Why you should travel | 2018

I recently went to Romania for a short break and after reflecting on the places we went to and the things we saw. I came to the obvious conclusion that everyone should travel. Now while I still have many more countries to visit this last place definitely opened my eyes to a different style of living. If you get the opportunity to travel I strongly encourage you to and here’s a list to why

Character and confidence 

Survival of the fittest. If ever there was a way to see how strong you really are, not just physically but mentally and socially – travel. Being able to thrive in new environments requires a different kind of confidence. It’s a great way to learn how to socialise with new people especially where language is a barrier. It teaches you how tolerant/ intolerant you are of others and vice versa which is a great opportunity for growth and understanding. Which leads me to the next point.

Learn a new language

I’ve always been taught – the best way to learn a new language is to surround yourself with those who speak it.  Extra brownie points if you actually visit the country of interest. Being in a different location forces you to learn phrases not only to help you get around but to also get to know the people around you. You’ll be surprised how much people appreciate it when you at least try to speak in their language and not just assume everyone speaks in English. You’ll also find that if you do – strangers are more willing to help than not.

Peace of mind

We are often surrounded with so much noise and distraction with the pressures and stresses from work, family or friends. It can be very easy to get lost in everything and forget the importance of savouring a few moments to yourself. Just to clear your mind, re-calibrate and refocus on what you are doing. Being in a different space really helps – it doesn’t even have to be a different country – but a new environment in unknown land has a calming effect on the mind. Bonus points if you put away your phones disconnecting in order to reconnect. It really is refreshing.

Expand your horizon

A lot of miss communication happens because of a lack of understanding and ignorance. Be it culture, background or general life experience. Being in a new environment not only exposes you to different ways of living. But often is a great reminder to how blessed you are back at home. It’s a blessing to be able to walk in someone else’s shoes and see life from their perspective – no matter how short the trip. It also opens you up to different opportunities you may not have  been privy to before.

Learn to be present

Being in unfamiliar territory and foreign grounds has a way of commanding your attention – forcing you to be present in the moment. Not just for your own security but to enjoy the new sounds, culture and lifestyle in front of you. There are so many breath taking views to be found – great source for inspiration.

Experiencing new foods!

Save the best for last! If ever there is a reason for me to go somewhere – this would be it. I don’t mind (within reason) where you take me. But if food will be there – so will I. Travelling is a great way to learn and expose yourself to new culinary skills and taste’s. A way to learn what you definitely don’t like and what you have been missing the entire time. If you are able to, ask the locals for their recipes – it’s the best kind of souvenir to take home.

KidsOut “Trolley Dash”

KidsOut is a charity who give disadvantaged children positive experiences to support them becoming future members of our society and workforce.

Last week I had the pleasure and opportunity to be involved in one of their annual “TrolleyDash” events held at the London Olympia exhibition centre. This is part of the British Toy and Hobby Association Toy Fair. I went along with a few other volunteers from Enterprise.

The idea behind the trolley dash is to collect as many toys as possible donated by the exhibitors. The toy box concept started in 2008 and this year over four thousand toys were collected and are now being prepared for distribution to refugee homes around the UK – such a great result.

Each year as many as 20,000 children flee domestic abuse to seek sanctuary in refuge. Typically leaving home with only the clothes on their back, these children have experienced physical, emotional, and even sexual abuse and arrive at refuge with nothing. Having escaped the abuse for the safety of a refuge for anywhere between 6-12 months, roughly 4,000 of these children and their mothers are then relocated to a new home to start again.

 

Moving into a new community can be particularly tough for children, especially when they have already left their school, friends and possessions behind. With the mothers’ attention and resources typically focused on acquiring basic necessities for the new home, purchasing toys and going on Fun Days out are often way down the list. To ease the anxiety of moving, KidsOut sends each child their very own box of toys, welcoming them to their new lives.

 

For more info or if you would like to get involved visit:

http://www.kidsout.org.uk/toy-fair-2017/ 

12 Lessons of 2017

People will always say you are too young if you are younger than them

We are just over halfway through the month now and I’ve already heard rumours that some of you are already ready to restart the year. The “new year new me” adrenaline tends to start burning out around this time if you’ve hit the ground running without the necessary preparation. It’s always good to reflect on what we’ve learnt as a reminder of what we have gone through and where we want to go. So with that said, here are a few nuggets 2017 left me with:

  • You cannot deal with a problem you refuse to recognise
  • Tell your business to people who will help you pray about your business
  • To people who say things like ‘I pray God blesses you with twins’ – Don’t wish things for people that you aren’t ready to help them out with
  • You don’t have to explain yourself; you out grow people and that is okay
  • If people see you as ‘the same person’ – have you really grown? Change is good and beneficial for development
  • After school/ university you realise how many people you were friends with out of convenience
  • ‘Most people are hungry but won’t cook’ – it is no one else’s responsibility to make sure you become a success
  • You cannot love God and dishonour your temple (body)
  • ‘Lips that can wake a dead corpse and then nag it back to death again’ – know when to speak and when to be silent. The wisest people don’t say a lot
  • Christ is your driving wheel – not your spare wheel
  • There are some things that don’t need prayer – they just need discipline

The C word

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation…

In life we aren’t always eating gourmet food nor are we constantly in a bubble of excitement. Life can be very raw sometimes. But even in that we were called to be content in every and any situation.

