New Year’s Resolutions

Hello, it’s been a while.

I’ve been meaning to write this since January  but I’ve not had the time! And I don’t mean a “I decided to go on Facebook instead”  type of arrangement but a genuine “oh my goodness its nearly the end of February” type thing. Which is a sentence I honestly never thought I’d say, especially based on how I felt when I started blogging last year. But it’s a new year and I made some changes…

To give you a tiny bit of background, I have never truly done New Year’s resolutions before. They always seem out of reach, too hard and by the end of the year, out of touch with the reality of my life. Previous attempts in January have ALWAYS been 1) loose weight 2) exercise more 3) some other random things that sound good. It feels like writing a list of unachievable goals is the “done” thing to do and then you can laugh (read cry) about them at the end of the year because you never managed to do even one. So I stopped bothering.  But despite all that, I do like that my goals and focus change in different seasons and I like starting a new year with a blank canvas. A friend of mine wrote a blog piece about having a word for the year. I’d never heard of it before but it really resonated with me; the thought of shaping my year around one tiny word really appealed to me (small things for small minds and all that…)  So I decided to start 2017 with a word for the year; for me personally, for my marriage and for our family life. The word is “intentional”. It really is what is says on the tin.

Having this one word suddenly opened up the possibility of also having achievable New Year’s resolutions. I know this might sound silly to some of you but my logic is that whether or not I manage to achieve said resolution, if I’ve been intentional I’ve achieved it. And because of that I wrote some this year and I thought I’d share them with you. In order to be intentional, I’ve given each one a starting step. I am fully expecting them to change; not in a huge way, but to slowly shape up and develop as the year goes on. I don’t want a list that is a burden or that makes me feel like a constant failure. I want a list that changes with me and my family and that shows the journey that I’ve been on.  So here it is:

Personal

  1. Go on social media less: start with only 3 times a day
  2. Exercise more: start with 10 sit ups & press ups a day and increase by 1 a day
  3. Wake up to God: start with not going on my phone/social media
  4. Be thankful: start with writing down 5 things I am thankful for a week
  5. Complete half started projects: start with wedding scrap book
  6. Loose weight: start with whole 30
  7. Learn a new skill: calligraphy/hand lettering: start with a beginners book
  8. Read my Bible more: start with once a week
  9. Read more: start with once a month
  10. Become more positive: start with moaning less
  11. Become more proactive: start with the family organiser

Family

  1. Travel: start with one country/place we havent been to
  2. Become more ethical: start with home made thank you cards
  3. Family day: start with once a month

Marriage

  1. Date night: start with once a month
  2. Print off/create our prayer diaries

I haven’t shared these for any reason other than I am discovering that being vulnerable and sharing with people can be empowering. I would say I am the least disciplined person I know and it already feels like an achievement that I can already see some of the things above happening. There’s definitely some I haven’t done or started and there’s some that need tweaking or progressing.  For example I never did complete whole 30 in January so I need a new starting step for ‘Loose weight’. I did, however, buy recycled card and envelopes and made thank you cards for Christmas so I now need a second stepping stone for ‘Become more ethical’.

My days don’t revolve around this list but at the minute my days do revolve around that word “intentional”*. It’s helped me to realise my purpose which is what I was struggling a bit with last year.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that I have always wanted to be intentional in everything I do, which is why I struggle when I feel unmotivated. Aside from feeling like this has been a small revelation in my life, it’s helped me to prioritise what I consider important. Some of you might have noticed that blogging didn’t feature on the list. And I don’t think it will. I didn’t start blogging to gain an audience or to get an extra income, I simply did it for me. And right now, the current me doesn’t need it or really have time for it. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy writing and I am sure, like I have done today, I will blog again (I do still have a very active thought process after all!) But today I’m pleased that my days are being filled with cooking, cleaning, playing with Finn, doing some work for Stewardship, meeting friends, doing my exercise video (ha!), reading my Bible, finshing and starting projects and other bits and pieces. It feels like this one little word has given me a bit of oomph.

