Thursday, 1 February 2018

My month without Facebook

Fasting -is a willing abstinence or reduction from some or all fooddrink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast or dry fasting is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period, usually a period of 24 hours, or a number of days. Water fasting allows drinking water but nothing else. Other fasts may be partially restrictive, limiting only particular foods or substances. A fast may also be intermittent in nature. Fasting practises may preclude intercourse and other activities as well as food.Well that's what wiki says. The bible mentions 3 kinds of fasting - 
  • Absolute Fast: No food or water.
  • Normal Fast: Abstaining from food.
  • Partial Fast: Daniel’s fast – abstaining from meat, sweets, bread or you can only eat bread.
  • We were called to fast over January. Immediately i felt God press upon me to fast Facebook. It may seem strange to some but social media, activities and other things that take up your time instead of spending time with God is a good thing to fast from time to time. I didn't question it. I pondered on how much time i actually spend on Facebook. Here are the scenarios - 

    - After i read my bible app in the morning, i like to see my Facebook memories.- when i come back from swimming i may have a little look to see who is about. - lunchtime, i would sit down and have my lunch, watch some TV and look at fb.- instagram pictures and link to fb- when the kids get home from school i can find myself looking whist stirring the mac cheese in the pan.- once the kids go to bed and we've had dinner, i will while away the times dropping in and out of fb.- bedtime, a quick look on fb before I sleep.

    Now this is just a random list of when i would look or could look. I am not saying that I actually did this everyday. But maybe I did?. I sat down on the last day of December and scrolled through fb and pondered long and hard.What was I going to miss?. Family and friends that live abroad. Yes. This is a genuine yes. Anything else?. Posting on my kids church page...... this is something i could get someone else to look at for a while. Ok, I thought. What am I not going to miss?Friends (and i use that word loosely) moaning and airing out all their dirty laundry to dry.Constant requests for silly games that i never have time to play (AS I HAVE A LIFE)Reminders for events that I never want to attendThe random food pictures of what people are having for dinner (yes i am also guilty of that)The weather updates from 20 people all saying the same thing - Its cold, its too hot, its snowing!!!I can't do this I said to myself. Its not going to be hard since the things I might miss list is much smaller than the NOT list. 

    I wanted breakthrough in my life, in my world. I wanted direction from God on where i was going and what i was supposed to do. I wanted to fast as i believed that getting closer to God and putting aside something that had gotten in the way was the best way to get the breakthrough that I desperately needed. Facebook had been in my life for 13 years and it was time to not only fast but to break the cycle. 

    So here I sit at my desk on the 1st February and how to I feel? Did I do it?. Have I looked on fb?Well let me first tell you, I didn't rush to fb as soon as my fast was over. It also wasn't because i had forgotten. I remembered that i could go on it but I thought.... Meh. I don't need this straight away. But I have looked. I looked about half an hour ago. I deleted all the rubbish that had been posted on my wall. Deleted the silly messages that I had been tagged in. And saw that 60 of my friends had wished me a Happy Birthday. Which was very nice, thank you. But I felt dirty that i had been on fb. I didn't see anything positive in the few minutes that I was on there. 

    You see people and I include myself in that, people have got so used to being on FB and thinking that what they see is real. People only post the best pictures, their best sides, unless they want to moan that that is generally seeking some other kind of attention. People think that they can hide behind the social media that is fb and not venture out into the real world. What happened to RELATIONSHIPS?. You actually have to spend time with someone to build a relationship. Its like a dating app. You all look great on the screen. A perfect match. But that doesn't mean that you should meet up and get married. That just wouldn't happen straight away. You would spend time with that person and build a relationship with them. Get to know them face to face. Now I am not slating dating apps, or any apps for that matter. I am just saying that if people stick to social media for their every need then they are going to be disappointed as online you are missing the social bit and only getting the media bit. 

    So what have I taken away personally from this time away from one (if not the) of the biggest social media outputs?. 1- I am not re installing fb on my phone2 - I am and will continue to spend time with people and make new friends face to face3 - I will look at Facebook, when i can be bothered, not because i am bored.4 - The extra time that i have will be (and has been) spent, reading books.So on conclusion to my month off fb. Is it all bad?. No, it can be a great tool to - make quick connections (then arrange to meet up) Keep up with family living miles away, catch up with old school chums, sell stuff , be notified when kids cubs or guides change whats going on, school mum's page, church page and lots more. But I'm saying all in moderation. Get out there and breath the air, chat to people, make new friends and catch up with old friends. Connect and appreciate that we can have relationships with other humans. Don't shut yourself away and struggle with things on your own. The enemy loves that. Connect with someone who will listen on fb and meet up. 

