30 Days of GratitudePosted by Anna Wed, October 01, 2014 12:28:00
Where has the month of September gone? It’s the 1st
October, and I'm sitting bathed in sunshine streaming from my little window in my
study and wondering how long this glorious weather is going to last for! Before
I chat more about how you've found your Gratitude month, let me bring you up to
speed with my final few gratitude’s!
Day 28 – Conkers
Who has memories of conkers when they were younger? Where I used
to live when I grew up, we had several conker trees at the top of road and my
brothers and I (I have 3 :-)!) would traipse up the road and scavenge
underneath the trees to find the best ones. Either so we could drill holes in
them, put them on a string and play conker wars or just so we could see how
many we could collect. One year we also managed to plant them and watch them
grow into little trees in tub in a garden.
This year I noticed that there were loads of conkers trees
near where I live and in the September sunshine I couldn't resist regressing
back to my childhood and collect some. Admittedly I couldn't do a lot of
bending down, so Danny had to do a lot of it for me, I did however shake the
trees and watch with glee as they all dropped down.
It was great to remember those memories and begin making new
ones, there was another motive to collect conkers and that’s to keep spiders
Days 29 – Prayer
Last week I spoke about the patience needed to trust God
with Dannys career in the RAF, how we had had to be patient with the many
different changes that came our way. Today I am grateful that we have the
capacity to pray, to keep praying and knowing that God listens and cares about
where we are life and what is going to happen. He wants the best for us no
matter what and His timing is perfect.
It’s amazing to see prayers answered and mountains moved,
but we need to continue to be prayerful and trust God with what is to come.
Day 30 – God is
Yesterday we had received some really good news about the
next stage of our move and Dannys posting and were so grateful to people who
had been praying. Today however, was a hard day and the good news of yesterday
seem to come crashing down.
When you have a day that seems to be so full of negativity
it’s hard sometimes to see the positives through it. However what we cling to
and we need to remember is that our God
is Faithful no matter what.
So our 30 Days of Gratitude are now at end. How have you
found it? I found it challenging to always try and recognise things that I am
grateful for and verbalise it in some way. I am sure we are all good at
thinking in our heads about the things that have gone well and what we want to
be thankful for. But to mark it down, or say it out loud sometimes takes a bit
30 Days of GratitudePosted by Anna Sat, September 27, 2014 16:16:11
Day 20 - 5 smooth stones
Sometime ago whilst reading I came across something called ‘5 smooth stones’. These are 5 Bible verses that you hold on to no matter what is going on and are the bits of Gods word that you can cling to to keep going because you them so well.
I was reminded today of my 5 smooth stones and how grateful I am that there is Gods word to turn to when things seem a bit rough. Here are mine…
What would you pick as your 5 smooth stones to help you keep going when things get tough?
Day 21 - God’s Grace Provides
At church today the sermon spoke about how God’s grace provides in all circumstances, but sometimes the devil will try and get in and take what has been given to us away. Many times when I’ve feel there’s been a step forward with uC Grace or as a couple with Danny, negativity or something difficult has followed straight away. What has got us through those moments is knowing that God’s grace is above all that the devil tries to put in our way, and we need to stand our ground to not let him win.
Day 22 - Breath
I did a lot of driving today and there seemed to be a running theme amongst the songs that were appearing on shuffle, they were all about breath and breathing, ‘breathe on me breath of God’.
When we think about the life God has given us and his desire to always support and be there for us, how we act and move in our day to day life can affect how of God we have within us. Think of it like this, when we breathe we can breathe in lots of different ways, to fulfill the needs of oxygen needed within our body. Allowing God to fulfill our needs can be done in the same way. When we choose to take short shallow breaths we are not allowing much of God to get inside us, but if we take long, deep breaths that really sink into our very core, we can allow God to encompass us, fill us, and keep us going.