So onwards and upwards! I’ll no doubt see you again when I think about something else that I desperately need to write about. For now I’m off to make raw chocolate bites…

C x

 

*I bet you’re sick of that word now. If you’re getting bored read it out loud slowly at least 10 times, thinking about the spelling of it, until you start questioning the very existence of the word and wondering if it is actually spelt with a j or a ch.

Chorizo traybake

New year, new blog, new recipe of the week!

Nick and I are currently just over a week into Whole30; a 30 day detox which involves eating just meat, vegetables, fruit and egg. We did the same thing last January and found it gives us a chance to refocus and refresh, especially after the over-indulging of Christmas. It gives our bodies a break, we have more energy and focus and we get rid of some of the bad snacking habits we pick up over the year (wine, chocolate and more wine!)

Last year we were introduced to this dish by my brother Joel and sister-in-law Amy (who were also doing Whole30 at the same time) – they are my go to food gurus with a wealth of yummy recipes up their sleeve. The dish has become a firm favourite that we cook all year round so it should be good for everyone; detox or no detox!

As always this is a mix and match recipe which is why I love it so much. We have it with crispy kale but you can add it with what you like. There is nothing better then a large bowl of beautiful colours that taste delicious.

Serves 2 (with a Finn sized portion left)

Ingredients

Vegetables (mix and match based on what you have but try to have at least 2/3 of each)

  • Root veg: 1 onion/1 carrot/1-3 potato/1-3 sweet potato/1 parnsip/1/2 butternut squash
  • Veg: 1 courgette/ handful mushrooms/handful brussel sprouts/ 1 pepper/ 1/2 broccoli head/any other veg in your fridge that you like/halved cherry tomatoes

Meat

  • 1/2 chorizo*
  • Other options: crispy bacon with chestnuts, mozzarella slices and basil leaves, leftover bbq pulled pork

*the chorizo should really be a good quality one that is as “clean” as possible, i.e. no added extra rubbish. We love the unearthed one which we buy then it’s offer, usually 2 for £5. They last for ages and you can use the other half in this amazing breakfast dish.

Spices and oil – Anything you like! Some suggestions:

  • 2 tbs smoked paprike, 1 tsp chilli , A couple of pinches of salt
  • 3 garlic gloves, 2 tbs mixed herbs (good with the bacon option)
  • 1 tbsp dried basil and a couple of splashes of balsamic vinegar (good with the mozzarella option)
  • 2-3 tbs of a high smoking point oil, preferably rice bran or coconut oil

Optional side

  • 100-200g of kale

Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 7/425F/220c
  2. Chop all your vegetables and potatoes into bite size chunks but not too small.
  3. Add them to a bowl (or large baking tray if you want to save on washing up) and toss in oil and the spices of your choice. Make sure it is all covered.
  4. Add to a baking tray, if you havent already, and spread across it evenly and bake at the top of the oven for 20 minutes.
  5. Whilst the tray is cooking, chop your chorizo into halves.
  6. Wash your kale, and dry it as much as you can.
  7. Toss it in some oil.
  8. Line a flat large baking tray with foil and spread the kale on it (one level).
  9. Sprinkle the kale with salt.
  10. After the 20 minutes is up, add the kale tray into the middle of the oven.
  11. After another 10 minutes add the chorizo (or bacon/mozerella/pulled pork) across the vegetable tray.
  12. It will be ready to serve after another 20 minutes! The kale should be crispy (if it isn’t, move it to the top of the oven and whack the heat up to the higher notch for another 5 minutes).

I hope you enjoy it!

C x

ps. As always, let me know if you do cook it!

