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30.6.09

Marriage Counseling


My wonderful husband sent me this quote by Rick Warren that will help all of us in our marriages:

"Marriage counseling can be summed up in two words – GROW UP!"

I had a good chuckle at this, but how true! If I look back at any of our arguments I have to laugh at how stupid and childish they really were. Do we ever really argue over anything significant or is it just silly things that we get sensitive about. Lately I am aware of my childishness in an argument and make sure that I "GROW UP" quickly to end the argument so we can get on with more important things. Life is too short for silly things like arguments and love is too precious to be trampled with unnecessary hurt don't you think?

Enjoy your marriage!

Love

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27.6.09

Less is More... A Little Goes a Long Way


A little more on "Less is More" because I have found another simple key on my journey of decluttering... a little goes a long way!!! It's quite simple really, I am replacing some bad habits with some good ones by using the 10 minutes a day principle (I just made that principle up ha ha). I have been complaining (bad habit) about being out of shape for ages now so have decided just to do something about it. I have started exercising just 10 minutes a day and I can't believe how much difference it is making. My tummy is flatter already and my energy levels are on the rise. I feel so much better for taking this very small step and am inspired to find other good habits I want to develop by just taking 10 minutes a day to implement them :)

Other areas I thought this could be applied to could perhaps be taking time to develop stronger friendships, marriages or for special time with children - starting with investing just 10 minutes a day to build that relationship. Some people struggle with tithing, why not use the same principle in a different way? Take that first small step towards giving, even if it is not your full 10% yet, and build up towards a full tithe. Not everyone has the faith to start with 10% so start with 1% or 5%. Another area could be perhaps reading your Bible or just reading in general - start by taking 5 or 10 minutes a day to sit down to read. Soon you will be finding you can't get through the day without having your 10 minutes of reading. These are just some random examples I am sure there are loads more things you can apply this to.

You could also use "a little goes a long way" to break a bad habit. Take it one little day at a time and if you blow it one day don't beat yourself up over it just try again the next day! Thankfully with God's help we can do anything! His mercy is new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). The main thing is not to give up, keep trying every single day until every day is victorious.

So let's grow more beautiful as King's Daughters every day, one small step at a time because A LITTLE GOES A LONG WAY! As always, share your experiences in the comments box below, it would be great to hear your thoughts and ideas in this area. The photo above is when Eric used to read Jordan bedtime stories - how sweet (I am sure they are both going to love me for sharing this photo ha ha) xxx

Love
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25.6.09

Cupcake Success



Thanks to Helen for her Romatic Rose Cupcake comment, I tried them and they worked :) One thing I found was to use a muffin tray and cases instead of the tiny cupcake ones. Here is the recipe!

150ml pot natural yoghurt
3 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
175g golden caster sugar
140g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g ground almonds
175g unsalted butter, melted

Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases and heat oven to 190C. In a jug, mix the yoghurt, eggs and vanilla extract. Put the dry ingredients, plus a pinch of salt, into a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Add yoghurt mix and melted butter, and quickly fold in with a spatula or metal spoon - don't overwork it. Spoon into the cases (they will be quite full) and bake for 18-20 mins.

Icing
100g white chocolate
140g unsalted butter
140g icing sugar

Melt the chocolate in the microwave on High for 1½ mins, stirring halfway. Leave to cool. Beat the butter and icing sugar in a large bowl until creamy. Beat in the chocolate and spread on cupcakes.

TIP: If you would rather not cook with nuts, swap the ground almonds for 100g more plain flour. The end result will still taste great, but won't keep or freeze quite as well.

Have fun!

Love
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20.6.09

Less is More II

I have had some fantastic feedback from some of you who are joining me in the de-cluttering process! Thanks for your emails and letters, it is really encouraging to hear how your de-cluttering is going. It would be great if you could post your feedback on the Blog comments box too as I am sure others would be encouraged too.