Do you breath God in deeply or shallowly? With the prospect of a few more changes ahead of me I pretty sure I was at the stage of taking short, shallow breaths, but today reminded me that I need to slow down, and inhale slowly and let God do the rest!
Day 23 - Helping hand
On Friday I have Dannys graduation from Air Crewman training and I have to go dressed up! It’s been a bit of nightmare trying to find something to wear and I was taking yet another thing back to New Look that didn’t fit in the hope that I could order a smaller size and it would all be sorted. There was no other size, and I got a bit upset (I blame it on pregnancy hormones), however it was a very kind lady that was serving and she disappeared off around the shop to look in the ‘normal’ clothes to see if she could find something that fitted me instead. She came back with something that was perfect. I was so grateful that she took the time to help me, check things fitted and offer advice on future things I may be trying to find.
I don’t know about your experiences with shop assistants, but they are not always this accommodating, but what this lady did made my day whole lot better and I finally had a complete outfit!!
Day 24 - Laughter
For the next month or so I’ve taken on the task of choreographing for the local village panto, Sleeping Beauty. Tonight was the first rehearsal with the cast. It reminded me so much of my time during Peace Child, particularly the shock horror look of adults when they realise that they have got to dance! This particular evening I was teaching movements for the Finale song - ‘Reach’ from S club 7. It was great to see the adults get stuck in to it, and there was so much laughter, and that’s what I am grateful for, laughter got me through the rehearsals and I wouldn’t definitely say that laughter got the adults through as well!
Day 25 - Young People
On a Thursday night I have my youth work job on the local RAF base, tonight was one of our busiest nights seeing 14 people come to the club. I realise for some of you who run youth clubs you might not think thats much, but when the average is 5/6 it’s something worth celebrating!
We were making scotch pancakes and having a general hang out session, there was more drama than I have ever known between some of the friendship groups, so i was grateful to be able to be there and share with them and amongst them my experiences.
Day 26 - Patience
Today was a very proud day, a celebration of something that has been long awaited. My husband finally graduated from his Air Crewman course at RAF Shawbury. This was a course that he was meant to complete 4 years ago! But due to reviews and re-shuffling done with the military the course kept being put back.
Sometimes with things in life, you want them to happen in your own timeline and at a particular time, however the reality is that God has different agenda to timings and the thing is to be patient to trust that those timings will come to fruition.
I’m grateful that I have been able to support Danny to get this far, grateful that we’ve persisted with having patience with the RAF (very difficult sometimes) and we hope that we can continue to apply that patience as we now move onto the next stage of our life. At the moment that’s being patient for a house to move in to before Danny starts at his new base, Odiham, in November!
Day 27 - Family Time
The day after the night before! Yesterday was such a special day and I felt such a privilege to support Danny. Today I am grateful for something I have already chatted about during this gratitude journey, and that is family time, but in particular two families coming together to celebrate something special that someone has achieved and unanimously offer their support.
We are so very nearly at the end of the Gratitude Journey, how have you found it? I do hope it has helped you become more aware of things around you and the things that you do. There are just 3 more days of it left (where on earth has September gone), so enjoy it and keep sharing!!!
30 Days of GratitudePosted by Anna Fri, September 19, 2014 17:19:01
Most of my working week is spent in what we call the box
room, basically the smallest bedroom and it’s at the back of the house.
There are many days when I get distracted somewhat when
working in the room. Distractions can be technology related but more often than
not they are to do with what I can see and hear from the window.
My work area is right by the window and I look out onto our
garden and can also see the little cul-de-sac that backs onto that too. Taking up
the majority of the view space from the window is a large tree, and
increasingly I am seeing birds hopping in and about and landing on it. As well
as this there is usually the noise of the helicopters in the back ground.
Today I was struck by a birdy that seemed to have stopped in
the tree (I am sorry I don’t know what sort of bird it was, couldn’t quite
see!). It looked like it was trying out every branch to see which one was good
enough to stay on for a bit, it then flew away.