That can be difficult considering we live in a materialistic driven society which often creates an environment for discontentment, envy and ungratefulness.

Philippians 4:12: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

I love the testimony of Paul in the word and how God taught and cultivated a life of contentment in him through his experiences.

How many of you have been through some stuff? Like you’ve really gone through the forrest that is sometimes life. And can say in everything you’re able to find that joy and that peace in what you have, who you’re with and where you are at in life in that moment.

Whether you have or you are in want being able to be content and faithful in the great or small that you have is a blessing.

The beauty is once you are able to do that it becomes much easier to celebrate others. I’m talking genuine happiness for someone else’s achievement or success. Not the bitter smiles through gritted teeth we have all at some point been faced with.

If you haven’t reached that point yet, don’t be disheartened. Instead let that be your aim this February. The goals didn’t end in January – it’s a decision to actively think a certain way the whole year.

It’s all about perspective.

Ladies Let’s Get Information

No you did not misread the title, if you caught on to the song reference above. Let’s get information.

There is no point forming around that which you do not know or understand. This is applicable to the gents too if not more so.

There has been a lot of estrogen flying around lately and I thought to add two cents of my own.

Women I need you to know – you are enough. You were not made to be a man so stop striving to be like them but focus on what you were made to do.

We harness so much strength as women and when we embrace it we are unstoppable. Our differences don’t make us weaker they make us unique.

Strive to be intelligent, continue to develop your strengths and build up your weaknesses. Hone your craft and refuse to be ignorant. Celebrate your female form, you were made by God – God makes good things so girl – know that you’re good!

Support your fellow queens and fix each other’s crowns.

Men I need you to know (coming from a biblical point of view here) women may have been made second – but we should never be treated as second choice. God did not create us as an afterthought.

We were a solution to a problem you didn’t even know you had. Isn’t God amazing?

We were not created from dust or the ground. We were made from a rib. Fashioned out of something that serves the purpose of protection, support…

What I’m really trying to say is – if you want to breathe don’t suffocate a woman.

Side note: You would not be able to do a lot of basic movements with your body without the rib cage. Don’t take my word for it – ask your doctor, you can thank me later.

And to the brothers who were not offended by the above statements, please know this. There is nothing more attractive than a man who is secure within himself. Who is not intimidated by feminine competition – who is able to celebrate, support and lift up the ladies dear to him. Part of what shows you are a man is how you respond to women and their differences to you.

Men were created to be the head but we women operate as the neck. Women a neck supports, influences and with the right attitude moves the head.

Remember united we stand, divided we fall.

Now ladies, let’s get in formation 😉

Perception

When you change the way you look at things – the things you look at change.

I won’t lie, if you had asked me how I felt about a month or two ago I would have told you I was more than ready for 2016 to be over.

2016 has brought many highs, I passed my degree, started a graduate job, jumped out of a plane. I was literally on top of the world – all but for a moment it seemed.

Not long after my car was stolen, my job, certain friendship groups and even my personal relationship with God didn’t quite seem to be working out. I found myself in not the happiest of places. Despite this I was always reminded to be thankful in all that I had and that which I seemed to be losing.

It is very easy and I think most of you can relate here, that when things are going well. When you are making movements in areas of your life it is oh so easy to be thankful. But how many of us can say the same when things go bad? When things don’t quite go our way.

‘Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:18). ‘Easier said than done’ could not ring more true with this. My goodness it is difficult – having gratitude in the face of adversity – but there is such beauty in it.

Whether you believe in God or not, I think we can all agree that we would rather be surrounded by positive people with grateful hearts; than one who is quick to complain.

If you actively try to approach life with a positive outlook you will quickly find that the things you look at change. Usually for the better too.

The next time you wake up – before you grab your phone, take a moment to say out loud the five things you are grateful for. Your life for instance – many die every day but the fact that you are alive means God still has a purpose for you.

You’ll find that small acts like this quickly cultivate a life filled with gratitude. You might even find yourself feeling more at peace.

Time waits for no man

You cannot climb up a ladder without first moving your leg. Get into the habit of doing things now!

Slouching further into the couch or pressing that snooze button one last time often leaves us behind in life. Personal progression is often slowed down or brought to a standstill where procrastination is allowed to thrive. Excellence comes with hard work.

