“January’s Incremental Improvements”: (1). Eating Well & Enjoyably.

Sometimes I find incremental changes to be far more effective and sustainable than sudden energetic efforts to drastically change a particular area of life. Of course sometimes a large project needs to be planned and undertaken (such as de-cluttering you home, for example), wherein such energetic efforts for a short-term project are necessary and helpful in order to sustain new habits, a new system and new daily routines that will be sustainable in the long term.

However, unlike some, I’m not one to approach healthy eating in this way, and I wouldn’t jump on the January “New year, new start, new diet” bandwagon. From observation, such efforts often seem short lived, ending in discouragement, disappointment and a lapse into old bad habits.

I prefer to make incremental changes gradually and throughout the year, taking time to research healthy options and what will work for me in my life and routine. Overall, I find, small and consistent changes are more sustainable and can lead to a healthier lifestyle, rather than finding oneself struggling under the guilt of not achieving a particular diet or lifestyle goal.

And yet, they busy-ness of life does mean that at certain times of the year, and under certain circumstances, I do better than at others. Therefore, I find January and a new year to be a wonderful opportunity to think afresh about whether I can approach things differently to sustain positive changes and intentions on a day to day basis.

So, with that in mind, a new purchase I have recently introduced into my life is this lovely stainless steel “Bento Box” or compartmentalised meal tray.

Details and pictures from Amazon can be found here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B078RJPTY8/ref=twister_B0771KJXM9?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

How has this small change helped?

Psychologically: For some, perhaps idiosyncratic and childlike reason, I love airplane tray meals. Therefore, it gives me a little burst of joy to look forward to eating from this whether I’m at work, or at home curled up on the sofa while watching TV.

Portion Control: I am more aware of how much food I am eating, and these compartments certainly help visually in seeing this more clearly than on a standard plate.

Preparing and Maintaining Healthy Eating Habits in a Busy Lifestyle:

As a young, single woman, who works full time, 5 days a week, I often only get home from work after 7pm. This can mean falling into bad patterns of getting ‘quick’ options for food, including ready-meals for the microwave, or occasionally even takeaways when I don’t have the energy to cook a full and healthy meal for myself. This is fine in moderation, however, I’d like to choose the option intentionally, rather than by default because I’m too tired or not organised and prepared enough. However, now I only have to think of 5 things to put into the compartments, which means it is easier to have a healthier variety of food, eat well and be mindful of portion sizes, and save some money. I used to ‘meal prep’ for the week ahead on some weekends, however, this takes time and is something I tended to stop and start as I found it hard to maintain on a regular basis. This way, ‘meal-prepping’ feels far easier and more manageable – at least for me – you may have different and better ways that work for you.

The Verdict:

This little investment has already helped me to make healthier and manageable changes in my day to day life and I feel that I will be better able to sustain these changes than with good intentions alone. What about you? What fun things can you introduce into your life to help make and maintain positive changes? What things do you already do that you can share with the rest of us? xx

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Living your best life this year.

Another year rolls by (happy new year friends, btw). We each face this demarcation of time on our calendars and in our lives with a different point of view. For some among us, the year gone by has been a blessed one, and despite life’s daily and inevitable challenges, ups and downs, overall the happiness has been greater than the sadness, it has been a ‘good year’, and the future feels ripe with possibilities.

For others, the year may have been one with sorrows, loss, disappointment, from a variety of life’s hard challenges. you have made it through ….barely…and are not altogether certain just how to take that next step in life.

For many, perhaps, you feel the year has been pretty average, uneventful, nothing out of the ordinary, and that you have just drifted along, or just got on with what you had to do. Maybe your new year hasn’t been sorrowful, but rather stressful, busy, even chaotic, with barely a moment to yourself to think. Maybe it has just been ordinary, or a bit lacklustre.

I’m sure there are a myriad of ways in which we each reflect back upon the year gone by.

Regardless of how you feel about it, something that is certain is that going forwards, each of us have to make our way through this new year one day at a time, one step at a time, one breath at a time.

So, no matter what your circumstances are, or what you feel inside, there are ways in which you can improve your day to day experience of your journey and find your ‘sweet spot’ in the day to day of living your life.