Sweet potato and chickpea biryiani

Following on from my blog “Eating well on a budget “ I’ve decided to start sharing a recipe of the week with you. I’m a cooker by nature and whilst following exact measurements and steps is not my strength, looking in a fridge and throwing a tasty meal together is.  So based on that, any recipe I share can be changed or will have a few options you can choose from. If you make it, and you come up with a better version, let me know!

I’ve called this one sweet potato and chickpea biryani because that’s how I usually make it but really its “anything you have leftover” biryani.  It may seem a bit strange offering you something spicy just before Christmas but it can incorporate any veg and meat you’re bound to have left over at the end of this festive season and will be a nice change to the pallet!

Serves 3-4 (it makes the best leftovers)

Base ingredients

  • 1/2 tbsp- 1tbsp gram masala
  • 1/2 tps chilli powder or 1/2 a fresh chilli
  • 1/2 tps cumin
  • 1/2 tps coriander
  • A couple of pinches of turmeric
  • 2tbsp oil (rice bran, coconut or avocado oil works really well)
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves crushed
  • A couple of pinches of cinnamom
  • salt/pepper
  • I tin of Chickpeas/1 tin of lentils/shreeded meat

Vegetables– mix and match as you like but you want a few different flavours/textures

  • 2 sweet potato (or substitute for potato or another sweet root vegetable like butternut squash) – cubed
  • 5/6 mushrooms – quarters
  • 1/2 courgette – sliced and then halved
  • 1 onion – diced
  • 2 handfuls peas/green beans cut into chunks
  • 1 pepper – bite sized chunks

Optional

  • 2tbsp tomato purée
  • 2 bay leaves (remove before serving)
  • Fresh coriander

Recipe

  1. Cut up your vegetables, keeping the diced onion separate.
  2. Heat up a large, thick based pan with oil over a medium heat. The pan needs to have a lid
  3. Add the spices and mix in for 30 seconds
  4. Add the garlic and onion and them soften for 5 minutes
  5. Add all the other vegetables and cook for a couple of minutes making sure they are covered in the spices and onion/garlic.
  6. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes, stir through and let it cook until the tomatoes start to bubble.
  7. (Carefully) taste the mixture and add more of any base ingredient you’d like, according to how you like it. I usually end up adding more gram masala. You can add a tbsp of tomato paste if you want to bring out the tomato flavour.
  8. Put lid on and lower the heat so that it simmers. Make sure you stir every so often.
  9. Cook rice for 2 people
  10. 5 minutes before the tomatoes and veg are cooked, add the rice and the chickpeas/lentils/meat and stir through properly.
  11. Add salt and pepper to season
  12. If you have it, add fresh coriander
  13. Serve in bowls with naan bread or by itself.

I hope you enjoy it!

C x

p.s If you do cook it, send or share a picture please- I’d love to see how it turned out for you.

 

Eating well on a budget…

*Disclaimer: your well and my well, may well be different!

In everyday normal, adult conversations I find myself talking about food a lot. Cooking, eating and sharing food is really important to me and I think about it a lot. Like 70% of time. Or more. But what is more important to me is the desire to engage with what I’m buying and what is going into my body and the bodies I am feeding.  Since being married, Nick and I have begun a journey to be more ethically minded; attempting to make small, better changes to the produce and products we buy and to broaden our knowledge on what it actually means to live this way. Our personal definition of eating well is to AIM to eat produce that is natural, unprocessed, ethical, locally sourced, fairly traded, organic and free range. AIM has to be in capitals because we don’t always manage this! And I love lots of things that are definitely processed…..

As a by note, and for another blog, this journey has brought up lots of interesting conversations and discoveries. Do we really have to buy organic food or is it just another way to get more money out of us? Does buying local produce take away the need to buy free range/organic? What does fair trade actually mean? If we don’t buy free range meat does it mean the meat we eat has suffered gruesomely or does it just mean they got a bit more space to roam? If you haven’t already, it’s worth looking in to so you can decide how you feel about it.

