Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Thirst - Prayer

God thirsts for our unceasing prayers, our praise, supplications, petitions, thanks, pleas, intercessions, frustrations, tears, tantrums and worship. Whilst my prayer life has definitely improved over the last couple of years, as I pray with James (amen was one of his first words) and we pray as a family, still my personal prayer life needs major work. Especially with regard to intercessory prayer, I find praying for people's physical needs more easy to "check off the list" than prayer for their salvation or healing of any mental/spiritual sickness.

I instituted a 'prayer sticks' system about six months ago which had fallen by the wayside, but which I want to reinstate; this involved using coloured lollipop sticks to represent different areas of prayer, and praying through the full 'rainbow' each day. There are prayer forms/formats/Biblical requests (Our Father, ACTS, armour of God), thankful sticks, family members to pray for, friends to pray for, missionaries and mission fields to remember, apologies (confessions), petitions for personal improvement (please help me to be patient) and petitions for others/ourselves (a friend's sore back, Daddy's presentation at work). Self-discipline is one of my greatest needs and as I begin (again) to pray through these sticks I pray that God will hear and lend His strength for the task.

Today I will seek to quench my thirsts across all my daily tasks - drinking water, reading the Word, moisturising and listening to worship music first thing - and James and I will enjoy a lovely morning of tea and cake with friends (Claire and Carolyn) and their little ones (James, his peer and two seven-month-olds). All mums together sharing in this most difficult and rewarding of journeys.

Today I will pray for these our friends, their needs and ours etc. and call upon the Father with thanksgiving and praise, not to forget for the safe arrival of our new nephew/niece who will be delivered (by section) God willing on the eighth of May.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Thirst - Footcare

I'm currently trying to hydrate my body (water and moisturiser), soul (reading the Bible and listening to worship music first thing) and today I want to add to my grooming, though only as an occasional treat for my feet rather than another daily task.

Today I'll quench the thirst of my feet by soaking them, then pumicing and exfoliating before pampering them with my lavender foot cream and a fresh coat of nail polish. I'll also be massaging my tootsies thanks to a borrowed foot spa - if I can find it at my Mama's house!

Yesterday night saw three of us meet for crafts and craic and it was after midnight when I left, so it's fair to say it was a good ending to the day. In the end I chose to craft for Christmas and cut-up last year's Christmas cards, mining them for their bits of pictures and lovely designs.

This evening I'll also be enjoying a visit with one of my best friends Mimi to chat through the details of her wedding service. It is such a privilege to be her friend and I can't wait for her big day - only two-and-a-half weeks to go!

Thankfully yesterday, an impromptu shopping trip yielded a vintage-fifties-style dress, with modest neck and hemlines too. I'll be needing some industrial strength undergarments *ahem* but the coral tones are lovely and on-trend. Praise the Lord for answered prayer through a helpful sales assistant and a huge weight off my mind. Now I can stop worrying about the outfit and start fretting over the reading I'll be giving - a perfect choice for the bride and groom, but one which will require very careful timing in its execution and includes a high propensity for laughter. Hopefully the nerves will keep the giggles away, from me at least.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Thirst - Music

As I redouble my efforts to drink a sensible amount of water each day (harder than I thought) and continue with Bible study and daily moisturising (face and neck), today I add another good habit.

My son James LOVES music (and dancing) and as part of our "wake up" routine within the house I want to add some worship music to set the right tone for the day.

Today I'm going to blast out a youtube clip of "Happy Day" (Tim Hughes) to get us praising and dancing for God first thing.

This is currently our little man's favourite hymn and he even requested it for his bedtime lullaby yesterday night (since we hadn't sung it in church that morning). Poor kid, it is a lovely track but very hard to sing and I'm a poor singer at the best of times! I'd really like to learn the lyrics so I'll set this as our "morning song" for the next week or so, with "Ten Thousand Reasons" (Bless the Lord O My Soul) being next in the queue.

I'm also looking forward to "Crafty Crew" a monthly ladies craft night hosted by my friend Janey. The evening is a wonderful blessing of craic (Irish for chatting and having fun with friends), crafts and a little time to be Grainne rather than Russ' wife and James' mama.

I have had a lot of anxiety surrounding parenting mostly when I've had to be away from James (even just his being out of sight) and it has taken over two years for me to go out for an evening without him (and without major anxiety, just minor). I have now had a few successful trips out for an engagement dinner, a couple of evening chats over coffee with my besties, trips to Janey's and (my biggest jump) Mimi's hen do, staying out until quarter to two in the morning! For the hen do, I drove up so I had the safety net of being able to return home at the drop of a hat (well a thirty minute drive) if needed. Good friends have definitely helped, as I seek to get more comfortable when apart from my wee man, and lots of prayer, naturally.