I came to the quick realisation that if I was going to make a success of my life; the only person to make that happen was me. Anything I wanted to happen in my life was dependant on my ability, my drive and how hard I was willing to work (in Christ of course). I saw that through passing my driving test, my degree and securing my first job. The goals however do not end there.

I had been planning on making improvements in certain areas of my life – this blog being one of them (I’ll let you be the judge on how well that goes). And while thinking about what to do, parts of me almost fell into the typical ‘I’ll wait till next year, it will be my new year’s resolution – top of the prayer list, amen thank you Lord.

But I ask, why wait?

A lot of the time it is due to fear. Fear of failing, fear of not being the best or just falling flat on your face. We often try to plan things for months on end in trying to avoid this.

That is all fair and well but for how long will you plan for? It is not about how fast you go but about whether or not you are actually moving. Think about it.

Yes let us plan and prepare for the things we want to do. But do not fear stepping out in faith on that idea you’ve had or the vision you have for your life.

Most people who we look up to in society didn’t get to where they are by having all the knowledge needed at the start. They began with the little they had.

It is a work in progress – you cannot climb up a ladder without first moving your leg. It may be painful but nothing worthwhile is easy – and nothing easy is worthwhile.

Lessons from 2016

 

Lessons from 2016

  1. Failure is merely an opportunity to grow
  2. Your attitude to a situation determines what you get from it
  3. Hard work pays off but it means nothing if you don’t work hard to keep it
  4. Not everyone is your friend
  5. Be comfortable being in your own company
  6. Less is always more
  7. Be honest with yourself. Sometimes it really is you – not them
  8. Comparison is never productive
  9. You are enough
  10. Most importantly: Knowing and finding your identity in Christ is key to growth in any area of your life

Approaching the end of a year is always a great time for self- reflection. Looking back on your success and failure allows you to assess where change is needed and to identify and appreciate the good things you are doing. It is a great habit to get in to but one we often neglect the whole year till we see a new one approaching.

Here’s to starting as you mean to go on.

What things have you learnt from 2016? Comment below on what you’ll be leaving behind and the lessons you are taking into 2017.

What to Prioritise and How – 2 0 1 7

A lot of the time we enter into a new year having decided to make certain changes and we base our prayer life around the lists we make. We start with our wants, our needs and at the end thank God for listening and for being faithful – not in regards to His character but for faithfully ticking the items on our list.

I was past that this year, I’ve come to a confident realisation that God is an all knowing God. You cannot give instructions to the Creator. Now while that may seem obvious to some, we as humans can be very stubborn. It can take a series of events and observations for this truth to sink into ones minds. Even then, you can acknowledge a certain truth but it has no effect until you accept it for what it is.

In my case, that particular truth was that God knows what He made, why He did so and for what purpose. So I focused my prayer on thanking Him for who He is; what He has done, does and will continue to do. A mouthful I know but He already knows what I need so my focus wasn’t on telling him; but simply thanking Him.

Doing this makes such a difference.

Honestly when your approach is not a ready prepared list with a marker pen in hand to tick them off – He’ll surprise you in ways unimaginable. Think of it like this, we all have had that one friend who only gets in touch when they need something – it’s whack and if you’re wise you cut that person off very quickly. But we do this with God all too often. And He’s not the kinda ‘guy’ you would want to be cut off from.

My encouragement when it comes to priorities – be intentional. Be intentional with God the same way you are intentional with eating food everyday and turning up to work on time.  We all enjoy feeling full and seeing those numbers on pay day. So why not do the same for the one who gave up His Sons own life so you could keep and experience yours the way He originally intended.

Make His word yours. Instead of browsing – actually read. Not to mention marking out days to fast on your own. Fasting is simply away to allow your spirit to focus more on God without the distractions that food and technology for example can bring. I know – the food babies are nice but you can’t be pregnant all year round; and you phone has to charge at some point right?

Being more focused in prayer. Ever have a friend who repeats the same stories to you, never actually thinking of the words that are coming out of their mouth? Repetitive monologues? Let’s not be that person. Actively consider and put meaning behind your words. It’s like talking to your mum or dad – only it’s to your Father in Heaven. (It may sound very primary and basic but it really is all that simple).

Yes corporate worship and prayer and fasting are a lot easier when you have the support in numbers. But when you are able to do this alone, in your own space it really is an empowering experience. It strengthens your walk knowing that you don’t need anyone to push you in order for you to look for God or spend time in His presence.

These are just a few ways I began to build a stronger relationship, by putting certain things first and others to the side. The things that came after were simply extra blessings. So this year, take some time out! Forget about your lists, and just thank God for what He’s already done. If you are not sure how to and this is something new to you, start of with three things you can think of. You’ll be surprised how many more things will come to mind.

Just some scriptures I found to be great encouragement:

Colossians 3: 15

Jeremiah 29: 11

Matthew 11: 28