Continuing with my "Less is More" process I am discovering what is clutter that needs to go and what is not. Here are a few thoughts:

1) Hanging out with my children doing nothing ISN'T doing nothing! This is an important part of their childhood and spending time with them is very important. Games, painting, baking, watching a butterfly pass by, catching frogs, singing songs and cuddling take up a huge part of my day. This is not part of the clutter that needs to go, this is a precious season I need to embrace.

If you are a teenager I would say that hanging out with your parents is valuable! The older you get the more you realise how important your parents are and that they are just people too that need your love and acceptance. No matter how "good" or "bad" your parents seem to be, they are still your parents and always will be - why not make something special out of it?


2) Computer, TV and cleaning can be clutter! Thankfully we don't watch TV in our home so I don't have to deal with this one, but the computer can be something that all of us spend too many hours on. Often I feel that I am "working" as I am doing all the things I need to do on the computer, but really if I were more disciplined I could definitely spend a lot less time on the computer. In the same way cleaning can be a waste of time too.... this may sound silly but if I have set aside time to clean at an appropriate time of the day then I wouldn't spend the whole day trying to keep things clean. For example picking up the toys during that day is a waste of time, it's best to wait until the end of the day and do it just once! We are a family of 6, if I tried to keep our home perfect I would be cleaning 24 hours a day! I love a clean home but I can't be obsessive about it either.

Again, if you are a teenager then this probably doesn't apply to you. But I have watched one of my daughters (you will never guess which one lol) spend a whole day trying to clean her room and still not have it clean at the end! If she just focused and set her mind on the task she could have it done in an hour! However, she spends all day trying to clean up and never gets the job done and wastes so much time that she could be using for more fun things!


3) Trying to be like everybody else is clutter, really hard work. Knowing who you are can save a lot of time and energy. This applies to all of us no matter what age we are! If we are not content in our own skin we will waste an awful amount of time trying to be who we think we should be. Knowing who you REALLY are, knowing what you want and knowing where you are going saves so much time and energy. Being comfortable with who we are also makes us more beautiful. I went into this in detail in a previous post so won't go into it too much now.

4)  Fun is not clutter! As a family we have always said that we will work hard together and we will play hard together. Sadly we forgot the play hard part and just worked really hard which has damaged us all. Since getting back from holiday and remembering how fun life can be we have committed to finding ways to play together. I am de-cluttering my life from all the unnecessary thing to make time to enjoy my life too. If we are not enjoying our life we will be unattractive to the world around us! As Christians we need to be salt and light so we can win our world to Jesus. So if you need an excuse to have more fun you can see it as your way of being salt and light - salt is tasty and light is attractive - fun people have both, dull people are neither. 




So let's have some fun girls. Last night we were thinking of what we could do for fun, we needed to get out the house and do something but after much deliberation and searching the Internet for something to do in Cheltenham we ended up staying home! How sad is that, so PLEASE post your suggestions for some fun out and about things to do. We will experiment too and get back to you.


Love

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19.6.09

Less is More



I am in the process of decluttering my life, starting with my home and moving onto my soul! It's a refreshing process and I am positive at the end I am going to have a prettier home and a more peaceful soul.

After getting back from holiday last week and feeling tired only a few days later I realised that something had to change. Before the holiday I was totally shattered! The holiday was amazing and I came back refreshed. (the photo above is towards the end of our holiday when we were all nicely refreshed, although Daniel looks like he still needs a bit more rest he he) I quickly jumped back into real life! You guessed it, back to shattered again. This is not the way to lead a healthy balanced life hence the decluttering! I figured that less is more, if I can do a few things well I will be effective in what I do and more satisfied with my life. Doing too many things badly or even mediocre is not the way I want to do life and living with a tired and stressed me is not what is best for my family. Being an excellent wife and mother has always been my #1 priority, if anything is hindering me in this area then it has to go.

Jesus said 'My yoke is easy and My burden is light.' - Matthew 11:30

When something is either too hard or too heavy to carry it must mean that God didn't give it to me. I have decided that de-cluttering my home helps me understand how to de-clutter my soul! Here are some guidelines I wrote for me, hopefully it can help you too.

