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First blog post

Hiya! Welcome! Fancy a cuppa? 

I’m definitely a cuppa and catch up kind of woman! 

I’m 31, wife, mother of 1 girl, step-mother to 1 boy and 3 young women, and step-grandmother to a very new baby girl. Along with a few very close friends, my family are my world, the centre of which is God. 

I live in Lowestoft, Suffolk, the most easterly town in the UK, so we’re known as the sunrise coast. 

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​If you’re here, it’s probably because you’ve followed a link from Facebook or Instagram, so let me first say thank you!! 

This blog has been a year in the making and, after much soul-searching, I’ve decided that it’s now or never! 

I will be focusing on my life in Christ, but as Jesus is the centre of my life, and everything else spans from Him, the topics will be wide-ranging. It’s worth adding, I’m not about judging or force-feeding my faith to anyone. I’m a caring and sharing kinda person, though, so I want to share with you! 

I’ll be blogging about how I negotiate all of life’s ups and downs, all the while clinging onto the promises God has made and how they help to guide and shape me. I’ll document a much of my journey a possible, from answered prayers to the times when sin takes over. 

No one said the road to Glory would be straight, so stick around and we can negotiate the bends together! 

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Christianity

Preparing for the Harvest

Long. Time. No. Speak. Must do better!

I’ve been so excited recently that I simply had to write a blog about why…

I’m just 17 days away from Spring Harvest 2018 and I could not be more excited!!!

I went to Spring Harvest for the first time last year and I can’t imagine ever not wanting to go back. The experience as a whole was just phenomenal and I’m so grateful to the Lord for blessing my experience there.

So, what IS Spring Harvest?

What AM I going on about??

Spring Harvest is an event organised by Essential Christian, which was started in 1979. It is a teaching and worship event for everybody. It’s a holiday, festival, conference and celebration all rolled into one, and is absolutely an amazing time to get closer to God.

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Where & When?

  • SKEGNESS 2nd – 6th April 2018
  • HARROGATE 3rd – 7th April 2018
  • MINEHEAD (1) 3rd – 8th April 2018
  • MINEHEAD (2) 8th – 12th April 2018

Last year I went to Skegness and, as I’m on the East coast, it made sense to go back there this year. The Skegness event is held at the Butlins resort at Ingoldmells.

I had never been to Butlins before and I was like a kid in a sweet shop, literally, as the sweet shop in the Skyline Pavilion is epic!

As you approach the resort, on the main road, it’s the Skyline that strikes you first. It couldn’t be more aptly named, with its big top peaks that seem to cover a mile! It’s here where the biggest changes are for a Christian event, but I don’t think they’re bad changes. The arcade is put away and the bars are shut, but the area is filled with book stands, charity stalls, and plenty to explore, as well as a number of shops and eateries.

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What & How?

Around 22,000 Christians, of all denominations, will come together, over the 4 events, to take part in an amazing programme of worship, Bible teaching, seminars, workshops, entertainment, and celebration.

There’s a huge variety of accommodation to choose from; From single rooms, to apartments for 6, to seaside apartments, there are levels to suit all budgets and occupancies.

As for the programme of events, you are spoilt for choice.

  • BIG START & ALL AGE – an interactive worship session, with prayer, teaching and great music, aimed at everyone, of all ages, in the ‘Big Top’.
  • BIBLE TEACHING – skilled Bible teachers will deliver world-class lessons through scripture. According to Spring Harvest,

“Each full day there’s a meaty chunk of great teaching from someone who knows the Bible and how to communicate. We start with worship and finish with a short time to reflect. We’ll be looking at different passages from the book of James in order to piece together the different aspects of discipleship that are so crucial as we walk with God.”

  • SESSIONS – a vast choice of sessions, usually 2 slots each afternoon, that will explore practical application of scriptural lessons.
  • CELEBRATION – Whatever your age and worship preference, there is something for everyone; a fantastic way to encounter God at the end of a day of fun and learning, in a range of styles, with a range of skilled leaders and speakers. Spring Harvest says,

Gather with thousands in the main venue, worship in a smaller alternative meeting, join the informal all-age celebration, or find quiet space in the prayer room.”

  • ENTERTAINMENT – after the evening celebration, the fun doesn’t stop, as there’s a range of after-hours entertainment on offer, with music, comedy and fellowship.

  • YOUTH AND CHILDREN – whether your kids are 3 months or 18 years old, there’s a programme specially designed with them in mind. These run at the same time as the adult sessions, so you can relax knowing your children are learning and having fun. As well as the morning programme, you can join together as a family at the Big Start and All-age celebration. For kids aged 8+, there is also an evening celebration specifically for them.

