Lessons from an L Shaped Hallway

This post written for Women Connect. You can read more about that here .

“the in-between place is still a place” Christie Purifoy 

I read these words a few weeks ago now and as sometimes happens with words that strike a chord, they’ve stayed with me.

They made me think of my narrow L shaped hallway.

IMG_8553Its an in-between place.

In between the living areas of the house and more business end of the house.  I charge down this hallway arms full on one mission or another day in and day out. Another towel being delivered to the bathroom because no one in this house remembers to take a towel with them to the shower. Or on my way to the laundry, another load of clothes to go in or come out or be hung up, sometimes all three. School uniforms to be ironed, hair to be washed, a bath to be filled. Always something.

Theres the familiar give in one tiny section of the floor where a board has cracked that my feet always seem to find. Dust collects along the skirting boards and gathers in corners and seems on a mission as well – to constantly collect in great heaps just to taunt me. Swishing a mop along those edges right up to the front door feels like a victory in itself but that dust  – it has a way of finding its way back.

 

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I wonder how many miles I do in a day,  early morning, late at night, up and down – how many do we all do –  feeling like we’re getting no where fast

And yep a  lot of life is lived in in-between places. Not where we were but not where we want to be either. Between what was and the place our hearts compass has us pointed – the longed for job, the house finished, our goal weight, the debt paid off, something to come or something to go, a big break, a move, a healing,  an answer.

And a couple of things can happen.

We can either be in one heck of a rush to put some space between where we are now and where we want to be or we get a lost in the throws of the everyday hard work,  the up and down of the same hallways, the in and out, the dust piling up again and lose sight of where we are headed. Drowning not waving.

Either way the difference its the same – we can miss  the gift that is the “right now”, we can miss the unique shape and rise and fall of it, we can miss what it might tell us and teach us, we might even miss its beauty.

And I get it  “right here” might not be where you thought you would be because you know as well as I that  life can’t be trusted to stay the same or to do whats its told. Right now  might feel about as  bent out of shape as it can get with so many “not yets” and “what ifs”, with so many questions and so much waiting –  that somedays we might wonder whose life we are living because it sure doesn’t feel like ours.

Yet even in the in-between place are signs and signposts of the eternal running right beneath our fingertips, just below the surface of our daily work. They point the way , they remind us of who we are are and where we are going, they remind us  of the story God is writing with our lives right here, right now.

So I’ll tell you a few other things about my skinny hallway

Ken  calls it “the gallery” as a bit of a joke but space is short in my tiny house so each part has to play its part – even the most ordinary of parts. So its lined with paintings  – mostly the thrifted kind and mostly Australian landscapes  because I love a country landscape and they make me feel peaceful just looking at them. Photographs too – wedding photos and the cutest of the squishy faced baby photos some in ornate frames some in old vintage frames because I like the mix of the old and new and I love their little faces. I’ve positioned them all in groups so there is a “view”  as you come out of each door. Destinations for my eyes – like mini breaks and a diversion from the dust.IMG_8547IMG_8546In one corner theres nothing. A  hall table was there for a very long while and now that its  moved the clear space too is a relief for my eyes. No furniture to wash around, nothing in the way just clear uncluttered space.

On the walls theres maybe a 100 tiny nail holes  that have been made in the wrong place – evidence of my picture arranging and rearranging and arranging again and not measuring ever. I’d like to think I was more precise and methodical but the nail holes tell the real  story.

Theres a bookshelf  too – an ordinary looking bookshelf except that it isn’t. My father made it for me what must be 30 years ago now and its still standing strong despite its age. Me too I hope. It was pushed into the hallway just to get it out of the way and it seems like it was made for this space. A happy accident. Its narrow and tucks into the wall barely noticeable but its a spot to put a few nice things on and the extra storage goes a long way.IMG_1335IMG_1337It just so happens that it covers a hole in the wall too. That hole was first made by Ken years ago now. He hit it out sheer frustration when our boy Ethan 18 months old broke his leg for the second time in a year and it felt like our world was coming apart again.  Our only job to protect him and keep him safe and we couldn’t seem to do it. Ken patched the hole later and painted it over but a few years later it was opened up again. Exact same spot. This time by Ethan himself. His hand went through it running full pelt up the hallway playing chasies with a friend on his back. Yes a house full of kids, a birthday party I think, a rollicking good game being had and Ethan a force to be reckoned with. My heart full. I remember Ken being a bit annoyed at the time with the kids “wrecking the house” but truly that ship had sailed a while before and I reminded him, as good wives do why the wall was weak in that spot. I reminded him that Ethan running full pelt anywhere was our prayers of years ago answered, our dreams come true with his bones gaining strength all the time and him growing fast and big and strong. Yes even the things we think broken and gaping, the things we might choose to cover up carry messages of our redemption and are reminders of where God has shown up in our lives.

