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Dear you,

I have been wanting to write this for a while but I have as usual been procrastinating and convincing myself out of it. Have you noticed how easy that is to do? You wake up with the best of intentions but as the day wears on you lose your resolve, those thoughts creep in, they take over.

I need to tell you that you matter, you matter all the time, every day, even when you don’t feel it. I need you to know that those moments when you reach the end of yourself and you wonder if anyone will ever see the real you, or if anyone really cares about where you are right at that minute, or if you could ever begin to say it all out loud, that I see you and that I am ready to hear it all.

I want to thank you for every moment of yourself that you have given away to look after, care for and love other people. Every one of those moments matters and is noticed even if you don’t see it.

I know there are times when you question yourself, when you wonder if you will ever understand the craziness and chaos of this life, you feel you get it wrong more often than you get it right and at times it takes all that you are just to get out of bed in the morning and face the day. But you do it.

I want to ask you to be kinder to yourself, don’t re think every decision or replay every conversation and pick apart what you did and how you could have done better, the truth is you’re doing fine. All that time you spend focussing on pulling yourself apart you lose sight of all that you are, you dull pieces of yourself and every piece of you is essential and needed and beautiful.

You are loved, you are needed, you are wanted.

You – the you that you hide away,
the you that you try everything to avoid being,
the you that this world needs.

From me x

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There are times when we all feel a little flat, times when we lose sight of our place in the world. It may be due to our current circumstances or just being stuck in a thought or a mindset that lingers for longer than we ever intended it to.

During those times, the times when we are less of ourselves, when we have less to offer the world and we feel lost is when we need the uplifters, the encouragers, the friends who will remind us of who we are and who will love us even when we don’t love ourselves.

This post is about those people, this post is for those people.

Dear you,

Thank you! Yes you! I don’t say it enough and I haven’t said it enough and for that I apologise because I am sure there are times when you also feel you are not enough or that you don’t have much to offer. I want you to know that you make a huge difference.

Your text, tweet, whatsapp that you send when you are half asleep on your way to work or when you have been awake all night with your baby or when you collapse on the sofa after ‘one of those days’ means the world. That small act of connection, reminds me that I am not alone, that I matter, that I am part of something bigger than myself.

The email you write when you don’t even know what you really need to say. The fact that you still send it, that you take time out of all that is happening for you because you just know, it makes my life all the brighter.

The words of encouragement you find to give out even when you are at the end of yourself. The commitment you show to ‘doing life’ with me, 24/7, at all times, through all seasons in all circumstances. The fact you show up, turn, up speak up, it amazes me.

The unconditional love you show in spite of my ability to be flaky, or quiet, or withdraw. The fact that ultimately who I am is more important to you than what I do, nourishes me.

Thank you. Thank you for not giving up on me even when I give up on myself. Thank you for being who you are and being consistent and caring and loving and encouraging and helping me to grow.

You will never know how amazing you are and how much those little things matter. I have tried to explain it in these few paragraphs but it doesn’t even come close.

Thank you.

Love me x

#oneword365 it’s taken me a while to choose my word this year. I have had a few I was considering but I then had an epiphany moment, a paradigm shift of sorts. I realised that the words were all about ‘doing’ and all words that I could hold myself accountable to.

If there is one thing I want for this year it is to say goodbye to a performance based life. So my one word is enjoy.

I had got to a point of not enjoying much to be honest. Don’t get me wrong, I had plenty of enjoyable moments but they eventually become hijacked by this sense of performance and achievement.

I stopped enjoying church because I wasn’t doing enough. Why was a I there? What was the point?

I struggled with accepting my friendships and relationships because I wasn’t doing enough within them.

I stopped writing because I wasn’t doing it the right way or about the right things and I wasn’t doing it the way it should be done.

This year, enough is enough.

This year is about enjoying…

I’m not going to hold myself to account about doing. I’m not going to judge my performance of achievements- I am going to enjoy the day to day, not waiting for the next event, or thing but living in the moment and enjoying.

The first cup of coffee in the morning – savoured.
The quiet moments of the day – relished
The frantic activity when spending time with my son – delighted in
Daily commute – rested in
Conversations – no more second guessing just listening

It’s a lot about letting go of untruths I have held on to for a long time and freeing myself from ridiculously high standards I can never live up to.

It’s time to enjoy…

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I have noticed that more and more people are talking about their desire or attempts to live up to, become, be more like the confident people. The people who have it all together. The people who breeze through life. The ‘have it alls’.

You know the ones? They walk into a crowded room and can immediately engage and dazzle with their scintillating conversation. They are able to juggle every area of their life with ease and they are always happy. They don’t experience fear, doubt, worry or low self esteem.

The rest of us are constantly struggling with ‘ impostor syndrome getting overwhelmed with the sense that we are continually winging it and eventually we will be found out and exposed for the frauds we really are.

