boundaries? Are you ready to marry the man that you are teasing, the Bible does say that if you feel you can't control yourself you should rather get married than to burn with passion... so are you ready to marry the man that you are causing to burn with passion or would you rather dress carefully so you don't stir up his passion? 1 Corinthians 7:9

2.
How do you speak? Proverbs 18:21 Do you speak down to men like they are idiots or do you find the good in them & draw it out with your kind & encouraging words? Bottom line, men need respect, they need to feel like the hero! If we want to be treated like a princess then let's start acting like one & let's start treating them as the hero. No matter how we feel we need to show respect. If you want to feel the strength, safety & security of having warrior men surrounding you then use your kind words to show them the respect they need to give them the courage to be all they can be. As women we have a huge influence over men, sadly most women use it to control & get what they want.

What do you think girls, am I being too harsh? Use the comments box below, tell me truthfully your views. That's enough from me, have a listen to what Eric said about the role of a man
here. This Sunday I will be focusing on the beauty side of things in the Strength & Beauty series, so bring your girlfriends for a spiritual pamper party or if you don't live nearby listen to the podcast. Don't let the men in your world stay away though, it's equally important that they know the role of a woman so they can see how God made us both & put us both on this planet for a specific purpose.
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11.9.09

You are invited...

... to join me for a tea party. We will be meeting at The Place in the Gloucester Guildhall at 11am on Thursday 17th September. Tickets are £5 & there are only 10 places available so please book yours soon. Also if you are able to sponsor or part sponsor one of our homeless ladies so they can join us too that would be great! It promises to be a lovely morning with tea, cake, connecting & a little surprise from me. Love Angela xxx
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10.9.09

Less is More V - Lunch Breaks





'Less is More' is going extremely well. I am finding the balance in my life & really enjoying life a lot more now. I have successfully decluttered many areas of my life including my schedule, my home & my soul! I have also put some good habits into place (like exercising) & got rid of some bad habits (like too much computer).

My latest challenge is organising the hours in my day. For many people days run 9-5 for work then home for weekends. Leading a church is a totally different ball game. There are no working hours or weekends! It's full on & all the time - day, nights & weekends. We have decided that this is not good & can't possibly please God so we have added some structure to our daily life to allow for all sorts of things other than work. One lovely key that we have come up with is a lunch break. We have committed to stop for a proper lunch break during the day & have lunch together with Daniel & Amy. It's been such a fun week with this new addition to our schedule. The fact that it has been sunny has also helped, we have been having lovely lunches together in the garden. The photos above are from one of our lunch breaks - now imagine if we just ate on the run like we usually do, we would have missed this precious moment when our little ones.

Another great key we have had in place for quite some time now is a date night - the highlight of my week! I love that Eric & I still date. I love that we still take time to dress nicely for each other & do little special things to take care of our marriage. I would love to hear some of your ideas, what do you do to invest in your loved ones?
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7.9.09

Last Week

Last week was an intense one, whew! I loved it but am glad it's over & I can be writing all about it now. My baby turned 18!!! That was a biggie. I had no idea how much this would affect me, it's quite a huge step with all sorts of emotional stuff attached to it. Have any of you experienced a huge reaction to your child growing up? I don't know how Lorah has put up with me lately, I have not been myself around her & have not been the most stable mommy. Anyway, it's a done deal now, I think I have navigated my way through the 5 stages of grieving ha ha & have come to accept that she is grown up now & there is nothing I can do about it. Saying all that, I am a very proud mother, I have never met such an amazing teenager & can't find any fault with the way she has done her teenage years. Well done Lorah you are truly an amazing women & an inspiration to more people than you realise. Here is a photo of her cutting her cake at her birthday party.
As if that wasn't enough for one week, our church had it's first anniversary this Sunday too. It was a very lovely Sunday & many people commented on how special it felt. There was a real sense of family & it was so amazing to hear peoples stories about how there life is changing & growing. It is such a privilege to be a part of what God is doing here in Gloucester & I am very excited about going into our second year as a church. I will tell you all about what is going on at church in another post as there is so much happening. Here is a photo we took yesterday. Well that's my report for last week, do you have anything exciting going on in your life?

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2.9.09

My Father's Love


As promised we will be hearing from Jordan from time to time! Jordan is not only my lovely 14 year old daughter but is also is a very talented writer. I am Jordan's biggest fan, hopefully she will pen some poems for us too! Sadly Jordan has gone through some tough times in her life and I have asked her to write about her journey. I hope it inspires you & helps anyone out there who has experienced pain in the area of their father's love. So without further ado her is Jordan's first post.

Hi :)
My name is Jordan, as you might have guessed by the title of this post I'm going to be writing about dads and fathers. Not only will I be talking about my biological father, but I'll be talking about my spiritual Father : Daddy in heaven, my step father and other father figures who I look up to.

I'm going to spread this journey out over a few weeks to give you time to take it all in (it's a long but AMAZING journey of healing and forgiveness). So, lets get started!

I never knew there was anything wrong with my parents marriage, well, not until my mum moved out. I don't remember having the situation explained to me, but that could just be because I was so young. My parents thought I was old enough to handle it, but really I didn't even know what was going on. I don't think it's their fault though, going through a divorce must be one of the hardest things on this planet, and when you're going through it, it must be hard to focus on a lot besides paperwork and the pain it causes to leave what you promised to be a life long commitment.

Me and my sister lived with my dad for a while, but I've only realised now, it was my mom that looked after us. She would write us a letter every week on fun paper and she phoned us almost every night to make sure we knew she loved us and to make sure we had everything we needed. Don't get me wrong, my dad cooked for us, took us to work with him and made sure we got to bed on time, he was a good father to us, but we were all he had, he didn't have much choice but to be a good father, he loved us and he says he still does...

More to come, I just wanted you to get a taste of my story.

Love Jords :) x
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30.8.09

A Life Worth Living


I am so excited I could pop! Next Sunday is our first anniversary as a Church. On 7th September last year Eric & I along with our amazing team planted King's Church. The photo above was of our very first church service & this photo is one of my treasures. I love this photo & everyone in it! Anniversaries always make me reflect. This past year has definitely without a doubt been the best year of my life.

Busy, yes... hard work, yes... tiring, yes... difficult, yes... but absolutely totally amazing too! I have seen lives changed, I have met amazing people, I have seen God do awesome things, I have seen people who are far away from God get closer to Him. I feel so privileged & humbled to be a part of what God has planned for His Church here in Gloucestershire. I can unashamedly say that I have a life worth living, thank you Jesus for giving me this incredible life! Come & celebrate with me on Sunday & hear all about this past year. For more details & to RSVP see our FaceBook invitation or check out our email invitation.
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