And in my rushing up and down that hallway I only have to catch a glimpse of those sweet little baby faces and I’m reminded oh this place is good and this life is good. My prayers were answered and I can believe they’ll continue to be answered. The questions and the frustrations and the overwhelm are real but they find there place smaller and less significant than they seemed before because life is a whole lot of dealing with the “bad” but look how glorious is the good.IMG_8549IMG_8548IMG_8550

“Even in the waiting, the listening, and the watching for what’s next, there is still so much right here”. Emily P Freeman

So much goodness, so much life, so much of our  story, so much of God,  more than we often see with our eyes or even touch with our hands.

Even narrow L shaped hallways can remind us of that  somedays

In an in between place:

  • Create some diversions from the dust – some mini breaks for your heart and soul. Make some room for the the things  you love and that make you feel better and more you just by doing them. Even in the smallest increments its like sunshine to our souls and help bring a measure of the peace and perspective we are yearning for.
  • Leave yourself a little blank space, lets call it breathing room. Just give yourself a minute now. Leave yourself some unscheduled time free of lists,  have to do’s, planning, scheming, scheduling or doing. Call it pondering, praying, doodling, staring into space or at the garden or out the window time  –  even just for the littlest of bits it works wonders.  “Choosing to leave practical things undone is a brave act of trust and relinquishment.  And relinquishment precedes the miracle”  Shelly Miller, Rhythms of Rest
  • Let the nail hole shows. Remember our mistakes tell our story as much as our victories. They’re signs we haven’t given up on ourselves or on our dreams or our destination. They’re signs that we are still trying and learning and giving things a shot. No shame there. “Lets not fear making a mess,  lets not fear broken things” Christie Purifoy
  • Celebrate  the “happy accidents” There is so much more good then we might think at first glance –  unexpected goodnesses that come our way by sheer grace –  not planned on, not worked for – just given. The company of a good friend, a good word, a sunset, a blue sky,  a last minute reprieve, ten minutes of silence – windfalls for the heart, just at the right time, in the right place.  They carry us further than we think. Easy to miss, easy to overlook if were not paying attention but “when things aren’t perfect, which is always, you have to choose what you are going to focus on” Myquillyn Smith
  • And finally  – look for the  handprint of God in your life, trace its lines, run your finger along the imprints left and see  how far you have come, see where He has been. Remember “right now” is part of the bigger story being crafted with your life.  Now that casts a better light, that brings some form and meaning and place to the present.  This place is for a reason so lets call it good.

“Surely the Lord is in this place and I wasn’t even aware of it” Genesis 28:16

Yes  God is found in these awkward in between places, in the cracks and crevices of our lives, in the places we feel stranded or squeezed in tight.  The very One who sent Jesus down low to the ground with a purpose,  to embrace us travellers still dusty and dirty from the road  “to steadfastly whisper, I’ve got you, keep going.”

xxx

 

Linking Up with #Porch Stories with Kristin Hill Taylor and Chasing Community with Brenda Bradford Ottinger and Tell His Story with Jennifer Dukes Lee

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The Things That Grow

This post written for Women Connect. You can find out all about that here .

www.waterintowineblog.com

You know I’m always amazed by what grows and what doesn’t grow in my garden. Wild and overgrown for the most part yet its a constant source of inspiration to me.

Not too long ago in my wandering around out there I pushed the tiniest tendril of a plant that had fallen off another plant into a pot. I planted it  with only a whisper of hope it might grow and then forget about it.