As I look forward to tonight's crafting, my biggest worry is - what am I going to make?

Sunday, 27 April 2014

The Book List - April 2014

This month I've read:

  • Malory Towers
One or two of the Enid Blyton based Malory Towers books (the latter six are actually authored by Pamela Cox making an extended series of twelve books) that I have enjoyed reading with James during nursing sessions since Christmas. We are almost through the penultimate book and I know there will be tears from James as we finish his beloved "Darrell" books, so-named for the central character of the original six books.
The series (aimed at the 10-15 female reader) was a favourite of mine from childhood and one I have loved revisiting. The stories focus on Darrell Rivers and then her younger sister Felicity as they make their way up, through an all-girls boarding school on the Cornish coast. It is a world of manners, respect for elders, phrases such as "jolly good" and "play up," matrons, sports, darning and playing tricks on unsuspecting teachers. You walk with the characters as they learn lessons, persevere through difficulties, overcome, become better people and all without the intrusion of technology as the girls enjoy reading, country walks and the odd sneaky midnight feast.
We should complete our current Malory Towers book by the end of the month and I'm looking forward to revisiting the Katy Did books with James as our next read aloud, following the reading of the final Malory Towers volume.

  • Funscreen (free e-book, Craig A. Falconer)
A short easy dystopian read in the style of "1984" released as an enticement to draw you in to buy the paid for e-book "Sycamore." It worked! I bought "Sycamore" this morning.

  • Colony Z: The Island (Book 1/4, free e-book, Luke Shephard)
As with "Funscreen" this was free as an enticement to buy the rest of the series and again I did. This was another shorter than usual read but the characters were well developed. The zombie apocalypse storyline, which had left the central small colony living in isolation was an interesting plot rather than just the gory violence it could so easily have been.

  • Ready or Not (Aggie' Inheritance Series, free at the time e-book, Chautona Havig)
I had already read Advent (also a free e-book) and my sister and Mama said this series was excellent so with my arm easily twisted I devoured this book on holiday last week and have purchased the two others in the series ("For Keeps" and "Here We Come"). It is the story of Aggie a just graduated twenty-two year old who has inherited her seven nieces and nephews following the death of her much-beloved ten years older sister and brother-in-law. It is a story of great faith and reliance on God and Christian community as much as it is a humorous tale of inherited rambunctious children.

There may have been more I read but these are all that spring to mind. The plan for the rest of the month (all four days) is finish the penulatimate to knuckle under with my borrowed book on weaning (more details in May's book list which I'll put up on the first).

Thirst - Skincare

I've hydrated within both physically (drinking water) and spiritually (reading the Bible), and will seek to continue these good habits, but now it's time to hydrate the exterior.

Today I will:
  • shower, shave and shampoo (the triple threat indeed),
  • cleanse, tone and moisturise my face and neck
  • sugar scrub my hands and apply hand lotion,
  • pamper my skin all over with body lotion and
  • apply night cream before bed.
I could really push the boat out and add "apply make-up and straighten hair," but let's not get carried away now :)

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Thirst - Living Water

Yesterday I drank two litres of water and I'll seek to continue that habit as I continue but today I need to bathe myself in the Word.

Since the arrival of James my prayer life has improved greatly, though it is all too often focused on "Dear God, please help me to have a good night's sleep," since insomnia and an active toddler are a hateful mix. Personal Bible study has not fared as favourably and I want to revisit Ephesians as I turn this leaf.

Today I will read my Bible and learn of the Father.

Friday, 25 April 2014

7 Quick Takes (7QT) - The Leaf Turns

Here are my seven themes for change as I look ahead:

1. Thirst

Seeking to satisfy both physical and spiritual thirst by hydrating body and soul i.e. drinking water and moisturising but most importantly of all bathing my spirit in the Bible.

2. Removing

Removing obstacles to my goals such as visual clutter (both mess/piles and electronic distractions), temptations (sweets, chocolate because if they're accessible I will eat them) and my critical spirit (replacing this with one of thanksgiving and gratitude).

3. Adding

Adding greater industry (and movement/exercise) to my days, joy to my hours, sleep (I hope) to my nights and socialising (especially hospitality) to my life.

4. Mindfulness

Being more mindful of others (and to how I could better serve them), my actions and words, how I spend (or waste) my time, which activities add to my life/energy/vitality/mood or detract thereof and what I should adjust accordingly.