    And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

    Hebrews 10:24-25

    Mrs Christmas

    Its the Christmas month. My favourite time of year. To some of my friends i am known as Mrs Christmas as i just love it so much.
    But this year. Im just not feeling it.
    We've watched our town lights been switched on. Picked our tree and even seen Father Christmas, yet nothing is stirring inside of me.
    Ive made a Christmas cake, spiced Christmas sticky ginger cake, mince meat for pies and printed my own Christmas cards...... yet nothing.
    Jingles our elf arrived on the 1st of December and I've been moving him around and doing funny Christmas tricks with him for the kiddos. Yes i feel so down.

    Hey i know that Christmas is all about Jesus. He is the reason for the season.  But I'm talking about the other stuff. The glitz and sparkle, the magic of Christmas. The feeling that you get inside that is exciting and intense and warm and fuzzy.
    But I'm plodding through the days feeling sad and unappreciated. Making school lunches and dinner and feeling overwhelmed by all the things that i need to do.

    As i sit here writing, snuggled up in a big oversized hoody and slippers warming my feet, i am surrounded by Christmas lights, a bench full of Christmas cards drying, and the smell of winter spice from my candle, unlit on my desk. Outside it is cold and grey. I can see the postman wrapped up warm with a red bag double his usual size bulging at his side. He pops a parcel down my neighbours side alley as they are not in. He hasn't time to stop and knock on someone else door and ask them to take it in for him. Its the busiest time of the year and he is in a rush and no extra pay to deliver twice as much.
    No parcel for me today. No parcels for me any days. I love mail. I love post being delivered through my door.

    The knock on my door and the rustle of my Christmas wreath send and exciting wave through my chest as i skip to see what has arrived.
    Parcels for my husband or an order i have made for someone else.
    Post is magical. But now technology has taken over. No one writes letters anymore. No one has time to write letters or cards.
    Christmas cards become fewer each year even though your friends list becomes larger. No one has time to write cards.
    A quick email and sometimes a 'what we got up to this year' email comes through to my email.
    I bought 2 books of Christmas stamps last week. The price of those were crazy. I will send a few Christmas cards to family not near and pop on a Christmas stamp with Father Christmas on the front. My cards are so small so a quick hello and Merry Christmas will fit. Then a quick lick of the stamp and into the postbox they will go. My duty done.

    I don't know how to get out of this funk!. My Christmas mojo has gone and i don't know where to find it.
    My energy levels are low as I'm stumbling through each day almost falling into one another.

    Monday, 6 November 2017

    God Dreams

    So i haven't posted in such a long time but i have genuine reasons.
    Firstly i have started my degree course. I have just received my feedback from my print tutor and it couldn't have gone any better.
    I got my creative writing feedback a few weeks ago and that was also really good. A good start all around.

    Kids church which i head up has been hectic of late. Not enough team and a light party to organise. But yesterday 9 kids gave their lives to Jesus!!! Yessssss.

    We got back from visiting my new Nephew yesterday in Manchester. Oh gosh he is so scummy i could have eaten him up.

    And this coming Saturday i have organised an Art Festival.

    This has been a dream that i have had with God for a long time and it is actually happening. I have organised it all myself. Its been quite a task. So this week i will be getting all my prints ready and making sure everything is ready for Saturday. Its all in his hands now. I have done my part so now i trust in God that it goes well and the festival reaches the right people. And we all make lots of money for Christmas. 

    Thursday, 20 July 2017

    Today is the best day. (Praise report)

    So about 3 weeks ago i felt God lead me towards applying for a degree. Someone at my Studio mentioned the OCA - Open college of the Arts
    God normally gives me little nudges like this and i am obedient even though i don't know where it may lead me.
    I was then really challenged with being Joyfully Expectant.
    I had one of my fortnightly meetings with my Pastor and i was really wrestling with feeling expectant in God.
    In my natural ways i mentally plan to being let down. I think i won't get it or I'm not good enough and this prepares me for when i do get let down and then i won't feel as bad.
    This however doesn't even work.
    If i get let down i still feel totally rubbish,( even knowing that this is Gods plan) and cry and cry. real nasty, ugly tears, by myself and still question why God makes me go through these kind of things.

