Tag Archives: Plans

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).

 

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Pic of the Day ~ What dreams will you take to flight this year?

I captured this picture last October at a beautiful light show organised in a woodland park area, called “The Enchanted Forest”, using a Panasonic Lumix camera with a Leica lens…

This was during a sound and light display and the light projections flowed in a kaleidoscopic movement in time with the music. The images came and went and one bright display changed into something vividly different within the blink of an eye. However, I was captivated by this projection of a ‘bird’ that flew and flapped its wings before swiftly transforming into a new array of patterns and colours. So I waited, waited for the projections to come round full circle as it were so that I could ‘snap’ the exact moment of this mystical metaphorical bird of light.

And I am glad I waited, for I took the time to remind myself both to look at life through the lens and capture these fleeting memories, but also to remember to put the camera down and *be* in the moment, living it, savouring it and experiencing it fully. However, life changes from one moment to the next, and it is pretty special I think, to be able to live it with a camera in hand for just the right moment too!

And if you happen to have stopped by to visit and read my post, and have got this far, thank you ~ and please leave a comment as to what is sparking your imagination at the start of this new year, and what dreams do you hope will take to flight? x

 

Slow down, just breathe, & live a little deeper this year… Part 1 & 2 — Life as it happens to be

It’s January 7th 2018, and I don’t know for how long it is reasonable to talk about the ‘New Year’. One thing I do know however, is that it is always a good time to reflect upon our lives, and to consider whether there are ways we can do things differently, and to look for […]

via Slow down, just breathe, & live a little deeper this year… Part 1 — Life as it happens to be

Part 2 –

And so it continues. We embark upon a new moment together. I wonder what you have wondered about since reading my earlier post (above). I left you considering that perhaps universal childhood sense of a slowness of time, that somehow evaporates as adulthood rushes us from one fleeting year to the next, sometimes causing us to crash and burn through sheer exhaustion of the many things we need to get done in such a little amount of time. 

And yet, perhaps we have more time than we think we have, as short as our lives may be. We fail to leave margins at the edges of our lives, and cram them so full that we can never keep up with ourselves. I’m not saying that as adults we should abandon our responsibilities so that we can gaze in absent minded wonder at the stars of our own imagining, but that perhaps we could…and should…be doing things a little differently, especially as we embark upon this new year. 

What if being always active and busy with our ‘to dos’ is actually counterproductive? Perhaps all of our multitasking means that we are less focused, more anxious and more prone to making mistakes and taking longer in getting things done and having to redo a task to undo our mistakes. What if unchecked we let ourselves ‘burn out’ and in fact lose far more time than all that time we were trying to save in the first place?

There is something to be said for planning and preparing and knowing our responsibilities and dreams and setting goals to achieve them. And there is also something to be said about slowing down, and taking our time in each precious moment of our often busy and hectic lives. I can all but guarantee that if you do take your time, and see the opportunities in life’s simple (sometimes perceived as ‘mundane’) happenings, then you will find more enjoyment as you move through your days. 

Maybe you can’t ‘get away from it all’, but can you get some of it away from you? Can you leave wider margins at the pages of your life as your days unfold so that you can slow down and live deeper rather than faster? Can you cut down the incessant stream of information you absorb through social media so as to be able to breathe, centre yourself and think more clearly, and perhaps spend a few more moments of your adult life enjoying the beauty of the simple things as you did as a child? Maybe instead of seeing all the chores that need to be done as a burden, you could change your perspective to gradually be able to see them as a joy? When you are present in the moment to be thankful for the ability to be able to perform such tasks, and even perhaps listen to some nice music or encouraging talks while you are doing what you are doing? I have started listening to my MP3 while vacuuming, and finding that I end up doing a more thorough job because I am enjoying myself and want to make the experience last a little longer – strange but true, I know! Or that when doing the dishes I might slow down to notice the warmth of water  and the playfulness of the foam bubbles, and might be listening to something encouraging or inspiring at the same time. You might have a busy and hectic life, but there are ways in which all of us can widen those margins in our lives, and take time not just to exist, but to LIVE. 