Another of my potted plants though got the best of my attention. I moved it into the best light and out of the wind, watered it and fussed over it and kept a close eye but it was having none of it – it shrivelled and died just the same. 

My forgotten little plant though while I was busy elsewhere had doubled its size and was growing lush and strong and lovely. 

Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well. Ecclesiastes 11:6

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We sow the seed, we pour the water, we think we know –  but the growth, the life – that magic isn’t ours.  

That part is Gods. 

And we can lament over whats not growing in our lives, throw ourselves prostrate trying to will something out of the ground that we are convinced should be growing but to no avail. And while our back is turned, in the place we least expect it,  is the growth and life and increase we are longing for.  Our prayers answered after all.

Ours to sow but its Gods to grow. 

Lets not miss what’s growing by fretting over whats not. 

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And April is as good a time as any to consider just that. We are four months in and the place we started in January may not be the place we find ourselves in now.  Things dreamed of and hoped for then may be scarce on the ground right now and disappointment is always tempting.

Gods timing is everything and His beats ours.  And goodness me He grows unexpected things in the unlikeliest of places.

www.waterintowineblog.com

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So whats growing for you right now 

Whats feels like a sweet stream coming up on the inside

Whats bringing you life 

Whats bringing you joy

Whats bringing you peace

Let’s take  in the fragrance and shape and feel of that.

Let’s take our fill of whats growing and be inspired by that 

The rest is God’s.

Love to you all today

Tracey xx

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 Linking up today with
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MMSpring2017

What I Found in February

“It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.”  Arthur Conan Doyle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Ahh February – more a month of endurance than discovery wouldn’t you agree?

By February the new year has worn itself in and even the most sensible of our new year ideals have most likely abandoned us entirely. The hard work of the year is staring us squarely in the eye and I have fits of wondering if my courage will fail me and if my will to keep showing up will throw in the towel.

The weather it gets to us I think. Regardless of where we live, by February’s end we’re all longing for change. For some of you the comforts of winter have well and truly worn thin and your willing spring to rise up on out of the hard ground and for life to show itself in the trees. Down this way we’ve had enough of the heat that’s about seared us through. And when its not scorching hot its belting down torrential rain. We’re longing for calmer more civilised days.

February falls into Ordinary time according to the church calendar and yes ordinary it’s felt.

“Why does February feel like one big Tuesday?”  Todd Stocker 

but lets not underestimate  Tuesday .

and given half a chance ordinary can shine

Even our most ordinary days have their beauties and comforts –  we just have to search that bit harder. Yes we commiserate and whinge and lick our wounds for a bit but then reason and hope somehow kick in and we look for what makes sense and search for what gives meaning. We breathe deep and make dinner and do the next right thing we know to do.

So while I’ve well and truly had a run in with the blahs this February there have been silent prayers answered in the most unexpected ways and  many a  good thing to light my way  – good finds all of them and in no particular order.

www.waterintowineblog.com

Now this is where I  usually share a good thrift store find  but nary a trip to the Op shop this month. After years of thrift store shopping though Ive got a few beauties up my sleeve and I thought I’d share a favourite.

www.waterintowineblog.com

This humble little painting never fails to lift my spirits.  It’s all the fresh blue and green and the rolling hills and little house on top and the hand made frame too with lovely hand hewn detail. Painted on an ordinary piece of board not an artist canvas, the frame most likely came from off cuts laying around.

It hung a long time in my laundry as Ive got a bit of a blue and green thing happening in there but just recently I brought it out to brighten up a corner of my back room that I look out onto everyday as its situated diagonally across from my kitchen bench where I basically live. So pretty and cheery to look at and it provides a lovely distraction from the great ugly black filing cabinet that has to live in that corner as well.

 

The cherry on top though is the story it tells. It’s always a treat to find items that reveal something of their history and this painting does quite literally that. The dear man who painted it took the time to write a few words about himself and the property he painted and attached it to the back.

www.waterintowineblog.com

Now I’m not familiar with the area of Dungog that he refers to which is North of Sydney but it sure looks pretty in this picture. Albion Park where Mr Kellner moved is just south of here which is I guess why it ended up in a thrift store near to me. Surprising that a family member didn’t hold it dear but how glad I am to have the chance to do so.

