Tag Archives: Book

Book Recommendation

Hi Friends,

If you’ve been enjoying my ‘Self Care in a Pandemic’ series (I think we’re on number 40 something already!), don’t worry, this is just a momentary pause in the proceedings while I share a book recommendation with you.

Today I finished re-reading Katie Piper’s very helpful book “Things Get Better”, for the second time.

I’m inspired and uplifted by Katie Piper’s input into the world. You may already know her story and journey of recovery from victim to survivor to thriving overcomer, as I see it, but if you don’t then I’ll leave it to you to do a little internet search to learn more about the woman in her own words.

I first read her autobiography, “Beautiful” a year or so ago, and I then read the continuation of that “Beautiful Ever After”. These are autobiographical accounts of how she suffered after extreme attacks, and how her experiences of life from rock bottom to receiving medical and psychological help, then finding faith which she mentions briefly, and finding in herself a fighting spirit to recover and then to set up a charity to help other people. She thought she would never have any kind of life again, but now is thriving doing work to help other people and even has a family of her own.

This book, however, “Things Get Better” is one which could probably be classified in the ‘self care’ genre. If you are struggling with anything in life, you are bound to find inspiration and practical advice to help you take the next steps forward, and know that you are not alone.

It has really helped me, as Katie starts out the book with a chapter on her experience of ‘Rock Bottom’ in life. Can anyone relate? She describes her recovery journey, and how to overcome set backs and plateaus and keep moving forwards.

If you are facing recovery of any kind, or have issues in your life that you are trying to overcome that you need some help and direction with then this is a very accessible book that may just help and encourage you to find and take your next step in your healing journey.

Even if you don’t think these things apply to you, it might be a fascinating read if you are trying to relate to someone else who is needing some help or support in hard times.

So, that’s my first book recommendation of 2021. I gained from it so much that I read it twice, and so I thought I’d share it with you as well in case you are also able to benefit.

Take care, and keep an eye out for the next blog post in my ‘Self Care in a Pandemic’ series. x

Photo by Janko Ferlic on Pexels.com

Self Care in A Pandemic (10): Nurture Your Soul…

Yesterday, we thought about how it’s ‘ok not to be ok’. It is ok to sit in those difficult moments and learn to endure those difficult feelings, knowing that ‘this too will pass’.

With that being said, once we are ready to get up again, to take the next deep breath, and to make that next step in life, however small it might feel to us, it is so important to move forwards in a way that nurtures the core of who we are.

That might sound fairly profound, but the practicalities of getting there, one small moment at a time, needn’t be an overwhelming or big thing.

What do I mean by that? I suppose we could look at this through the lens of ‘slow living’, of learning to slow ourselves down, be more present in the moment and despite whatever we are feeling inside or what is going on around us, just take a moment to enjoy the moment we are in.

Last night I wasn’t feeling my best. To be honest I was struggling a bit. Yet, with a new day today, I have found new possibilities, new moments, and new reasons to hope, and to smile and I feel good in *this* moment. While that may change from time to time, as it does on this journey as human beings, we can seek to ‘collect’ and experience more and more of those precious moments that feed, nourish and nurture our souls.

After getting ready this morning, and preparing my room to be a place that I’d enjoy being and working in, I checked my work emails, did a bit of correspondence, and then took some time away from my desk to walk in my parents’ back garden. It was wonderful. Something so simple as feeling the fresh air on my face, the softness of grass beneath my soft shoes, to hear the birds chattering away, to see the trees, some with colourful leaves, but most with bare branches, and to look up into the sky and see the sunlight gently filtering through the clouds – in that moment my soul felt happy, and I drank it in, and even now I feel happy thinking about it and it reminds me to look out of my window and enjoy the little bit of nature that is around me.

I know from experience that nature while being a wonderful balm and tonic to our souls, isn’t always readily accessible to everyone. I spent the first four months of lockdown here in the UK from the end of March to July on my own, in the 10th floor of my flat, at first not having opportunity to go outside at all for weeks, and for most of the time with no face to face human contact at all. Even for an introvert, it was hard going at times.