5. Gentleness

Treating my family (and everyone else) more gently with my words and actions and striving to be more gentle with myself when depression/low concentration/inertia hits.

6. Hunger

Feeding my hunger for greater knowledge of God, the world and everything in it (and making the time to read and return to my Scripture memory work), greater organisation, for change in myself and for success in my vocation as a SAHM. Also allowing myself to feel hunger as I seek to reduce my caloric intake and eat to live not live to eat.

7. Do

I am a great list maker, a good planner and a big dreamer but a terrible doer. Fear of failure and having perfectionist OCD quality control as an enemy of done and good enough with an added side of inertia/fatigue/anxiety from my depression leads to a whole heap of to do list that aren't done. So I will do and be done and stop holding back (I hope).

All these with much prayer and trepidation and only in the Father's strength: "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Now go check out Jen @ Conversion Diary and her fabulous ideas for #SOTG book launch giveaways - I've commented, suggesting the duster slippers or babygros/rompers/onesies for cleaning floors the lazy easy way. Can't wait to read the book (Something Other Than God) Jen!


Thirst - Water

I realise as I re-read my "beginning" that my attitude is one of someone defeated, beaten before I've begun, you see there have been so many new beginnings, new leaves, already and so I do feel deflated, but I press on...

To help counteract my defeatist attitude I shall begin with a baby step, a small goal easily achieved, a box that can be ticked.

Today I shall drink two litres of water and be refreshed.

Praise the Lord for the blessing of clean water and the ability to hydrate as I feel the need. I say this with such zeal as my depressive lack of vitality and care for myself can often leave me thirsting with only a short walk to the kitchen required to satisfy this thirst (and sometimes only the need to reach out for the drink beside me). In truth of course my thirst runs so much deeper, I need to drink more from that fountain of God's grace and be refreshed eternally in the living waters of his mercies, new each morning praise be to God.

With all this in mind, the theme of my first few challenges will be thirst, quenching the needs of body and soul but for today body takes preference and tap water will fit the bill.

Beginning Again (and again and again)

The leaf turns over and over, again and again with new challenges I've set myself, new and improved goals to achieve, new routines, schedules, to-do lists that will be done. Ought to be done... but often aren't.

My name is Grainne - gronya - for those unfamiliar with Irish ;) I am an almost thirty-two year old evangelical Bible-believing gentile Judeo-Christian. Wife to Russ (37-and-a-half) and attachment parenting SAHM to James (2-and-5-months).

Wow that's a lot of pigeon-holes/boxes to tick, let's add non-birth-control-using, still breastfeeding (though planning to begin a very gentle weaning process at the official 2-and-a-half birthday), partly co-sleeping, struggling with depression, obese and very unfit, insomniac, blog-addicted, junk food/sugar addict and telly addict. The boxes vary on the good/bad/weird scale.

Let's see now, I love to organise but not maintain systems, I'm quite extreme, all or nothing and not so good at moderation alas. I am a clutterbug and am learning to like that about myself as I unearth treasures of my youth to enjoy once again. I long to be practical, know my whereabouts and demonstrate a modicum of common sense but continue to be handless (clumsy and non-dexterous), geographically challenged (within my own locale, my actual world geography knowledge/trivia is fairly good) and fairly insensible at times (brains but no common sense is the familiar phrase used to describe me).

I strive always to learn and grow and enjoy knowledge acquisition, quizzes, interesting debate and conversation, documentaries, reading, writing, crafts (though my ability is questionable), decorating seasonally, singing (poorly at best but with great gusto and my biggest fan James requests "more wongs" constantly).

My great love of children's literature has been passed down to my son who leafs through book after book and inveigles his way onto many a visitor's knee with storybook after storybook. Words are a passion, I love how they feel as you speak them - melancholy, arbitration, philatelist, lexicographical, phenomenon and fallacy are the ones that spring to mind but that list has changed already.

I love to people watch, especially my husband and son as they laugh and play, giggle and read together. I love to hear them chatter to each other.

I love my bed and sleep and lie-ins and quiet, middle-of-the-night-expeditions through the rabbit holes of the internet as my beloved and my baby sleep alongside me. I do however wish I could join them in semi-consciousness.

I want to be greener, more outdoorsy, healthy (thinner and fitter), better at managing my emotions, household chores, and time. I'd prefer if I didn't eat my feelings and if I liked to exercise instead of nap. I'd like to be better and do better but the leaf is turned over and over again and perhaps this will be the time the changes stick or perhaps not and then I'll need to start again.

We shall see; in the meantime, once again, the leaf turns...