Quite appropriately I’ve just started reading “A Fortunate Life” by Albert B Facey An all time Australian classic about enduring hope and human will and a mans determination to pull a good life out of a broken start. In typically Australian “we’ll be right” style he retells the most horrendous and traumatic of circumstances in the most matter of fact  way.  Oh that pioneering spirit. Amazing.

A Fortunate Life by Albert Facey

“This is the extraordinary life of an ordinary man. It is the story of Albert Facey, who lived with simple honesty, compassion and courage. A parentless boy who started work at eight on the rough West Australian frontier, he struggled as an itinerant rural worker, survived the gore of Gallipoli, the loss of his farm in the Depression, the death of his son in World War II and that of his beloved wife after sixty devoted years – yet he felt that his life was fortunate”.

You realise as you read the book, that the title itself is a statement of hope and belief  and of not giving into despair. A lesson to my self pitying tendencies. A lesson on perspective. A reminder that hope and thankfulness is never to be underestimated.

So what is it with me and book titles lately. Heres another thats got me in its grips. I pounced on this book when it came my way purely and entirely because of the title. Now apparently you can’t judge a book by its cover but what about its name.

www.waterintowineblog.com

I’m still reading All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr which oh my goodness is a great book –  a story that “illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another”.  And that title  just a few words yet they play like a song perfectly capturing the essence of the book and maybe of life. The darkest of times, the world gone mad but the Light not extinguished. Its encouraged me these past weeks as if to say see it’s OK, your not really in the dark, not ever, not nearly. The Light right there and even in our dark we have this extravagance of light. Maybe it just reminds  me of this:

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4&5

So to a few other finds

Online

Loved this post:  Why I Don’t Care My Van Is a Mobile Thrift Store

Loved this Link Up:

http://photalife.com/my-sunday-photo/

I found this weekly link up on Photalife where you share just one photo and words are optional.  Of course I can’t help but write me some words but oh the simplicity of it !! A short simple post is kind of like a power nap that works wonders in terms of refreshment and just plain making you feel better. Works like a medicine.  You can take a look at some of last weeks contributions here. A reminder that creativity doesn’t have to be complicated.

On Instagram

Some new favourites I can’t stop gazing at:

@blueberrylivingco   This one so fresh and pretty and  bursting with colour

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@marysevanliere  This one is all vintagy and mismatched and comfy looking and I would be happy  to move  right in.

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In My Garden

You know I’m always amazed by what grows and what doesn’t. I shoved the tiniest tendril that had fallen off another plant into a pot recently with just a whisper of a hope it might grow and promptly forgot about it.

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 Another of my plants I willed to grow, I fussed over it, pleaded with it, coaxed it along but it was having none of it – it curled up and died just the same. My forgotten little plant though when I bothered to look was growing strong.  Go figure.

We can sow the seed, we can pour the water but the growth – that magic isn’t ours.  We lament though over whats not growing, throw ourselves prostrate trying to will something out of the ground to no avail yet while our back is turned, in the place we least expect it we  find the growth and increase we are longing for. Ours to sow but its Gods to grow. A reminder to  not miss whats growing by fretting over whats not.

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At Home

I came home from work Monday and found my husband doing this.

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Stunned (and happy) but I didn’t say too much in case I disturbed him and he stopped . Now let me fill you in I’ve been waiting for this wall, that stretches the full length of our  back room to be rendered since we moved into this house many a long year ago. I always imagined it was going to be some monolithic project hence the years of putting it off. Not so – Ken  dragged one bucket of render out of the garage late in the afternoon, gave it a good mix and threw it on with a trowel – he had this bit done in an hour. Seriously. Why oh why do we put things off? But I guess theres a time for everything  and the main thing is that ugly orange brick wall is on its way out and I’m doing star jumps on the inside. So in that same spirit I’m launching into a project I’ve wanted to do for a while.

I always like to have project of some sort on the go so when I found this light shade made of book pages and lace  I thought I’d have a go at something similar.

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Aint it pretty – but this is what I’ve got to work with.

