Wednesday, 27 February 2008

My Life in a Nutshell - February

An interesting little insight into my daily thoughts over the last month or so, courtesy of Facebook... Anyone out there as addicted as I am??
(NB: Please scroll down for WW!)
January 8
Rachel is so used to starting her profile updates with 'is' that she can't even make up any other kind of sentence anymore!! That's brainwashing for you

Rachel has been overdoing it and is suffering from a migraine :o(
January 10
Rachel has no more migraine and so is off exercising again!!
January 18
Rachel has just heard an almighty crash coming from Ben's bedroom - and is wondering whether to go & investigate.
January 21
Rachel isn't feeling so great today.
January 22
Rachel has just come back from a step class and a walk in the countryside.
January 25
Rachel loves that Sam has got so into Star Wars!!
January 26
Rachel feels sleepy, oh so sleepy. And would like some cake.
January 29
Rachel is getting baptised on Sunday!!!!! Yippeeeee!!
January 31
Rachel can't wait to get baptised, but is really quite nervous.
February 4
Rachel loves God and is in awe of His love for her!!

Rachel needs to get some sleep. Quick. Rachel is still up for crying out loud!!
February 6
Rachel is bursting with energy and joy, in spite of having just endured the mother of all migraines. It's pretty much over now, but an early night is in order.
February 7
Rachel feels totally wrecked and is about to go up for a nap.

Rachel is wondering when Ben might go to sleep and also how long it'll take to sort out the washing this time.
February 11
Rachel is delighted with her new iPod shuffle - but it's SO tiny she fears it might get lost too easily!
February 14
Rachel is feeling yukky: bunged up, fed up with the kids, and wanting to hide under a duvet for the next 24 hours.
February 15
Rachel needs to get the vacuum out but really can't be bothered
February 16
Rachel is eating blood oranges like there's no tomorrow.
February 17
Rachel was really hoping the blood oranges would help but right now there's no chance they would even stay in there long enough to have an effect on her immune system.
February 18
Rachel has made it through the first morning of the first day of half term.
February 19
Rachel is having a lovely day and having lots of 'me' time thanks to lovely Miss Wright.

Rachel is gonna watch a freaky programme about a little girl with 8 limbs.
February 22
Rachel is looking forward to meeting Debs - at last. But first to the gym for a bit of a kick up the backside.
February 23
Rachel does not like Saturdays at home.

Rachel is coughing and hoping it's not tonsilitis.
February 24
Rachel can't even sing right now, but if she could she would sound pretty darn sexy; there's got to be some perks to having a sore throat!
February 25
Rachel longing for the kids to be in bed, for a little workout at the gym and then a nice glass of red wine.

Rachel is having a fit of the giggles. Because of Debz. Innit.
Yesterday
Rachel is feeling awful, in every way.
Today
Rachel has been awake for the last hour and a half. Rubbish. (NB: it was 5.01 am!)

Rachel feels a bit more human this morning, enough to go running for a bit. Gotta make the most of that sun!
Rachel is hungry but really doesn't feel like eating anything. Any suggestions?!?!??

Rachel feels loved.

Monday, 25 February 2008

Eyes Ever on the Lord


Every day I see more of your beauty
Every day I know more of my frailty, Lord
And I can only hope that I'll be changed
Even as I look upon your face

For the eyes of my heart
They're on you forever

They're on you forever
Yes, the eyes of my heart
They're on you forever
They're on you forever

Everyday I see more of your greatness
Everyday I know more of my weakness, Lord
And I can only hope that I'll be changed
Even as I look upon your face

Jesus I'm in love with you,
JesusI'm in love with you
Jesus

(Tim Hughes - The Eyes of my Heart from 'Here I Am to Worship')

Through the testing this song speaks to my heart, and the psalm which inspired it. I am being pulled in every direction, and my emotions are all over the place. Yet one thing that never changes, is that my Jesus is for me, my rock in the storm, my constant, faithful Saviour.

"My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare. (...) Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. (...) May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you." (Psalm 25v15-21)

Too bizarrre. Totally pointless. But quite funny??...

Erm. Have a look at this. Just for a laugh. C'mon, you know you want to. Then have a laugh at yourself too... Just in case you're bored you understand... Innit.

Excellent blogs

A new blogging-friend, who incidentally is a fellow Brit, has awarded me this award. Thanks Maddy!!

I have to say that in typical Brit fashion, I find it really hard to accept compliments, and instead am so quick to come up with pathetic comments such as, "my, I really don't deserve this!", or,"Excellent?? Where on earth do you see excellence here??" - and all the while, I am secretly, and rather hypocritically thinking,"why, I quite agree, I think my blog's really good! Well, I like it anyway... I've been wondering when I would get awarded one of these..." - Isn't that awful?? Do you think like that?? Or is it just me??

Anyway I know many many bloggers out there who are at least as deserving as me to receive this award. So here goes...