    So both me and my lovely Pastor (and good friend) prayed about being joyful and expectant.
    God doesn't want us to expect the worst when he clearly has the best for us.
    When has he ever let me down?. Never.
    He always has the best for me.
    If i look back at jobs that i have wanted and not got...... it was always because God had a better plan for my life.

    God gives me jobs and opportunities to go for to stretch me. So that i seek out his guidance and he can point me in the right direction.
    I hear the other day that an elastic band is useless if its not stretched.
    If God didn't stretch me. I would be pretty useless, as its in those times of stretching. That i grow and lean on him.
    He doesn't want us to do life on our own, relying on our own judgement. He wants to have a relationship with us. So that we chat to him and listen to him pointing us to the right path/direction.

    Psalm 16:11

    You will make known to me the path of life; In your presence is fullness of joy; In your right hand there are pleasures forever.

    So a couple of weeks ago, we prayed that i would joyfully await whether or not i would be given finance to do a degree.
    Its not like God can't afford for me to go. Money is nothing to him.
    But it was in the waiting and listening to whether God wants me to go that path or if he has something else for me.

    I buried the doubt. I didn't think the worst. I waited JOYFULLY and EXPECTANT for the good things to come.

    God wants the best for me.

    Today i got an email saying that i have been offered finance and have been accepted to do a degree with The Open College of the Arts.

    Can't quite believe it. Feeling elated, JOYFUL and shocked. And sooo sooo happy. A part of me is jumping in the air.

    God is so in the little details.
    So this also happened today -
    I won 3 prizes in my studio raffle
    I got given a huge Thank you card from my sons class for helping out this year. All the kids wrote little cards each and stuck them on:)
    I prayed for a car park space at the sports park as my kids had swimming lessons. They had a massive school outdoor comp on and the guy showing people to spaces said to me - you can go in and look but there is no space.
    I got one straight away...... and at the front.
    My trainers arrived that i bought. I was told they won't be delivered until next week when i am away. And they arrived. Today. As God wanted to remind me of something -

    His promises are always faithful and true.

    Jeremiah 29:11
    For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

    Monday, 10 July 2017

    Summer Exhibition

    Exhibition time. Details below. Come check it out and try your hand at printing. 

    Monday, 26 June 2017

    So much doing and so little time

    Its been a while since i blogged last. I feel that so much has been going on. I will try and fill you in.

    I painted a 2 sided mural for my kiddos school on a gazebo. I thought that it wasn't going to be a big job but it was in fact a massive job and quite tiring. It took me 3 days to do the parent side and 1 day to do the reception kids side.

    This is the parents side. I was given 90 flowers designed by the kids in class and asked to paint flowers on the board. I chose as many as i could. I think about 30 in the end. If i had chosen anymore i would have been painting for weeks. The sun is our school logo which i painted in gold. If you look really closely you can see my sausage dog 'Jedi' running on the hill away from the rain.

    The other side -
    They asked me to do a theatre scene. So i painted chalk paint and curtains so that the children could draw their own designs. This space is used for dressing up so i think it works really well.

    I have been super busy in the studio and have in recent weeks gone back to screen printing. But this time on paper.
    Heres one -
     Rocky shores

    I borrowed a photograph from a friends instagram. As i looked at it, it reminded me that life has quite a few rocks in it. Things aren't always smooth running and it can be hard to walk in hard time. 
    God is the calm sea in the distance. He is reachable. And if we wait then the tide comes in and we can float and not tread on the rocks. In other words. Lean on God always and the hard stuff, doesn't seem as hard. 

    I also did a new drypoint etching - 

    You have a new Roar

    Your new roar is not a loud and over bearing roar but its a quite and controlled and powerful roar. 
    This print has a real gold leaf crown. 

    Both prints can now be found in my Etsy shop 

    I am busy organising kids clubs that run over august within my church. There are 5 clubs that are for free. It is a big job but it is coming together  nicely. 

    I had a meeting the other day with a lady from a church in the centre of my town. I am now in the process of organising at Art Festival that will be in November. So lots of lovely Christians are coming together to sell their wares in time for Christmas. 
    This is one of my God dreams. To gather Christian artists together. What a powerful thing this is going to be. 
    Selling prophetic art in time for Christ - mas. 

    Thats it for now. Im back in the studio tomorrow printing a new print that i have been sketching on mark resist ready for printing. I am really excited about this one. 

    God bless