When thinking about your goals for this year, if you think that way in the first place, you might find that a more intentional way of living and doing the things that you otherwise would just like to get out of the way actually frees you to be more present, feel more connected with yourself and those around you, and be far more productive and efficient as you begin to learn and find new imaginative ways to enjoy the process of the everyday things of your life. 

Which in turn ultimately means that you have more ‘breathing space’ to be able to more intentionally pursue those loftier goals that you may have, and to use your time on this earth each day as wisely as you can. For I assure you there is no one else on earth like you, who can express life the way you can and with the uniqueness that you have. And perhaps someone else in this life’s journey needs to hear what you have to say, or see that smile you have to offer when you have time to notice the beauty around you which you could not offer when otherwise stressed, anxious or preoccupied. You have something so special to give each and everyday, so first give yourself that breathing space, slow down, live a little deeper, so that this year ahead you will live more fully and deeply rather than just existing or getting by. I would love to see what you have to offer the world, and to hear of your hopes, dreams, goals and plans, and wish you wisdom, love and blessing in the year to come. x

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

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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 undue pressure and self and other imposed expectations to somehow transform our lives, set goals, meet goals and make big changes. So, instead of posting along those lines, I just want to offer you a big New Year hug, knowing that we all have our ups and downs, good days and bad, times where we feel motivated, and others where we just want to squirrel away into a little ball and hibernate a bit longer.

So here’s a hug. I hope that you will have someone else to hug this week. And that you take the time to just pause, reflect, and simply ‘be’ knowing that you are unique and awesome as you have been made, regardless of whether you hit those targets or not.

And while you take a deep breath, with all the lessons you have learned from the year gone by, and looking forward into the unknown of 2018, don’t forget to have some ‘down time’ to relax, rest and be thankful, and take time to heal if need be – afterall, it is the season to by COSY.

Much love.

xx

Life as it happens to be…some reflections & plans….& future blog topics…

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Passing the yearly mid-point

Hi friends. 2nd July 2017. Can you believe we’re now more than half way through this year? I don’t know how that makes you feel, but I have a good feeling about it, which is quite a change from the anxious feelings I’ve had in previous years. This year I have been more mindful of making the most of my moments and not feeling so ‘dictated to’ by the clock or the calendar or the idea of ‘milestones’ that ought to have been reached by now. I do sometimes like to consider time in ‘manageable portions’ (don’t we all?), to take time to reflect, especially around the new year, and to plan ahead for the year to come. Perhaps you are similar, or maybe you prefer to just ‘go with the flow’ and see what happens. I think to some extent we all like a bit of both, to varying degrees. We need both stability and spontaneity in our lives. There is something about a ‘half way point’ that is a natural demarcation that can call us to reflect, or ‘pause and ponder’ and think about our life’s direction, our achievements, goals and plans for the future.

Perspectives

Sometimes passing a ‘half way point’ can make people feel nervous, unsettled, fearful, anxious or as if they have failed if they haven’t been able to achieve or get to where they had hoped or planned. I understand that. However, if you are in that place, I would encourage you to take a step back from the lens that you have been looking through and enjoy that wide expansive horizon before you.

Life is made up of different seasons, and unlike the predictability of the movement of nature’s seasons year after year from Spring to Summer to Autumn/Fall onto Winter, our lives are not like that. At twenty we cannot look across to the lives of twenty five year olds and find a uniformity in their circumstances that we can look to as a guarantee for the shape of our future. Nor can we do so at any age or stage of life. Yes, there may be certain things that hold a degree of certainty such as infancy, school years, college / university, graduation, employment, and so on. However, even then, we all have different starting points and obstacles and opportunities whether they be in the form of our health, family background, upbringing, socio economic status, limitations, abilities, temperament or whatever else they may be. We may be encouraged or hindered by the families we are born into, or by the company we keep or are compelled into by life’s circumstances. We may suffer abuse, neglect, trauma, unfair treatment, disadvantage or we may find ourselves blessed with favourable circumstances and a mostly happy or even carefree life. Perhaps the seemingly ‘predictable’ patterns of earlier years become more tangled, complex and uncertain as the years go by. Which is a good reason to refrain from harsh judgement of ourselves or others, and to avoid the ‘comparison trap’. Everyone has a story, and a ‘cross to bear’ as it were, and most times we are not really aware of what others around us are really going through however their lives may seem on the surface.