  • TELEVISED EVENTS – can’t get to main events because of health and family situations? There’s no need to worry about missing out as everything is televised directly to your room. This was particularly handy for the mornings when my body wasn’t keen to get going quickly!

As well as this incredible programme, all the resort’s amenities are available including:

  • Splash Waterworld – the ultimate family waterpark with sub-tropical temperatures.
  • Fairground
  • Play areas
  • Football ground
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Climbing wall*
  • Adventure Golf*
  • Archery*
  • Beach Volleyball*
  • Aerial Adventure*
  • Ten Pin Bowling*
  • Go Karts*
  • Quasar*
  • Spa*
  • Cinema*

*extra costs apply

There are several dining areas, which come with specific dining packages (food court dining or premium dining), or there are a few restaurants to try on-site as well including:

  • Firehouse Grill
  • Ludo’s Italian
  • Rock & Sole (Fish & Chips)
  • Beachcomber Inn (family favourites for breakfast, lunch or dinner)
  • Burger King
  • Skyline CafΓ©

I didn’t choose a dining package as we had a self-catering apartment, but those who did were thoroughly impressed with the choice and quality of the food.

Within the Skyline and around the resort there are also a number of shops and stands, including:

  • Soho Coffee Co.
  • Scoop Ice Cream Parlour
  • Proper Cornish
  • Seaside Treats Stand
  • The Front Room (coffee & snack bar)
  • Shake Bar
  • Butlins The Store
  • Spar Supermarket
  • Toybox Toy Shop
  • Mega Treats Sweet Shop
  • Puppet Castle

There’s just so much to do that you could easily stay for a month and not get bored. To be honest, I wish I could!

I’ll definitely need to keep my caffeine stocks up to keep going, so when I saw this cork-covered travel cup in Aldi for Β£3.49, I just had to grab it! I was told that a travel cup is a must and wished I’d had one last year!

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WHO?

Each year, Spring Harvest has a vast range of experiences leaders and speakers who deliver powerful talks on important topics, helping to expand the Church community and help us encounter God.

Here’s the inside scoop on some of the incredible people involved with this year’s event at Skegness.

  • Jeff Lucas – International author, speaker and broadcaster, who is passionate about equipping the Church with biblical, practical Bible teaching with vulnerability and humour. He splits his time between teaching in Colorado and working in England, and will be delivering Bible teaching at this year’s Spring Harvest.
  • Anne Carver – Church leader at London School of Theology, who is passionate about people encountering Jesus and becoming all they can in Him.
  • Dr. Krish Kandiah – Founder & Director of Home for Good, Vice President for Tearfund, and on the faculty at Regents Park College, Oxford University. He has wife and 6 children, is a champion for fostering and adoption, and advocacy for refugees. He is also author of 10 books, including, “Paradoxology: Why Christianity Was Never Meant to Be Simple.”
  • Tania Bright – Committed to community renewal through relationships, reform and innovation. With a FTSE100 background and 15 years in ministry, Tania invests in high impact organisations. She is also adoptive mother of 2.
  • Cathy Madavan – Speaker and author of, “Digging for Diamonds”, she speaks across the UK and writes for Liberti Magazine, CWR, and BRF. She loves communicating creatively and connecting with people.
  • Gavin Calver – Director of mission for the Evangelical Alliance, helping to mobilise missions across England. He is passionate about seeing the Church take the Gospel to the community.
  • Rob Parsons – Author of “The Wisdom House”, which is filled with life lessons. He is the Founder and Chairman of Care for the Family, a national charity that aims to strengthen family life.
  • Hea Woo – came to faith in China after her husband died in a martyr prison. After becoming an evangelist, she was arrested and nearly died in prison. She was sent to a labour camp where she brought many others to faith and survived to share her experience and love of Christ with others.
  • Ian Henderson – has a passion for seeing the Church reach those who are out-of-reach, church leader, Director of mission for The Message Trust, CEO of Vision Ministries, removing social obstacles to bring people to Jesus.
  • Bishop Paul Butler – the Bishop of Durham since 2014, previously of Southwell & Nottingham and Southampton, and was a member of the House of Lords. He visits Rwanda, Lesotho and Burundi regularly. He represents the bishops in matters affecting children, welfare and refugees. Paul is married to Rosemary with four adult children.
  • Angela Perigo – born in the USA, raised across 3 continents, before returning to Dallas to study Theology and Advanced Pastoral Leadership, then completed her MA in organisational Leadership and became ordained. She carries a wide range of ministering across gender, age and denomination. She moved to London in 2013 and now works in the London School of Theology, bringing hope, joy and challenging the status quo. She has a husband, Jeremy, 3 young daughters, and a love of good coffee!