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Now you needn’t laugh – it looks a whole lot better than it did. It did have  ugly brown smoked glass panels all around it but they have been removed and disposed of. And yes I too am tempted to turf it out and buy a lovely new light fitting but with approximately one million other things we need to spend our money on at present this light fitting won’t be budging anytime soon. So what are my chances of prettying it up. I’m going to start with a metal primer, paint it black and go from there and  I’m telling you about it just to put a little bit of pressure on myself to get it done in the next month so I can show you how it turned out  next time.

So that my friends are my finds for February. Your turn now. Any good finds your way, any projects on the go. Would so love to hear . xxx

I’m  happy to say that I’m joining in today with  Emily P Freemans, end of season link up What We Learned  Now you might remember it was Emily’s posts that inspired me to start my own end of month round up. You can read about that here and see what other lovely people have learnt this past Summer/Winter depending on where you are  right here

Also joining in with Literacy Musing Monday.

#MySundayPhoto – The Heat of the Moment

 

Joining up today with Photalife for #MySundayPhoto. Just one photo and a few words. A bit of a change from my wordier posts – part of my push this year to write simply from my heart without over censuring or overthinking and to go ahead and just try a few new things.

www.waterintowineblog.com

Taken at Mollymook on the NSW South Coast,  this photo kind of sums up where my little household is at the moment. Kids are back in school but it feels like we still have our feet in the sand. The early starts and regular routine of school and home and after school activities and bedtimes (however loose they are in our house) aren’t sitting well with us at the moment.

We loved the freedom of the holidays, where days are low on structure and commitment and high on doing whatever we felt like doing. I’ll be the first to say that there can be something very grounding and comforting in regular rhythms and daily routines but so far we have been reluctant to embrace them. The heat doesn’t help which has cranked itself up a notch just in time for the kids return to school so I’m putting ice packs in the school lunches and there’s plenty of whinging about scratchy school uniforms and closed in shoes. It’s a tough call after a summer spent in shorts, swimmers,  thongs (as in flip flops) and tank tops  or if your Ethan and at home, just your underpants Axl Heck style.

We’re holding onto our freewheeling summer as much as we can despite what the calendar requires of us and taking all the shortcuts. I abandoned the book covering and went with the ready made slip covers with all the pretty patterns that Livvy was so admiring at the newsagents, we’re using paper plates and plastic cups some nights just to cut down on clean up and I’m doing only the bare essentials required to keep us all fed and clothed and the house running in some vague semblance of order. I AM packing school lunches and reading all the school notes because I’ve fallen foul of that one many a time before. Everything else? I’m not making any promises.

Higher on our priority list right now are trips to the pool after school when we can, sitting in the one air conditioned room in our house, anything liquid with plenty of ice, wet towels draped over us at night, and food that allows the least amount of time in the kitchen, like salads that come pre washed with the dressing and the crunchy noodles  included and all ready to go  – genius.  Yes I could pressure myself to be be doing a whole lot more and to be running a tighter ship as it is regular term time after all,  but frankly it’s too hot and I’ve just no heart for it at the moment. See our bodies may be back at school  and work but our hearts are still on holidays and I’m right in the middle of a good book.

So for the month of February till the heat passes and the routine kicks in I’m giving this little family a hall pass. Sometimes we just need to do (or not do) whatever it is  in order to save our lives and our sanity. (The occasional cooler day helps as well). So here’s to all of us giving ourselves a little grace and making the adjustments we need to see us happily through our current  season.

Any hall passes being handed out your way? Would love to hear.

Check out other My Sunday Photos here.

http://photalife.com/my-sunday-photo/

Holiday Word Play (and Other Good Reads)

Written words can also sing – Ngugi Thiong’o

www.waterintowineblog.comNow its no secret I like words and lots of them

The written word over the spoken word any old day if I had to choose, if push came to shove.

And January, as always,  had me wading through a lovely sea of them.

Theres all those new year posts for a start – I love reading other bloggers new year missives. Totally amazed at their presence of mind so early on in the year  – popping out genius posts the first week or two of January when I’ve barely made it off the lounge or out from under my Kindle but oh God bless them that they do. I’m so grateful to have such good inspiring insightful words to read.  Kind companions as I tip toe my way into the new year and feel my way slow for a good bit – a peaceful lull before the real work of the year begins.

www.waterintowineblog.com

And because January is our summer here in Australia I always have a good book  or two on the go – nothing makes it feel like a holiday (even if your at home) like a good book to bury yourself in, especially when no one seems to mind me serving dinner at 9  or if I get out of bed at 11.

www.lisajobaker.com

www.waterintowineblog.comAs for MY words ? –  well that story really started in December .