Finding Peace

Perhaps a simple prayer to ponder when life feels uncertain is the ‘Serenity Prayer’, which is simple yet full of wisdom:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.

I personally love this prayer. It draws me away from being overly concerned with what is going on around me or from comparing my life to anyone else’s. It reminds me that like you, I have a Creator Who has made me who I am for a reason, and that if I want certainty and hope in my life I need only to look to Him for He Is True and Unchanging, unlike much of our experience of life in this world. And it reminds me that I am not powerless. I am not a victim of life’s circumstances, and although there are certain things that are beyond my control, still there is much that I can change. And so can you.

Who you are, and where you are now

All that being said, I’d like to remind you, yes *you*, special you reading this now, are Unique, Irreplaceable, ‘Fearfully & Wonderfully Made’ (Psalm 139) and are Special and Important just for who you are. You are not an accident, it is not by chance that you are here, right now, even reading this for perhaps you need to hear a word of encouragement. You are you for a reason, and you are here right now for a reason too.

So be kind to yourself. Know that life is not all about status or achievement or relationships or milestones achieved. It is enough that you are you. Truly. I believe that there is only One Who can love you in the way you need to be loved for you to know and experience this, and I hope that you will find your way to Him, the Lord Jesus.

However, no matter what your thoughts or beliefs, still you are important, a unique individual who deserves respect and care, and that my friend, begins with you. With how you view yourself, how you ‘talk to’ yourself, and how you treat yourself and others.

Where you are now may be a place of contentment, and if so I am pleased for you and hope that you enjoy and are blessed in this time of your life. However, where you are right now in life, may not be so great. In which case, remember from the Serenity Prayer above, that you are not powerless. You can make a change today, even if a small one, and you can keep going. This is the season of life that you are in, and inevitably with all seasons, it is transient and will change. So make the changes that you can and should, and seek to be at peace with the things that you cannot change.

So, What’s Your Plan?

Ok, ok, I’m a bit of a self-confessed ‘geek’. I like stationery. I like making lists and plans. I like seeing things written down, and I like colour coding! It’s not a crime, is it? 🙂

Over the past few years, lists and plans have been small yet very helpful tools for me to aid me through some very difficult times. As mentioned previously I have complex trauma / PTSD, severe clinical depression and generalised anxiety disorder. The past few years have been very tough health wise, yet this year has been pretty good, productive and one in which I am getting on top of my health challenges, which I hope is an encouragement to any of you out there who are struggling in any way. We can build resilience in ourselves and we can make tangible changes for the better.

So do you have a list or a plan? If so, what’s in your plan? And how has it helped you? If you think that sharing these insights with us might help someone else, then you are more than welcome to leave a comment or a link to a relevant blog post.

Here’s What’s in My Plan…

At the start of the year, I took some time to be a geek and to make up some lists 🙂 It has helped me to ‘stay on track’ as it were, and to measure my progress in areas of my life that are important to me.

I’ve never shared anything like this publicly before, however, I would like to do so now in the hope that it might help, encourage, or be a useful starting point for some of you to consider what is important to you in your lives, and how to live more fully in the days and years to come.

So here goes, ‘it is what it is’, it’s not ‘perfect’, but it was my starting point for this year. I’ll be brave and share it with you lovely people.

I categorised my life into 14 priority ‘life areas’, which I will list below, unchanged from when I wrote them in a notebook in January of this year. Further to this I made further more specific ‘sub goals’ or actions to more practically guide me in maintaining and enhancing these 14 life areas. These have been organic and involve a lot of scribbling, doodling, brainstorming and note-making, therefore I won’t share these as that would just get a bit too ‘crazy’ and unwieldy for a blog post 🙂 Notebooks, notebooks, notebooks! I also made a simple ‘accountability tracker’ for each month of the year which worked well for the first few months but may continue to change as I change.