The things is… the more I talk to people and admit to the fact I feel I am perpetually winging it through life, the more I realise that most other people would say they are doing that too.

People I thought were confident and extroverted actually turn out to be introverts with a good amount of bravado. The calm, serene people who seem to breeze through life actually admit to being like ducks – paddling for dear life under the surface.

So, I’m starting to think it’s all one big lie. That the ‘have it alls’, the people who breeze through life – they don’t actually exist. It’s a facade. A facade that causes each of us to set ourselves impossibly high standards that we can never reach and therefore we can enjoy beating ourselves up about it for the rest of our lives.

I could be wrong of course. So, I am asking just to check, just to see –

Will the real confident, breezing through life, have it all people, please stand up?

Stand up and show yourself if you love introducing yourself to new people and making small talk – never doubting for a minute or being held back by limiting beliefs about yourself.

Stand up if life is a breeze, you never experience anxiety or worry, you don’t have stress.

Stand up if you have never once felt like to a certain extent you are just winging it and you will one day get found out.

Stand up if you have it all and you never feel guilty, or that that you compromised on something or that you sacrificed one area of your life to improve another.

Stand up if you are there.

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On Sunday I did something new – I admitted my life wasn’t perfect into a microphone at the front of church.

I told everyone that I had a row with my husband right before hosting life group that week and that when my life group arrived I told them too.

I can see a few of you cringing at the thought of it – the thought of opening up your life like that, of exposing your humanness.

You see, we work so hard at hiding, hiding our faults, hiding our mistakes, hiding the very fact we are human and fallible.

All of this hiding has to stop. It has to stop because it is exhausting, it takes up almost every fiber of energy we have and it causes us to miss out. We miss out on the opportunity to let people into our messiness and the opportunity for others to feel less alone.

Guess what? After I admitted that Sunday no one accused me of failing at life, of falling short, of dispelling the myth of perfection. In fact, I am sure I audibly heard people breathe a sigh of relief, of release even.

I wasn’t mortified either, I felt very much more alive than I have in a while – it was liberating!

You see we’re very happy to model and be examples of things like prayer, giving, serving, bringing words, being out in the community, leading… I could go on but no one wants to be an example of messiness do they? No one wants to be an example of falling short despite the fact we all fall short.

The thing is until more people are happy to speak out and stand up and say ‘I’m a mess, I get it wrong a lot but this is how I’m working through it.’ all we are doing is perpetuating the myth of perfection and ultimately I believe that is far more dangerous, damaging and devastating than being vulnerable, open and sharing our fallibility.

So I’m making an attempt, my own little stand to stop it happening. I am breaking free of ‘Sunday face’ and attempting to fully embrace what it means to be real.

Anyone else want to join me?

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1. Mugs – yes, mugs – you have hundreds of them, in fact you have a whole cupboard full of them and none of them match. Also, you begin associating mugs with certain people in your group or you may commit the odd faux pas when someone asks which drink is theirs ‘You’re the cow…’

2. Beverages – for one you actually use the word. You have enough varieties of teas and coffees to stock the local cafe – decaf, filter, flavoured, caff, chai latte, hot chocolate etc. Oh and things you will never drink but you know others like – decaf early grey or lemon and ginger anyone?

3. Coasters – You have an inordinate amount of non matching coasters. These are not for your benefit but to prevent the mortified looks when you claim people can put their mugs directly on to a surface.

4. The 30 min dash – Half an hour before everyone’s designated arrival you run around hiding mess in spare rooms, re-cleaning the bathrooms for the 3rd time (just in case) realising you have run out of milk and that you are down to the ‘boring’ biscuits like rich tea (aaah, the quintessential Christian biscuit)

5. Slippers – You know you have definitely arrived as a life group host when people bring their slippers to wear to your group. You yourself should also wear slippers and perhaps have a few different pairs to spark conversation while everyone waits for drinks.

This is by no means a definitive list – please feel free to add to it in your comments.

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I have been doing a lot of thinking lately (dangerous I know!) about my blog and its purpose.

You see, I was challenged to begin it as a way of telling my story and stories online. It is if you like, my life played out.

I know that I should attempt to find a niche, a topic, a neat little box to fit into and by doing so I could use numerous techniques to develop a following. The things is, that’s not going to work.

I write my blog about my life and my life doesn’t fit into neat categories or a niche. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher ( maybe ex?), Christian, book lover, product reviewer and occasional ‘Ooh an opportunity to blog’ type of person.

This isn’t a Christian blog but I will discuss my faith, this isn’t a mummy blog but I will talk about motherhood and baby products, this isn’t a book review blog but I will review books, this isn’t an educational blog but I will talk about teaching, students, young people.

This is my blog, about me, showing how my life is a number of different facets and aspects of a whole. I write from the heart and want to be me.

You are very welcome to join me in my journey, join me as I turn the pages and play out my story, but I won’t fit neatly into a category and I would love to apologise for that but I can’t.