Yet, there are ways we can nurture our souls even without being able to enjoy the fresh air and the calming effects of nature. The other day I had an experience of one of those ‘soul food’ moments. You know those moments when you are eating something hot in temperature like a broth or some kind of potato or vegetable dish, or some other comforting home cooked meal with healthy ingredients, perhaps something that is your ‘go to’ comfort food. Unlike unhealthy ‘fast food’, the heat of it causes you to slow down, you can feel the warmth in your belly, you are more awake to the senses of taste and texture and the beautiful aroma of different ingredients that awaken your senses. Perhaps as you read this different memories come back to you of homely times, or of times by yourself where you have taken a moment to really enjoy what you were eating and the experience has lingered with you.

Slow down, enjoy, nurture yourself. Whether that be by feeling the fresh air on your face, by taking time over a healthy meal, by making yourself a comforting wintery hot drink and eating your favourite snack, by creating a cosy environment, lingering over a good book or getting cosy and watching a film that makes you feel happy, there are so many moments that we can seek to experience more deeply, whether we are facing this pandemic alone or with other people. Amidst the ups and downs of these times, think of how you can nurture your soul, even if that is the tiniest moment at a time that no one else will ever see. Add to these moments day by day, bit by bit, and you will feel all the better for it.

Stay safe, and much love dear friends. xx

Photo by Taryn Elliott on Pexels.com

Notes from a Writer on Retreat! 3

It is morning, 8.15 am, and I have been up for around 45 minutes. Last night at around 3.30am I was able to do some more writing, which has brought me a little further along and left me feeling excited as to how things will develop for my characters. I only wrote an additional paragraph, so my word count over the past evening and early morning is a bit over 1,000 words. Thank you for reading my earlier blog posts about preparing for this writing retreat, I am encouraged to share this journey. I have been working on this book on and off for just over ten years, and it is an expression of a deep place within my soul. 

I am blessed to have this time off from work, even ‘just’ three days, to savour the creative process and take my time with things. 

This morning, the sun is shining and there is a cool, gentle and crisp breeze in the air. It often rains here, so a day like this is a gift, and I am thankful. I can hear the chatter of birdsong through my open window, and I can also hear the rush of traffic over the motorway bridge as commuters make their way to work. I am both cocooned from the world, being on the 10th floor and with my windows laced with tulle to ‘keep the world out’ but also to allow me to observe it. My view overlooks the city, but in the distance I can see hills, trees, a few fluffy clouds, and a pastel blue sky. I awoke with thoughts running through my mind of things I wanted to write, which is lovely, to have that creative flow so early on. I am ‘half ready’ if that makes sense, having prepared myself for the day and got changed into some light and comfortable clothing, but I am not ready enough to go outside. After some refreshing water, I didn’t go straight to writing, but I spent the first 40 minutes or so in prayer and worship and committing my time to God.

Music helps me to quieten myself and be still before God and the lyrics help focus my thoughts and intentions and allow God to guide my heart and purpose. 

If you are interested, this has been my morning worship playlist today. The lyrics are beautiful if you take time to listen, and the final song is really a prayer and offering to God and a request for Him to establish the work of our hands, for His glory, for without Him we can do nothing.

I also came across in my ‘reader’ feed a beautiful blog post which inspired me to reflect and I will share a link to that post below. It talks about being humble in our attitudes and what we do, in response to Christ’s humility, and God’s view of those who seem ‘less’ in the eyes of the world. This links to a central theme in my book regarding the transformation of people who have been crushed and downtrodden, to be used mightily as part of a bigger purpose. I will not give too much away, but I was pleased to see this post and the connections that God is leading me to think about. 

I recommend that if you are embarking upon a focused time of creativity to begin in quietness and reflection and inspiration, remembering the purpose of what you are doing and the reason behind it. For me, I remind myself that all I do is because of the Love and Sacrifice of my Creator, so to Him I commit this writing retreat, and trust that He will glorify His Great Name and establish the work of my hands. 

This morning’s worship playlist: 

 

scenic view of mountains during dawn
Photo by Simon Matzinger on Pexels.com