Apart from the big life decisions, changes or challenges you may be facing, what in the ordinary day to day can you approach differently, to make your life better?

In the next few posts I will be exploring some of the little ways I am making changes in my daily life, to make the ‘ordinary’ a little more inviting and special, and to bring more pockets of joy and feelings of connectedness in my every day living. I’d be delighted if you join me and even more so if you want to share your own insights too. Here’s to a blessed 2019 to us all. xx

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From the Old Things to the New…& Out of Hibernation….

Happy New Year 2019 friends. I hope you have all had a peaceful time as you prepare to embark upon adventures new. I hope to write more about the year gone by and the one that is ahead, however, in the meantime I thought this post from last year was still relevant to wish you all the very best. x

Life as it happens to be

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Happy New Year Dear Friends,

I apologise for the hiatus in blogging, and have come out of my blogging hibernation to wish you all the very best of life’s lessons and blessings in 2018. I haven’t been in hibernation completely, as the wintery / festive season is quite a special time for me, and after some difficult years I have had a more peaceful and cosy season, and have been busy living life.

It’s a funny time of the year, isn’t it? I am a planner, and tend to set goals throughout the year rather than have new year’s resolutions as such, but I do love the time of more intentional reflection that this time of the year can bring, and feeling that other people are also reflecting upon their own lives, and seeing opportunities in which we might learn together.

And yet, this can also be a time of…

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Vision, Patience, Promise…

“Where there is no vision, the people perish” Proverbs 29:18a… Question:

Are you struggling to move forwards in your life? Perhaps you have a certain challenge or difficulty that you are facing, or maybe things are well with you but you find that you are just drifting along from moment to moment, day to day, with an underlying feeling that you are not really living your best life, and that you are not meeting your potential. 

When this is how we find ourselves moving through life, we need a fresh and healthy dose of Truth, perspective and vision. What is a life lived without vision? How can we go anywhere meaningful if we don’t know where we are going? Maybe we have or have had vision in certain areas of our lives but we are getting bogged down with the challenges and realities of the struggles we face on the journey and need a refreshing. 

If you find yourself nodding along or quietly acquiescing to these statements, then you are in good company. Many reading this, and the one writing this are in the same metaphorical boat. So, as I seek to encourage you, I also seek to encourage myself, and as I seek to remind myself of the importance of vision in my life I also seek to hopefully provide some words of refreshing, direction and hope for you, my dear readers, as you join me on this journey. 

1. Vision: What is vision?

This can be viewed from the vast, broad perspective of our whole life, as well as narrowed down to focus on the more specific. I believe we desperately need both. For me, what truly changed my life is ordering my steps in the Word of God. I have found that over time chaos has given way to calm, hopelessness to hope, helplessness to courage and strength, and aimlessness to vision. Ultimately for myself, the Vision for my entire life temporally here on earth, and for all eternity, is that of a Living Person ~ Jesus Christ ~ my Saviour, Lord, Healer, Best Friend, and Inspiration. My anchor and comfort in every storm. I didn’t always know Him and instead of vision there was a profound sense of despair and lostness. Jesus Christ, the One True and Living God, He Is my Vision. And He gives sight to the blind, when spiritually we have no means to see clearly by ourselves. He Is Light in our darkness, and the entrance of God’s Word gives us Light and understanding. 

And yet, I also have smaller, specific ‘visions’ or goals for my life. Without these, and without ordering these according to the Truth of God’s Word, I find that I so easily get overwhelmed by life and unable to properly handle things or look forwards with hope. I end up ruminating on the past or trying to ‘solve’ my own mental problems with little success. The Truth cuts through all of this, and I continue to learn to wield this mighty ‘sword’. 

Currently, I find myself considering and having to remind myself to have vision in certain areas of my life:

  • My identity, a vision of who I truly am, my value and worth as a person, and my perspective of challenging negative things that people either said or did to me (childhood bullying), and to grow in the freedom to live out my true identity as a valuable created being, imbued with value and worth from my Creator.
  • A vision of  recovery in my journey to overcome complex post traumatic stress, and to find healing emotionally, mentally, physically and relationally.
  • A vision of my goals in keeping connected with family and friends, of helping other people, of taking care of myself, and in accomplishing certain things in writing a book, blogging and making the most of my hobbies, gifts and talents, including for the good of others which include some future plans and learning new skills, health and wellbeing, and work .