Why?

Why not just go to Butlins at any time of year? Why not just go to a Christian conference locally? What’s so special about Spring Harvest?

Quite simply, the feeling!

Pulling up to check-in on that first day, I knew this was something special… So many cars! So many smiley faces!! Instantly, everything seemed relaxed and exciting all at the same time. Later, after unpacking in the apartment and familiarising myself with the surroundings, I headed into the ‘Big Top’ for the first time. I don’t know that I can do it justice with words… As I walked in and saw how huge it was, how many people were going to be in there (it was still filling up) and seeing the stage and the band, it felt electrifying; the atmosphere pickling with a vibrancy – undoubtedly the Holy Spirit. Soon the tent was full and I could’ve cried and cried with how amazing it felt. Thousands of Christians, from all denominations, from all over the country, coming together in worship.

Pure JOY!

Over the course of the five days, 3 of which were full says, packed with teaching and worship, I encountered God like never before and learnt more about the Church than ever before. The most important lesson I took away from last year’s One For All theme was from the Archbishop Sentamu. He described the Church as a bicycle wheel. Every spoke of the wheel is a different denomination, some far-removed from others, with vary different approaches, but all spokes lead to the same centre, in this case: Jesus Christ. As long as the focus remains on Him, then the Church is united. One Church, one Faith, one Salvation through Jesus Christ.

This year’s theme is all about discipleship.

ONLY THE BRAVE

“The everyday life of a disciple is an adventure. We face hundreds of decisions daily and the right choices are often the most difficult. God calls us to choose the costly life of following Christ. It takes sacrifice and courage. It takes perseverance. We will need robust minds, passionate hearts and active hands as we inch towards our great reward.

We do none of this alone. Using the book of James,we’ll explore what it is to live a life of determined discipleship and give a rallying cry to join the everyday adventure that lies ahead. We are discipled to make disciples. We get one chance at this life – let’s live it.”

These words from Spring Harvest make me feel so excited about what this year event hold.

There is still accommodation available for all breaks. To book phone Butlins on 0330 1009330, or visit Spring Harvest Bookings. There are also day passes available.

I can promise it’s an experience like no other and if you are looking to grow in your faith and/or relationship with God, it’s a must!

Body Positivity, Christianity, Identity, Life's Struggles, Musings

I Answer Only To Him

I had a horrible and confusing experience yesterday, represented perfectly by this….

This little pot, filled with jumbo oats, bran, sunflower seeds, chairman seeds, sesame seeds, and linseed, was given to me out of kindest and concern for my wellbeing, that I might try it this morning for breakfast and begin to make changes that will benefit my health.

So, why is that such a horrible thing? It sounds perfectly nice.

The thing is, the person who gave me this pot, also gave me some advice, and spoke to me for quite some time, but I hadn’t asked her to. In fact, I’d only just met her. I’d only been in her company for a few minutes. In that time she found me a chair so I could sit down. She checked five or six chairs before settling for one that she felt was right. For a moment I felt like Goldie Locks! Then I realised what she was doing, and she confirmed this by using two words that left me stunned…

She was making sure it was “sturdy enough” first.

What do you say? How do you react? With anger? With disgust? Should I have stormed out, or shouted at her for being so rude? After all, she hadn’t even asked me my name, or told me hers for that matter! She knew nothing about me, but within a minute had decided that I was “fat”.

She had defined my being by that one adjective. All that I am and all that I could be was irrelevant: the fact that I am a wife and mother, my flare for all things theatrical (which should have been obvious to her as the reason I was there in the first place was to sing!), my love of nature, all my dreams and hopes, all that I feel and think…

She had wrapped it all up in a simplistic and narrow-minded bundle. To her, I was just fat… A fat woman in danger of breaking her chairs and it was her responsibility to save me from myself.

So, how did I react? I listened, I nodded, I smiled, I even thanked her when she gave me a sample of her ever-so-healthy breakfast recipe!
Afterwards, I felt really upset and wondered why I hadn’t stood up for myself; why had I just let her talk at me?

I didn’t fully grasp why at the time. I just thought I was responding out of politeness.
I only realised when I was putting my daughter to bed.