So far on the journey, our shops compromise of:

  • 80% organic produce overall
  • 100% organic dairy products
  • 100% free range meat
  • 100% wild caught/organically farmed fish
  • 100% fair trade where there is the option or we are buying oversees (not as easy as I thought – there aren’t that many fairly traded everyday items)

Our budget is £60 a week. This needs to include most breakfasts, lunches and dinners, Finn’s food and some household items like toilet paper, kitchen roll, nappies and washing up liquid. We also have a spare £60 a month for extras like wine (I wish I could fit this into an every week shop!), snacks and “hospitality” which will include friends/family coming over for meals and providing meals for new mums/friends in need. We don’t stick to exactly £60 a week; one week it might be £40 and another week it might be £80 but over the month it levels itself out.

So, onto how we do it at the minute subject to change, because we are all ever-changing!

1.) One monthly shop at Aldi

I have discovered that Aldi offer really reasonably priced British, free range and organic meat. Now I know it’s not our local butchers and in an ideal world we would buy everything from our little town and I would have a little woven basket to put all my items in for my walk home. But we live in London and believe it or not our local butchers and greengrocer appear to be extortionately priced. So that is for another chapter of our lives.

We don’t have an Aldi near us so I do one shop once a month and freeze any meat I buy. I always buy a whole chicken and I always buy some thighs and drumsticks (and then as a labour of love remove the skin and bones for Nick!) This usually comes to about £20-£40 and I will adjust the weekly shop budget to reflect this.

2.) Weekly shopping online

This has made a significance difference to sticking to a weekly budget. We use Ocado, pay £1.99 a month for anytime delivery and we both have the app on our phone. The app allows us to add and delete items at any time, with a visual representation of each product and a handy running total. The app also features recipes, gives coupons and has a never ending supply of offers. They have a huge range of organic, fair trade and free range produce and customers can leave reviews, which I have found are very accurate.

I often get asked “aren’t Ocado/Waitrose much more expensive than other supermarkets?” In honestly, some products can be, especially fresh produce. However our food budget amount hasn’t changed from when we used to shop at Tesco, we just eat smarter. Ocado also do a price comparison with Tesco and give you a voucher if your shop would have been cheaper there.

3.) Meal planning

I meal plan a week in advance and I do it based on what is on offer on the app and whats in the freezer. I aim for at least 2 meals to be vegetarian. I would say at this point that it can be time-consuming, but in a nice way – because of the app I can start or stop the shop whenever I have some spare time and I can add things to it if plans change. I really enjoy it and it pushes me to try at least one new recipe a week. As Nick is an avid meat lover and I had to persuade him to let me do veggie meals, I try to be creative. I tend to think about the meals over the course of a few days and then submit a final order on a Friday, ready for delivery on a Sunday.

4.) Only buying for the week

I very rarely bulk buy. What we buy in a weekly shop is what we eat. We have two small food cupboards in our kitchen that are not full and a lot emptier at the end of each week. The idea behind this is to not hoard and to use everything we have. It also means we save money because we don’t buy random things for “just in case”. The items I do always keep in stock however are: herbs/spices, onions, potatoes, one tin of canned tomatoes, cheese and frozen peas – I figure you can do anything with those if you need to!

5.) Ignoring use by dates

Now I’m not stupid. I wouldn’t put my family (or friends!) at risk and I stick to the dates for meat. But let’s be honest, use by dates can be pants for things like fruit and veg! Especially if you own a decent fridge. So instead I go by sight and smell and common sense. I check the fridge at the end of the week and if there’s a packet of beans I haven’t used still in the fridge and they look good, I’ll incorporate them in to the next week’s set of meals.

6.) Sticking to portions

I’m a bit of a stickler for portion sizes. When we were first married we would quite happily share a tuna pasta bake intended for 4 people plus a garlic baguette. Neither of us benefited from over indulging. Now we have realistic portion sizes and we know beforehand whether there will be leftovers and these are then saved for another meal. A tuna pasta bake and a garlic baguette will now do us 2 meals each!