Miriam, it's about time someone gave you some recognition for this amazing and indeed excellent blog of yours... Living Fragrance is a beautiful, sweet, restful place to visit; it's full of gentleness and grace, stunningly 'arty' photos, and its author is a mother of 4 whose humility and love reflect the heart of God in an exceptional way and inspire me time after time.

Elise is another one of these godly women whose thoughts never fail to bring me back to what really matters; her use of language is incredibly skilled and every post is beautiful and poetic, yet so so real! I love the way you share you heart, dear friend, and your grace and gentleness are ministering to many who read your blog.

Ellen's blog is another one of those soothing places; it is beautiful both visually and in content and I always come away from a visit there feeling uplifted and better about the world and myself!

Cecily at My Chaos My Bliss is the most amazing story-teller, and the unashamedly hilarious accounts of her daily adventures and mishaps have had me in stiches many many times... Do pay her a visit for a big dose of perspective, especially if you think your day can't get any worse!!

Finally, you have GOT to go visit Braska Bear. This is one special little person, and she will melt your heart. This post in particular made me chuckle, and I was still chuckling long after I'd finished reading it!

So. That's it. For now... There are so many more excellent blogs out there. But part of the fun of blogging is discovering them for yourself. So go on, take a little stroll through the blogosphere; then share what you find. And E.N.J.O.Y...!!

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Debs

Lovely Debs came to visit us on Friday!! Here's to prove it...We had a fantastic time together, and the boys had such fun showing off to someone new. There is something really special about meeting someone who you've already 'met' online, and who you know you 'click' with. We bypassed all the chit-chat and spent all day conversing like old friends. Considering I hate chit-chat, I am so grateful for that :) It was a great priviledge, Debs, and I look forward to spending more time with you - you know where we are...
There are so many of you out there that I'd love to meet in person too, and I am hoping to 'tour' the US one day, to visit each and every one of you!! So brace yourselves ;)
But meanwhile, please share your stories of meeting other bloggers, it would be so good to hear what it was like for you. For Debs and I, it was so much fun, and felt like the most normal thing in the world.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Testing testing...

After His baptism, Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness and fasted. He was tested, tempted, tormented by the Devil; every weakness was tested, and He was found blameless. He fought temptation by standing on the Word of God, knowing exactly which scripture was needed to rebuke Satan's schemes, and the Devil left, defeated. (see Luke 4v1-13 )

So I guess it is no wonder that I am enduring a similar treatment... Since my baptism, it would be fair to say that I have been pretty amazed by Satan's craftiness! He seems to be aware of weaknesses in me that even I didn't know were there. I am being thoroughly tested - and, my, is there a battle raging over me: my mind, my emotions, my relationships, my marriage, my family, my 'domain'!! I've never experienced anything quite like this...

And so I am learning from my Master. To withdraw every day, to study His Word and to stand on it, to fight with my armour on (see Ephesians 6v10-18) and to 'not give the devil a foothold'. This last bit is one of the most difficult parts for me; so much wisdom is needed here, to know when and how I might be giving the devil a foothold. But God is graciously, patiently leading me into all truth, and I know this time of testing is foundational in many way. I will emerge stronger, as I have in the past, and God's power will be released through me in a greater way because of this. Meanwhile I cling to my Rock, and stand on His truths and promises for me...

"No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it". (1 Corinthians 10v13)

"When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze". (Isaiah 43v2)

Amen!!

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Constant Sunshine...

...has a new post! My Thomas is 'talking' about his new bedroom! And I, meanwhile, am going to bed to count some sheep.

Wordless Wednesday - Friendship

(photo taken in Sam's first year at pre-school, S is 3 and T is just 1. It is one of my favourite photos of all times)

Monday, 11 February 2008

7 Random Things About Me

Lovely Michelle, Elliot's Mama, has tagged me (I guess it's payback time, right?!) for this 'meme'. Second one in a month - hope you guys don't mind, I do quite like talking about myself *silly grin* - but I do hope it's not too much of a bore for you to read.

1. I often surprise people by how 'crazy' I am, because I come across as quite sensible most of the time. I'm also kind of dippy, clumsy and scatty which (I hope) makes me at least a little bit irritating endearing.

2. I am utterly fluent in French. I lived in France from 1979 to 1992, and my mother is French; I guess that explains a lot ;) In France, people wouldn't know that I'm 100% fluent in English, with no hint of an accent (well...there is maybe a ridiculously tiny hint of one when I'm tired - or angry). However, I am utterly incapable of either counting at a normal speed in English, or of reciting the alphabet/ months of the year/ days of the week in English!!

3. I totally HATE getting my socks wet, so I always wear slippers around the house.

4. I sing in one of the church worship bands (there are 3). People say I have a good voice...I would love to record some stuff in a proper studio. Not to be famous, but to have some fun and be stretched.

5. I cannot stand changing duvet covers, especially the big ones. I have been known to cry in frustration when changing a duvet cover. How embarassing is that??!

6. I can run extremely fast! Not for long periods of time, but in short bursts. I used to beat all the fastest boys at primary school, to their disbelief - lol!