These are just a few among many, but without writing them down for myself, planning specific steps to take and being intentional about them, they will just stay buzzing around in my head without really purposefully going anywhere. What about you? What are you seeking to find, do, be or accomplish in your life just now?

2. Patience:

Now, this is the hard part, and it is why we often need regular reminders of our bigger goal or vision and why this is so important to us and integral to what we value in life. Patience is particularly hard when it involves things beyond our control, or when there is no straightforward A + B formula or a set timescale by which we can arrive at where we want to be or how we want to feel. This might involve areas of our life such as relationships as other people are complex, unique and often unpredictable beings just as we are. It might involve a situation in which we rely on someone or something else to work out, we might be waiting for a part in a process of ‘red tape’ or bureaucracy that is slowing us down from moving forwards, it might involve the decision on the part of someone else, or it might be the case that we have been trying for something that just doesn’t seem to be ‘working out’ just now.

For me, at the moment, I find that I need to revive my vision and hope, and have patience in the process of healing and recovery from complex post traumatic stress, and the need to be ‘set free’ spiritually from the heaviness and hurt. It takes patience with myself, as I can see that there might be people that I’d like to connect with, or get to know, but my ‘injuries’ are holding me back or making it difficult to smoothly move forwards in life, and this is frustrating, provokes anxiety and self doubt, and just doesn’t feel all that great to be honest. So while I am writing this for you, I’m also writing it as a reminder for me to look above and beyond the struggles and challenges of the journey to reminding myself of the greater vision and that there may be glitches and bumps along the way that are not so comfortable, there may be things that are completely out of our hands, the positive of which is that this can if we let it drive us to deeper faith, hope, love and dependence on our Creator. And yet, there are certain tools and helps in our own hands that we need to be disciplined enough to use. The A + B = desired result may not be what is happening here, and for some the growth and lessons are deeper and more painful as they may involve a hope being fulfilled in time, or they may involve a painful process of change, growth and a purification of our characters. They may involve loss and grief, sadly. I think of my friends who are struggling with infertility, and it is a reminder to that as we pursue our goals in life, we also need to patiently and sincerely pursue extending compassion and kindness for others and ourselves in the process, or perhaps as being even more important than what we initially set out to obtain.

For me, although there is no straightforward A+B formula or a smooth path for living free, as with all of us there are certain things that I can do and that are my responsibility to do in the process. Whether this be focusing on my relationship with God, nurturing my true identity, refusing to ruminate or let painful past memories and effects overtake me, finding coping mechanisms, grounding techniques and things to do to keep me focussed on the present, making time to nurture friendships, invest time and love into the gifts and talents I’ve been given, continue to work on eating, sleeping, maintaining a routine and exercising for the sake of improving my well being – these are all things that I can remind myself of when the difficulties begin to obscure the hope of the vision. Maybe you can ask yourself today both what is your vision, and what is in your power to do just now, and also are you living by faith, or are you giving in to feelings and false beliefs of hopelessness?

3. Promise: Hold on friends, hold on with hope, faith, love, trust and perseverance. I don’t know what the promise is for your life, but I know that none of us are here by accident, or mistake or happenstance. Your life is beautifully valuable, precious, intentioned and unique. Remember that today, and hold fast to the promise, the Truth that is so freely available to us (please comment below if you want to ask any questions on this and finding guidance in the life-changing promises of the Bible), as you do so much more in your life and in your day than merely drifting along, coping or surviving.

You were made for so much more, my friend. And it is a promise that you should live it…not in your strength, but by amazing grace if you reach out to take a hold of the One Who offers eternal hope and promise to you – Jesus Christ.

Be blessed, dear ones. Even if you don’t believe or have widely different views on things, then I’d still love to hear from you, and welcome your comments and connection. xx (c).