7.) Using everything

Covered a little bit by number 4 and 5, I generally ensure everything is used up rather than throwing things away. Bits of left over veg are put into soups or cooked and blended to make a pasta sauce for Finn. Overripe bananas are made into pancakes at the weekend or frozen for ice-cream. The chicken carcass is made into stock and then frozen. Slightly stale crumpets are soaked in egg and made into eggy bread.

8.) Making use of the freezer

My freezer is my life saver. It saves me throwing away so much stuff and its perfect for if our plans go out the window and we need to grab something differently. I freeze most of my fresh meat in advance and defrost in the fridge the day before I need it. I bulk make meals for Finn and bag up leftover shredded chicken and stock sauces. I also keep frozen vegetables, fish fillets/fish fingers, chips/potato wedges, ginger, garlic and our bread in there. Theres often a meal in there like a home-made shepherds pie/chilli in case one of us or both of us need an emergency meal.

 

I hope this has been helpful; if you have any questions (or tips!) let me know – I’d love the food chat!

C x

Dealing with my life block…

I had wild plans of whacking out a blog once a week and being super productive, but in real life I hit writer’s block. Or a little more like a life block. It was perhaps premature of me to state the next two blogs I was going to write at the end of the last one, but as this whole blogging thing is a learning curve I don’t mind making the odd mistake! I’d still like to write those blogs but this particular thought feels more valuable to me at the minute.

To backtrack a little, I found the last couple of weeks hard. Finn had a set of jabs, two teeth pop through and a cold and it made him, understandably, miserable, sad and needy. We also had a rare week in the diary with not many plans to see other people. I am in a privileged position to be able to stay at home and look after Finn and generally speaking I love this new chapter of life. But I’ve found that sometimes it can be isolating and the result of these two weeks was me feeling a little lost, unmotivated and lonely. And then a life block happened.

I call a life block anything that stops me functioning as I would like to and in this instance, it’s my phone! I don’t have an unrealistic view of what I can achieve in the day; often I’m still in my pjs at 11 and the washing up is on the side and I’ve scrolled through Facebook 20 times. I’ve also played with Finn, done a food shop, seen friends, put the washing on, paid a bill and cooked 4 separate meals. A life block for me though is when I’m still in my pjs, the washing up is piled high and I’m aimlessly scrolling through my phone. The sense of isolation causes a wildfire panic where I believe that if I stay connected to my phone, I will stay connected to life. The scrolling becomes mind numbing and there’s no engagement. I’m not reading articles and intellectually thinking about them. I’m not using Facebook to make plans and catch up with people on a personal level. I’m not keeping on top of my messages, emails and job lists. Instead my phone has 8 unread text messages, I’m looking at pictures of people I don’t know, I’m reading the comments of strangers and I’m trawling through photos of celebrities. Being on my phone can give me a false sense of connection; feeling like I’m part of something whilst distracting myself from how I really feel. As a side note, writing this makes me feel like it was a lot more dark than it actually was. The truth is, I was ok. I was just having a low couple of days and needed a refocus.

Having refocused,  I’ve processed a few things and the main thought that struck me was that my low points can happen when I loose sight of my true identity. Is my identity a mother? A wife? Is it to be organised, to be creative, to be sporty? When life threw me a curve ball, I didn’t feel like I was being successful at any of those things- my son was unhappy, my husband had a moaning wife and I wasn’t accomplishing anything. Ultimately living out our identity is what we can cling on to when it all feels a bit much and we need a kick up the bum.

So I’ve done a bit of soul-searching. What makes me, me? The never-changing values I hold on to. The components that don’t get lost even if life feels crazy in a bad way or crazy in a good way. The truth that is over my life and not the lies I can tell myself on a bad day. And here they are: I believe in Jesus, faith, community, generosity, mercy and hope and I love reading, learning, helping, cooking and music.