Firstly remove everything that is not needed... whatever can go must go.

Household clutter is obvious but soul clutter can come in the form of too many responsibilities, too much time on the computer, too many things that cause negative emotions and loss of peace. Busyness for the sake of it is not effectiveness. Jesus mentioned this when he commended Mary and not Martha. Read Luke 10 verse 40 "...but Martha was distracted with much serving..." and verse 41 and 42 "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part..." To have a restored soul we need to eliminate things that distract, worry and trouble us and spend time sitting with Jesus.

Secondly stop and rest.

Psalm 23:2-3 is a great help on how to work towards a restored soul. "He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness". To have a restored soul there needs to be some rest involved! This is where most people fail, they find it impossible to rest so never get to the place of having a restored soul or to walk in paths of righteousness. To have a restored soul we need to allow Him to lead the way. After rest paths of righteousness will follow.



For more on this point I recommend reading my book, He Restores My Soul, which is a look at God's way to live our life, which is after all so much higher than our ways. Press the pause button, take a deep breath, and uncover a much better way to live your life.






Thirdly prioritise - what is important and what is not?

Before picking things up again make sure you know who you are. All that you do should be an overflow of who you are. Your identity is key to what you do with your life. The reason you probably got in a mess in the first place was because you were trying to do everything (um yes that's me) instead of resting in who you are and seeing what overflows naturally. God made us the way we are because He also has a plan for what He wants us to do... Psalm 139 : 3-16 explains so beautifully how God made us and planned our life before we were even born! Another way to look at is like this. A car manufacturer makes a car because He plans for the car to drive.... if the car tries to be a washing machine it would be in serious trouble as it wasn't designed to wash clothes! Perhaps an over simplified illustration but I do hope it helps. We really need to understand the importance of knowing who we are so we can do what God make us to do. To me that is the key to a great and satisfying life.

I have begun this process already and I challenge you to join me, the worst that can happen is that you will have a very tidy home and a very peaceful soul. These are just a few tips off the top of my head, if you have anything to share please write your ideas in the comments box below, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Love

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12.6.09

Lorah

It is with great joy that I introduce my nearly 18 year old baby to you! Lorah is such a beautiful young lady that has modelled how to do the teenage years well! She has lived life to the full and enjoyed all that life has to offer without compromising her values and beliefs. I am so proud of the way she has lived her life thus far :) Lorah is a loyal friend, a great big sister to her 3 siblings and a daughter of note. If ever you need someone you can count on for just about anything it is Lorah.

Not only is Lorah an amazing person but also a very talented person. She is a beautiful dancer, singer, musician and artist. She leads the worship at our church, plays the guitar, does several forms or dance and is achieving distinction on her art BTech at Cirencester College!

There is so much more to say but I will leave that to her friends. Add your comments in the box below. 



Love








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10.6.09

Perspective

How you see yourself will affect how you see others!

Have you ever considered that your identity not only affects how you see yourself but also how you see others? If you see yourself in a negative way it is highly likely that you will also be very negative and critical of others. If you see yourself in a positive way you will look for the good in others. If you see the good in others you are also likely to bring out the best in them. Likewise if you see that bad in others you are likely to bring the bad out in them too. Who do you want to be? Someone who brings out the good in others or someone who brings out the bad? We all have good and bad in us so your perspective is your choice - which way are you going to look at yourself and other people! If you ever needed a reason to work on your identity and how you see yourself, this may be it. Have a big, honest look at yourself.

Decide to learn to love yourself and only then will you truly be able to love others. It is as Jesus said; "...You shall love your neighbour as yourself." - Matthew 22:39  

My prayer is that God shows me who I really am, so I can be all He made me to be, so that I can bring out the best in others.

Love

PS The inspiring painting on today's post is by my lovely daughter Lorah :)
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7.6.09

At The Beach

We have had the most amazing time this past week on the lovely sunny beaches in Wales! Take a look at these gorgeous views...








Love








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