It’s been lovely to watch the tree, change shape through the
season, drip water when it’s rained and blow in the wind, as well as be home to
various sorts of wildlife.
What struck me was, how often do we want to try out lots of
different things before either settling for the first thing we found or the
last things we find? God doesn’t want us to ‘settle’ for second best. He wants
us to have the best, but he also wants us to trust and follow his pathway,
rather than trying out lots of different one’s along the way.
I am grateful that every day I look out on the tree and see
the changes, and know the changes that are happening to that tree are for its
best interest. The changes that happen in our life, although sometimes hard are
the best things, because God wants us only to have the best!
30 Days of GratitudePosted by Anna Fri, September 19, 2014 16:49:13
To simply be grateful for the day may sound a little odd,
but that is what I am grateful for. I'm grateful to have a day to sort and
organise and enjoy back at home.
Sometimes days like that seem a bit tedious and boring, but
maybe it’s because I'm getting that nesting sorting feeling, I enjoy sorting
and just being. There were lots of bags to unpack and paper work to sort. I
gave my shredder a really big workout, didn't quite get to the steam coming out
of it stage which was good though! And lots of pieces of paper I hoard ‘just
in case’ I was ruthless with.
Do you find that there are always things that you want to do
or get done, but the reality of getting to that point of your list just seems
further and further away? I'm not saying things that were on the bottom of my
list got closer… because they didn't! However to do something completely not on
the list was quite refreshing, and this day allowed me to do that.
It was also very exciting to hear from another family about how
they had been doing their 30 Days of Gratitude.
My friend Fleur sent through this great picture of how they
were adding all the things they was grateful for in their family, to a big tree;
this has meant that the children have been involved as well.
30 Days of GratitudePosted by Anna Fri, September 19, 2014 16:24:07
After a bit of a whirl wind 5 days down south, today was the
day to drive back up home and I really didn't want to do the drive! I wanted to
be home to see Danny, but to do it without the drive would be great!
Whilst I don’t really mind driving, the further on in
pregnancy I have got, the more uncomfortable it has got, and I knew if I didn't
hit certain roads at certain times then there was going to be a lot of traffic
and sitting still in queues!
My driving time tends to be my thinking and processing time,
so despite not really wanting to sit in the car for 3 and a half hours I was in
way looking forward to reflecting on the events of the past 5 days.
God was good and he gave me safe travels, with only a small
amount of traffic on the M6, I had a great time listening to some new music and
praising God for some of the new people that I had been able to meet during the
various events that had been on.
God gives you ‘time’ in the unexpected places, usually the
ones you don’t want to go to etc., God knew the drive was what I needed, and
despite not wanting to do it, I am of course grateful that I did and he kept me
safe during it too!
30 Days of GratitudePosted by Anna Fri, September 19, 2014 11:15:26
My gratitude’s at the moment seem to be having a common
theme, maybe you can pick them out!
Today I am grateful for journey’s, and by that I mean the
journeys that each of us go on in life, they are always very different and
individual. I find this is something that I always know, but I fully grasp it
when I am able to see it visually.
This evening at our Living Colour workshop we chatted about
the imprints/ impacts of things in lives that can cause a response or change
our journey in some way. So what we did was a bit whacky really and I am sure
some of you could do this at home too!
I had loads of different colours of paint and a plain A4
sheet of paper. I encouraged the ladies that had come to think about a section
of their life, today or the run up to it and to think about how the landscape
of it was made up, how the day’s journey had gone. Journeys never go along a
straight line A – B; there are always things that happen in between. So were
there peaks and troughs, were they smooth or jagged. Was there a lot of
stopping or staying in the same spot, was there some confusion?
It was fascinating to watch how each person’s picture
developed, when we chatted afterwards some could articulate really well the
different points in the picture where things happened, for others words couldn't
describe it but the picture could. We did go on to transfer the picture into
movement, but that’s to chat about another time.