My new fangled (that’s a word right?) plan is to now remember these so that I can draw on them on those days that don’t feel so great. In practice I imagine it to look a little like this: Stuck at home with an upset child: stick on my worship cd. Feeling lonely: reach out to friends, be vulnerable and tell them where I’m at. Lots of housework: give myself a break and pick up a book.  It sounds basic and it might not work but I’m hoping that it’ll help me mentally shift to the things that are life-giving. I also have a personal goal of using my phone 50% less each day. Ironic really.

And that’s the end of my reflection. We all have an identity. A deep-rooted belief system topped with some passions that shape us, encourage us and inspire us. When you know what yours is, hold on to it. Wear it proudly. Keep going back to it. It will get you through the best day and the toughest day.

#winningatlife

p.s. I’ve learnt my lesson, I’m leaving the next blog as a surprise. And don’t worry, not every blog will be as self-focussed as the last 3. I might throw in a much loved recipe or something….

 

 

 

 

 

when your good enough is not good enough

Your good enough will not always be good enough.

And that’s ok.

I am, by very nature, a people pleaser and a praise junkie. I feel my best when everyone is at harmony with me and I know I’m doing well with life, work or motherhood because I’ve been told so. Now there’s nothing wrong with wanting to please people or to be encouraged  but the extreme form can be crippling. As a teenager I could spend hours re-reading text messages, and analysing friends’ perceptions of me. If I thought someone was “off” with me I would avoid them for days.  As an adult I can equally spend silly amounts of time wondering why a friend hasn’t text back or invited me to hang out, or whether a piece of work I produced was ok. It can be tiring and stressful and a joy-stealer. It is also easy for some of the real you to get lost along the way as you attempt to make yourself good enough for all people and all circumstances.

I am, however, married to someone who is the very opposite. Although Nick is great at encouraging people and maintaining solid friendships, receiving praise and feeling a need to please everyone is just not on his wavelength. If I am one end of the spectrum, he is the other.  Shortly after we were married I thanked Nick one evening for washing up, ending with “you’re such a great husband”. He looked me bang in the eye and said “I know”. I stood there for 30 seconds with my mouth wide open, anger rising and ready to give it to him. What kind of person knows they are a good husband without being explicitly told, hey? Well, clearly mine. After a moment we laughed about it and it’s still a running joke between us now. The truth is he is a great husband (….99.9% of the time ) and whilst he still likes me to say it every now and again, he didn’t need me to. He knows he works hard at giving me the very best of himself. In hindsight, I was gobsmacked because I would never have that level of confidence to say out loud the things I’m good at. The truth is I AM a great wife (most of the time!) and if I were to say it out loud to Nick, he would no doubt just agree.

I now need to point out that our weaknesses can also be our strengths. I am a people pleaser and a praise junkie. Despite that (or because of it), I am also an encourager, an affirmer, I have lots of friendships, I say yes as much as possible and I think about how my actions and thoughts may affect people. Nick is thick-skinned and black and white. Despite that (or because of it) he is also authentic, loyal, trustworthy, will never tell a lie and what you see is what you get regardless of who you are or the situation. It is easy to confuse self-love with bragging or being egocentric but we have to love ourselves if we want to weaken our weaknesses and strengthen our strengths.

It has only been in the last year that I have really worked on moving away from an intense need to get everyone to like me and to be able to affirm myself. I’m beginning to accept that sometimes my good enough, won’t be someone else’s good enough. And that’s ok. And that sometimes I won’t be someone else’s cup of tea. And that’s ok. And that sometimes I won’t say the right thing, I won’t do the right thing and I won’t think the right thing. And that’s hard to take.  But it’s still ok. It’s also hugely liberating, life giving and peaceful.

