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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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