We looked to see whether our individual journeys met up with
anyone else’s along the way and whether that caused any change whilst we did
it. What stood out for us was the fact that God puts people, obstacles, places
and much more in our pathways for a reason, sometimes it’s really hard to see
why that is, but God does know best. Our gratefulness should be for how God
always stays with us on our journey and always wants the best for us no matter
30 Days of GratitudePosted by Anna Fri, September 19, 2014 10:56:24
Today was our monthly Moving Rainbow workshops, which are
dance and craft workshops for under 5s and 5-11 year olds. We try to have a
theme that we follow for the craft and certain sorts of movements.
This month was all about how God loves the whole family and
we played around doing finger prints for the different members of our family
and celebrating how big Gods love is, we learnt the saying – it’s so tall,
small and wide – so much so it covers everything. For the older ones they got
to create movements and think in more depth about wanting more of God’s love
and how what he has to give, is always more
Some of the children that come along to the workshops have
been dancing with me for a long time, one of them in particular Mary* has
probably been with me the longest, coming up to 4 years.
When I think back to how she was in the first dance classes
that she came to and where she is now, it is beautiful to watch her dance. When
Mary first arrived on the scene she was very shy, not confident in herself, and
got very frustrated when she couldn't get something perfect the first it was
taught. It took a lot of saying ‘you’re not expected to get it right first time’
and ‘what you did was just right’ to keep her going.
I still remember the week, probably in the first or second
term that Mary had started coming to classes with me, when her mum came in for
a chat. The chat was to say that she didn't think Mary would carry on because
she was coming home upset each week because she wasn't getting things right. The
mother also explained that she was the eldest child at home so usually the first
to grasp something, but when she came to the dance classes she was the youngest
and obviously not grasping things straight away.
I have to admit my heart sunk, and I just said ‘Mary needs
to stay, she can do it, by not getting it right the first time around it means
when she does grasp the movement it’s a lot more detailed.’ I agreed to chat
with Mary and encourage her to stay. She did, and it has been like watching a
flower grow brighter since.
So, I am grateful that I have the opportunity to work
alongside young and old alike to see them grow into something new and
confident. There are lots of stories I could share about this. But just
watching Mary dance today, from the heart, I saw a glimpse of her journey, and I
do hope she keeps dancing.
Jesus asked us to come to him like children, children have a
lot less cares in the world, their delight and growth is always so obvious.
Allow Jesus to delight in watching you grow and blossom into who you are meant
*Mary is a made up
name, to protect the identity of the actual child.
30 Days of GratitudePosted by Anna Fri, September 19, 2014 10:37:27
After an amazing day in Watford dancing yesterday, it was
great to have a slower paced day in Guildford at my parents’ house. My middle
brother had decided to make an appearance at home, so it was nice to play to
catch up with a few more members of my family that usual.
We have a family that is quite wide spread in terms of
location and jobs, and so to get everybody together at the same time requires a
lot of prior planning or more often than not lots of spontaneity! And this
weekend it just so happened that Alec had decided to pop back to Guildford and
help Peter (my youngest brother move rooms), that meant I got the added delight
of seeing him.
I don’t know about you but banter always plays a huge role
in our family meet ups, and I think both my brothers that were there (there was
still one missing) relished the opportunity they had to point out the size of
my bump and offer ‘commentary’ on how I got up out the chair. Commentary as
opposed to help might add! All things that are not worth getting upset about
because it’s true and I laugh at myself sometimes! Plus they manage to do it
like a duo, playing off comments against each other, dad might then join in and
if Danny was so would he!
I was grateful to get that unexpected time, as
well as a roast dinner (always goes down well!), and next time I hope that we
can get all of us together, rather than only some of us. Family are people you
always strive to stay connected to and see often, but sometimes the reality of
that doesn'twork out, we learnt that the times we do get all of us together,
their the special times, the ones with the most laughter, banter and probably