7. I am a very emotional, feeling-driven person, and yet I seldom cry. When I do cry it can go on for hours, and so I guess I sometimes choose to keep a lid on the tears, so that I don't end up looking like a puffed-up frog on drugs.

There, I enjoyed that!! I now tag RK (unless someone beat me to it and you are tagged already), Jessica, Melissa, and Ellen

Sunday, 3 February 2008

Baptism

I was baptised tonight!!

Remember the post I wrote about controversy and confidence? It was written partly with this event in mind. Being baptised by full immersion was something I have wanted to do for a very long time, and have finally 'plucked up' the courage to do what I knew might upset one or two people.

And I feel phenomenal and incredibly blessed and empowered, and like a new chapter of my adventure with God has begun, one where there will be more risks taken, more radical living, more passion for Jesus. I am very excited :o) What a happy, wonderful day!
Here is my testimony which you are very welcome to read through and comment on - or not as the case may be! It is, after all, my public declaration of faith.


TESTIMONY (03.02.2008)

I was brought up by Christian parents and there has never been a time in my life when I haven’t believed in God. But for a long time my faith didn’t really affect the way I lived, it was more ‘head knowledge‘ than a matter of the heart. I was baptised and confirmed in France when I was 14, in the Church of England. But looking back, as an adult, that baptism was great but not complete for me. It was a sprinkling of water on the forehead, and (for me) more a symbol of belonging to the church and its community than a symbol of belonging to Jesus Christ and a family of believers. For the last 16 years I have been asking myself, and asking God, whether it would be acceptable to be baptised again by ‘full immersion’. I have longed to ‘go for it’ but I’ve never had the guts to do something which would be seen as quite controversial by some people!

But I’m finally ’going for it’ because I can finally see that this is something God has been asking me to do for a long time; and so tonight I am being baptised from top to toe!!

I want to do this to make a public statement of faith. This baptism is symbolic of what Jesus Christ has done in my life: By His death on the cross He has wiped away all the rubbish I’ve ever done, said or thought. On the cross Jesus carried all my sins and so I‘m free from my past, and I‘m completely forgiven for everything I‘ve ever done, and will ever do. He has made me clean, and has made it possible for me to be friends with God, and even more than that: to be His child forever! And the fact that He didn’t stay dead, but rose from the dead, means that I will never die but live with Him forever, because He‘s alive himself.

I’m being baptised tonight also as a symbol that I have surrendered my life completely and wholeheartedly to Him. I belong to Him. My life is not mine, but God‘s; I want to acknowledge that Jesus Christ lives in me by his Holy Spirit, that He’s my Lord, and that I will always love Him, and follow Him. I believe that His presence in my life is the only option, and that it makes me whole. Without Him I’m nothing…

The last 7 or 8 years have been pretty rocky, sometimes unbearably difficult. I had a precious sister who was 2 years younger than me. We were very different but extremely close… She died very suddenly 7 years ago. I miss her dreadfully and her death has had a massive impact on me; I have suffered from depression on and off ever since. But one thing it hasn’t done is made me question God’s existence or His love for me. I have no doubt that my little sister is alive and well, and I’m full of hope that I’ll see her again soon; I have also no doubt that it was the right time for her to leave this life and to go and be with God, whom she adored. Knowing this gives me incredible peace.

So her death has actually made me grow more in love with God and has caused me to believe in Him even more than before, and to want every day to be significant and not wasted, and to be lived for Him.

As many of you know, we have 3 little boys. But as well as the joys of parenting we have had many challenges thrown in for good measure: miscarriage, difficult pregnancies and births, a child with Down’s Syndrome, and another with ADHD; countless stays in hospital, including one heart operation on a 3 month old baby… I could go on!

My point is that life is not a walk in the park; and yet I know that as I spend time with God, I am becoming closer to Him day by day. I am more and more full of joy, of peace, of purpose, of love for God and for others. The more I know God, the more I understand that I’m OK just as I am, but that I also need to and want to be changed to become more like Jesus. He’s the one I run to when things get tough, and I can also go to Him every time I mess up because He doesn’t condemn or accuse me and His forgiveness has no limits.

This baptism is a symbol of my life being made completely new by my faith in Jesus Christ, and a sign of my wholehearted commitment to Him. My life belongs to Him forever and I’m unbelievably grateful! I am completely, unreservedly His.

I would just like to add, to finish, that God wants everyone He created to belong to Him. He made us to be His children, that’s why we’re here, first and foremost. It’s not some random act of nature, we are no accident!! And God doesn’t want anyone to be separate from Him but we have the choice to either say ‘yes’ to Him or to decide to stay separate from Him…

My life is SO MUCH BETTER because of my relationship with God. It’s amazing how much He has transformed all the things in me that were ugly, dark, or not right and He is still very much working in me every day. And all I would say to you, if you don’t believe or are not sure, is what I would say to one of my kids if they tell me they don’t like strawberries or green beans: at least taste it before you make a decision! How are you going to know that it really is good unless you give it a try?? This is what it says in the Bible: “Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him”. Makes sense really…