 I had been trying to come up with just the right meaningful non cliched Christmassy thing to write on my bathroom blackboard which had been  blank for a good while. At some point “Washed Clean” had been washed off. I’d hung my Christmas wreath in front but I was wanting some words.

Then I saw this phrase embroidered lovingly on a holiday pullover on Instagram. And because Home Alone is an all time Christmas favourite in our house and because it seemed appropriate for a bathroom and because we can all just get too darn serious about things- – – – we ended up with this.

www.waterintowineblog.com

My kids thought it was Hil-arious with a capitol H.  I did too but then I’m easy entertained.

A week into January though I was staring at a blank board again and wondering what words I might write that had something to say about this new year.

See I’m not much good at new year proclamations or declarations. Personality type partly, post Christmas exhaustion mainly. But heres what I’ve found. When I give myself a chance, a bit of space, a bit of time without forcing the issue somehow the right words find me anyway, they rise on up to the surface without me even trying.  And sometimes the tiniest of incidents or events can resonate way inside and tell a story you didn’t know needed telling. I had two of them.www.waterintowineblog.com

One was sitting on the edge of the sea pool on a hot, hot hazy day, somewhere between Christmas and New Year watching my kids swim. I hadn’t brought my swimmers for “all the reasons” (those extra kilos, unforgiving lycra, legs that haven’t seen a razor in a while) and I was feeling pretty pathetic because I hadn’t made the effort and because I don’t want my kids to have the mum that just watches from the side, I don’t want to be the mum who’s always just looking on.  I half told myself “I’ll be organised next time, I’ll wear my swimmers with all the appropriate coverage and get in – next time.” but it was an old and tired and incredibly boring excuse that I’d heard myself make too many times before. Some moments are there for the taking and some don’t come again so I took the moment and got in with the kids clothes and all much to their delight  (they were so daring me to). Olivia thought it was too funny and Ethan who seems to get embarrassed if I even breath near him in public these days,  loved it as well because despite his bravado he loves me being in the thick of it with hm.

https://www.instagram.com/cityofsydney/

The second was a decision to take our two up to Sydney on New Years Eve to see the fireworks on Sydney harbour. Ethan has been talking about wanting to do this for a couple of years and very conveniently each year we have been down south camping. This year we didn’t go camping though. Uhh I can’t begin to tell you how much I did not want to go to Sydney on New years Eve. It had all the elements of a waking nightmare for me. Thousands of people all trying to see the same thing at the same time,  traffic congestion, road blocks and the keeping everyone safe  – no thank you. The last time I’d ventured into the city on NYE I was young and single and had drunk a glass or two of champagne to  steel my nerves. I  was soooo tempted to back out but  it was the same deal as the pool – Ken and I looked at each other and thought  do we make excuses, do we act like boring people or do we take our kids on a wee bit of an adventure. Do we grab this chance and show them that even without the perfect plan, with things against you,  you can make a decision and get yourself where you want to go. So we threw our fold up chairs and picnic blanket and a few snacks and drinks in the car and headed up. Theres a lot we haven’t been able to do for our kids this summer. No holidays overseas that according to Ethan, all his friends are on,  no  annual camping trip either as we usually do due to my work  –  but THIS we could do. Yes we could do winging it even at the risk of getting them all the way there and not seeing a thing all Griswold like. We could do looking like the  Beverly Hillbillies driving around  ultra posh Point Piper in our truck. WE could even do me reversing up a very steep one way street and double parking to get a great view of the Harbour (with plenty of time to spare I might add). Oh my goodness the excitement when we found that view. And those fireworks. Most spectacular I’ve ever seen but truly I didn’t go for the fireworks – I went to see my kids faces and to hear them say “we did it” like we had climbed Mount Everest” rather than just drive an hour and a half from home. I think my boy grew three inches that night he was so happy and pleased that he had finally got there.  Was it a glamorous new years eve? – not a bit but we had ourselves a little family adventure and that beats glamorous hands down anyday.