2017 Life Areas:

  1. Relationship with God / Faith
  2. Relationship with Family
  3. Friendships
  4. Work / Career
  5. Finances
  6. Health & Wellbeing / Mental Health / Nutrition
  7. Homekeeping / Hospitality
  8. Travel
  9. Hobbies & Recreation
  10. Self Development / Lifelong Learning
  11. Life Skills
  12. Future Unknowns / Hopes
  13. Helping Other People / Outreach / Volunteering / Charity, etc.
  14. Lifelong / Long-term Goal ~ Writing.

 

‘Life As It Happens To Be’ ~ The Birth of An Unexpected Blog & The Timing of Things

As you can see from the above list, a blog could quite reasonably fit into a couple of categories (such as 9 & 14). However, I never listed it specifically in the above list, nor in any of my ‘sub lists’ (ok, already, I told you I’m a self-confessed list making ‘geek’. The world needs us! 🙂 🙂 ).

My ‘blog baby’ therefore came as an unexpected surprise. A couple of years ago I created my own website on Wix, which I was an am very happy with. It is quite different in appearance from this blog, yet contains many similar themes. However, it never really did ‘go anywhere’. There wasn’t really the same scope to connect with other bloggers as there is here, and so it kind of drifted into the background of my life, and it no longer took much place in the day to day things of my life. In May of this year, I think, someone suggested that I try blogging on Word Press. And so on 28th May 2017, just over a month ago, I did just that, I began this blog, and now here I am, and here we are. I am so glad I did.

Perhaps my previous website was a preparation for this new adventure. Although this blog wasn’t on my list of pursuits this year, it has really taken a special place in my life, even though I have barely been blogging for long. I love this creative and somewhat philosophical outlet. I love connecting with you all, and gaining an insight into your lives and adventures and experiences and learning from what you have written, photographed and shared. I often find myself thinking about things to blog about, and find that it is becoming a beautiful experience that I definitely wish to continue.

I am grateful for those of you who have joined me on this shared journey. I hope you will continue with me, but even if our paths were only meant to cross for a short time before they diverge, I am glad for this time and this season with you. I really hope that some of the things I’ve shared have been an encouragement to you. I may not have met you face to face, but I do care, and as I am moving past some difficult years into something new, I hope that together we can discover more of what it means to be ‘Living Fully’, right here, right now.

The Future? Well, I don’t know too much about that, but I do have plans for some new Blog Posts! 🙂

I’m intrigued to know whether any of you are ‘regular’ readers. If so, then thank you, I appreciate you. I also would like to know what interests you, and what I can write more of to encourage you, for I do have the heart of an encourager, and you, unseen internet friend, matter to me ❤ 🙂

In the meantime, let me share some of the things that you can expect to see more of on my blog in the near future (hopefully!):

I intend to continue my regular posts such as daily photos, daily prompts, self-care series and posts about mental health. In addition to what I’m already posting, you can look out for:

  • A continuation of my ‘self-care’ series.
  • Future LUSH product reviews.
  • A July ‘Subscription Box’ review.
  • Travel: in less than a week, I am going for a short adventure / journey on an old steam train in northern Scotland which I hope to feature in a blog post shortly afterwards.
  • More on Books! Literature reviews and posts on the books I am currently reading.
  • Future travel plans.
  • As mentioned above, more on mental health and wellbeing.
  • Faith journeys.
  • Creative writing.
  • A colouring book review: a friend has recently gifted me with a new adult colouring book, ‘Images of Hope’, which I have started working on and will look forward to sharing with you.

So there you have it, some things to look forward to, and I hope you are enjoying journeying on this adventure with me.

Much love. ❤ xx

 

Notebook image, courtesy of Google Images. All other content (c) is my own.