So I now have two rules that I am trying to follow: Is my good enough, good enough for me and is my good enough, good enough for God? By that I mean, do I know that I am trying (trying being the essential word!) to be the best wife, mother, friend, sister, stranger that I can be and do I know that I am trying to be the best daughter of God that I can be.

If you haven’t quite got the message yet it’s this: your good enough will not always be good enough… By somebody else’s standards  And that is absolutely ok.

For those of you that can relate and want to join me on this journey here’s some practical tips that you can pick and choose from:

1. When you get a text/email/call that leaves you unsure of where you stand with your friend/family member/work college set yourself a time limit on how long you are going to think about it for, i.e. 5 minutes. After that time, even if you haven’t replied, take a break and change focus. Put the phone down, move away from the computer, have a drink, go outside. Do something that brings you happiness/calm.

2. Use the time limit about to rationalise and use logic. You might need to write a check list that you can always use. Is this person’s language/style of text/email the same as usual? Do you currently have an underlying issue with this person? Are you struggling with something else in your life that is causing you to be particularly emotional/stressed/anxious? The check list should help you work out quickly if you are just getting lost in thought or if you have reason to feel like something has happened.

3. Write down 3 things each day that you think you do really well as a friend/spouse/sibling/parent. Don’t ask anyone if they agree!!

4. Re-evaluate the things you do with your spare time. Is there anything on that list that makes YOU happy.

5. If you’re anything like me, learn to stop saying sorry when it’s not needed! Think about why you are saying sorry and if it’s needed.

6. If you hold a faith, ask a close friend to pray with you about it.

7. Take some time to think/process why you don’t think you’re good enough- did someone tell you? Are your expectations for yourself too high? Are your expectations for others too low? What motivates you in life? How do you motivate yourself?

8. Protect your heart and treat it with respect. Try to love generously, give grace freely and forgive easily but don’t confuse this with letting people (family included!) have some of your heart regardless of how they treat it. Look at some of your relationships that cause you to feel unnecessarily stressed.

I’ll be doing two follow up blogs to this (it’s a big subject right!)

When your good enough is not good enough for God

Raising children who aren’t praise junkies (This will be based on some research I’ve been doing)

Starting with one

Starting a blog is pretty scary.

I have wanted to write for as long as I can remember but it requires a level of bravery that I didn’t think I had. There are thousands of blogs out there; many with talented, funny, articulate writers who have lots of interesting things to say. I can’t promise any of that! But in my quest to start pursuing new things and old dreams, I can promise a fairly bog standard one that’s heartfelt and honest (and they’re the best right?)

The most daunting part of this was deciding on the name! How do you come up with some cool, quirky, original title that people “get”? It feels very vulnerable; like the name is the door and what’s behind it could be absolute rubbish. But I wanted the name to capture a little bit about why I’m starting this. Aside from always wanting to write, there is a much bigger reason: having accountability.

Being an “ideas” kind of girl, my head flits from one idea, task or thought to the next. I’m creative; not in the painting or drawing kind of way but more in the “how can we make this better” type of way. My head is currently stashed with thoughts on how to be more productive with my time, make our household more ethically minded, live generously off of one salary, and spend more time with God. It often gets boggling and even a simple task can feel out of reach. My theory is that by writing a blog I will be forced to concentrate on just one idea or thought until it is completed. And as part of that, I will be accountable to those reading it to put in my full effort and not check Facebook every 10 minutes.

So I’m starting with one. One thought. One blog. One step.

And starting a blog is still pretty scary.

Discussing it with Nick, I tore myself apart; what if I’m not good enough, too boring, too personal, too quirky or blogging is just not my gifting? What if I loose friends, am laughed at or get trolled? You can see the recurring theme. He gently, as ever, reminded me that sometimes we do things for ourselves and perfection is subjective. A timely reminder that my “good enough” IS good enough. So count this as the warm up blog, the introduction, because I already have my first proper subject: “When your good enough is not good enough”. It will be up on here shortly.