Small moments and small decisions that turned something over on the inside of me.

This is what my board says at the moment

Jump In With Both Feet

Jump In With Both Feet

Not as side splitting as the previous message but a good reminder for the kids  because showering and bathing isn’t always high on their priority list. And  a good reminder for me to ditch the excuses more often and follow my heart  more than my head.

But it don’t come naturally.

Jumping in isn’t really my style. I’m more a slide in quietly while no one is looking  kind of gal, more the type to tip toe around the edges till I get the wobbles and just fall in – which are both Ok options because you still end up in the water. But I’m a great one for not getting in at all or getting half way in and then turning heels and heading home where its safe. I’m a good one for talking my self out of things and faffing around and overthinking and overcomplicating everything to such an extent that I end up waving the white flag  in surrender and turning on Netflix.

Maybe its time to approach things a little differently.

Now that  doesn’t mean I’ll be trying to be someone I’m not, or I’ll be committing myself to a whole slew of things I have no capacity to follow through on or that I’ll be  diving into things completely unthinking.

What I think it means is:

Less  making excuses,

less overthinking

less overcomplicating

less censuring myself

And more just giving things a whirl

and then hanging around long enough to see what happens.

More trusting myself and trusting God

More doing the things I’m scared to do but that I’m absolutely convinced God can do

If I take the chance, if I follow His lead, if I don’t pull back

Worth a try

Maybe it just means more swimming in my clothes.

www.waterintowineblog

A few other words I’ve been reading “just by chance” of late are in Luke 18 and 19. Stories of two people worlds apart but as broken as each other. Both had every reason to pull back and lay low and shy away and make excuses.  Except that they didn’t – they recognised the moment, they grabbed the  opportunity for the  short second it was there and as a result came face to face with living breathing Hope. Zacchaeus was a wealthy educated, influential but corrupt man,  despised by his community and so short he had to climb a tree to get a glimpse of Jesus. Who knows with what attitude he climbed that tree – derision, curiosity, inner turmoil, shame – it doesn’t say but where he wasn’t was at home feeling sorry for himself. He was up that tree having a good look where everyone could see him and when Jesus eyeballed him and said I’m coming to your house to eat,  Zacchaeus said Yes. He led Jesus to his home with great “excitement and joy”. He could have just as easily scoffed at the invitation from this dusty story telling man, he could have brushed him off with a wave of his hand, climbed down that tree and disappeared into the crowd. But Zaccheaus took the leap, he took the chance. The other man a blind beggar, the lowest among his people, without position or employment or a home. But when he heard the crowd gathering and the excitement grow he wasn’t about to miss out.  He had little to hope on, no one to stand for him and when he heard it was Jesus, he didn’t wait for permission or for an invitation – he started to holler. He had a brokenness that wouldn’t let him stay quiet and the more he was told to shut up the louder he got. He shouted until Mercy walked right up and gave him back his life. I wonder at that sort of courage, the sort of courage that says yes against all the odds, that takes that risk, thats prepared to fail, that doesn’t let go of  what just might be possible.

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I’ll leave you with these words that I first read last November. Some words make a home with you. They tell part of your story and settle on in you and don’t leave. These are some of those.

My eyes have seen the king in his beauty.
I have glimpsed a land that stretches afar.
It is a peaceful abode and a place of broad rivers and streams.
No galley with oars rides them.
And In this place, even the lame carry off plunder
Christie Purifoy

Would love to hear how January has found you so feel free to share away below.

Before I go here are a few of my favourite online finds/reads for January :

Invite Delight on Becoming Minimalist Blog

How To Give Your Home A Fresh Start – The Nester

I’m Not Into New Year Resolutions – Instead I Do This – Lisa Jo Baker

How I Handle Screwing Up My Goals – The Lazy Genius Collective.

Happy reading, Happy New Year friends -( is it too late to say that?)  and much love from my home to yours

Tracey xx

Joining in with some of these lovely link ups

Literacy Musings Monday

Three Word Wednesday

Sitting Amongst Friends

Tell His Story

Three Word Wednesday www.kristinhilltaylor.comTell His Story www.jenniferdukeslee.com