At church she had been given a book as an end-of-year present from her Sunday school group; a beautiful story from Max Luciano called, “You Are Special”; a story about wooden people called, “The Wemmicks” who live by labelling people as bad or good, acceptable or not, by giving them stickers, stars for the good and dots for the bad. When poor Punchinello, who is covered with dots, goes to see his Maker Eli, he learns a very valuable lesson…

After speaking with his maker, he doesn’t fully grasp what he has been told, but the words start to take effect…

This really hit me. I realised why I had reacted the way I did.
I reacted out of faith; faith that allows me to see myself as God sees me…
All those amazing things that make me, me….
All the flaws and all the faults…

I am a child of God. I answer only to Him. All else is material. Nothing else matters

No person can be defined by only one word.
No person can be defined by one action, or a bad first impression.

I won’t judge her for the way she acted, and I won’t allow myself to be defined by her opinion.

I am a work in progress…
But most important of all…

I am His.

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“But You Don’t Look like a Christian!”Β 

That’s something that’s been said to me several times.

But what does a Christian look like?

I spoke to my godmother recently about this subject. She made me realise that whilst there are people who has said misconceptions, there is also an important element to consider for Christians… One should always be able to tell that you are Christian-like because of how you behave, and therefore shouldn’t be surprised. This made me really think and is absolutely something I will pray hard about.

I was driving along today and came to a junction. I realised as I pulled away that I hadn’t indicated the direction I was going to take (big no, no!), but I thought it was probably obvious from the way my car was positioned. This immediately sparked something in my brain. I could have indicated, but my position on the road made my intentions obvious. THIS is exactly what it should be like for someone gauging if you are Christian or not. I shouldn’t have to indicate it to you, because if I’m truly doing my Lord justice, my godly ways should show my position in the road and be indication enough of where I want to go.

I can’t change the misconceptions that the world portrays about those who follow Jesus, but I can certainly show those around me what it looks like to be a person who loves Him.

I decided long ago to give up control, although it’s not always easy, but with a firm voice and an open heart, I said, “Jesus, take the wheel!”

Christianity, Identity, Musings

Happy Easter! Let Them Eat Cake?Β 

Two years ago, a friend offered me a slice of cake. I had tried it when I was a lot younger and hadn’t really liked it very much but, being typically British, I always want to appear polite, so I gave it a try.
To my surprise, I actually quite liked it, so I tried another slice not long after. It wasn’t just that I liked it, it was actually making me feel good…amazing, in fact. My friend introduced me to lots of other people who liked cake too. I couldn’t believe how many different people loved it! Doctors, lawyers, teachers, and dentists like cake. Accountants, geologists, civil servants, and vets like cake! It wasn’t just cake to them either; it had changed their lives.

The thing is, not many of my friends like cake and I’ve always been wary of offering them some if it meant them feeling awkward. I’ve also struggled over the past two years to not fall back into old habits of eating other things that aren’t good for me at all; the things that make me feel like I’ve lost something, rather than gained. It will always be a struggle, but it’s absolutely worth it. I know it’s not everyone’s thing… Cake… But, if you were to ask me the recipe, I would gladly share it with you. Although, I’ll never force you to eat it. It doesn’t work that way. I can give you the recipe or offer you a slice, but you would have to decide for yourself that you were going to try it.

It really is a special cake though. It has the power to completely change your life. Never would I have ever imagined just how much that first slice of cake would change mine.

Last week I got to spend time learning more about cake with 4000 other people who love it. It was an amazing experience.

Spring Harvest 2017 – Skegness, UK

So, why am I babbling on about cake, other than the fact that I do really like cake?
Well, it’s not really cake that changed my life… Β  Β  Β  Β  Re-read this post from the beginning, but replace the word “cake” with the name, “Jesus”… You see, cake isn’t anything to be concerned by or wary of, but for some reason it’s far easier to avoid Jesus.

I’m starting this blog, finally, that will detail my walk with Christ so far and continue with the daily joys and trials I face.

Becoming a Christian isn’t the end, it is merely the beginning of a very hard road, but it’s a road that leads to Glory. Nothing worth doing has ever been easy and, if becoming a Christian meant that I became perfect, that wouldn’t be half as interesting.

Like I said, Β force-feeding helps no one, but if you’re interested in how I feel about the things I’ve learnt and encountered, as well as learning more through scripture and literature, I’d love to show you. I will endeavour to answer any questions you might have, or point you in the directions of many people who can. I want to be able to show people that there are many misconceptions about walking with Christ and that my journey is far from easy. That cake though… It really is absolutely incredible. Who would’ve thought that a slice of cake could save a life.

P. S. I know cake’s not good for you really, but Jesus is! And I love Him way more than cake!

Happy Easter!