It’s not often you get the chance to stop.  To really stop.  Even when I’ve been forced to lie in bed with lots of ice on my back, I worked from my laptop.  And then I’d hear the girls sqeal, either out of joy or distress and I’d force my non-cooperative back up out of bed and towards the source of the noise.  There has been a couple of times over the past year that The Husband had encouraged me to go and spend a few days at my parens in the Yorkshire Dales.  Evertime there was always a hundred reasons not to pursue it.

But when we talked about it a couple of weeks ago he didnt need to ask me twice.  After driving to and from Wales last weekend we both new my back would need to catch up with itself.  I knew I could do with a little rest.  No driving.  No picking Ruby up.  No supermarkets. No laundry.  No flying around from one place to the next.  So on Tuesday I met my mam at Lancaster and she drove me over the moors to their house.

I’ve been spoilt, sleeping in until my body told me it had enjoyed enough rest.  I’ve read no emails and done no work; trying to forget for a few short days how much work I have on before Christmas.  I’ve knitted and I’ve sewed.  I’ve read a book and fallen in love with Downton Abbey.  I’ve taken the time to think back over the previous weekend in Wales with 30 or so very awesome people, trying to tie-down memoried before they have the chance to float away.

I don’t take one second of this time for granted.  I’ve not rested like this in seven years and I know people have gone far longer who perhaps need it more.  Why do we not value rest enough?  We argue it slows us down but surely doesn’t it keep us going longer?  My physiotherapist asked me how often I alloted time in the day to rest my back – not including those times I am forced to rest through pain.  I stared at him a while, knowing if I didn’t look away I’d soon not be able to see him through the tears.  I didn’t need to say a word.  When he asked me why, I launched into a babble of justification as a mother, as a home maker, as a wife and as an employee.  Stopping when you didn’t need to is unthinkable right?

The next few minutes flipped all of this upside down and inside out.  He told me that I need to see resting as part of my physio plan each day, and it was what would strengthen up my body more than any stretch or exercise.  I always saw rest as the absense of action.  In music a rest is the absence of a musical note.  In working out, a rest is the absense of movement.  Surely?

Now I see rest as so much more than that – maybe everyone has always seen it and I’ve just been ridiculously ignorant of it.  There is always so much going on behind the scenes during any kind of rest.  A drawing of breath in music.  A regulating of the heart in working out.  It’s absolutely neccessary.  There is purpose in rest – it makes everything more efficient.

I will never be one to be comfortable with prolonged absence of activity.  I’m way too impatient and impulsive.  But, even forgetting the recovery from my back injury and thinking about life in general, I recognise that short bursts of regular rest  (I’m talking even five minutes to flick through a magazine or just sit for a while in quietness), should almost certainly make me a more patient mother and wife and more effective in everything I try to do.

Do you need a little rest?




Rested and Recharged.

(this post was written last week but Windows Live Writer was not my friends that day so I’ve had to shift some of the present tense stuff to past tense now just for it to make sense!)

We were nearing the end of our break.  The Husband will only relax when we’re away so when the option came up for a few extra days there it was a no brainer. 

It’s was awesome.  How crazy warm has it been?!  We tried to be creative and intentional with our time; keeping the balance of relaxing and making memories.

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We came home rested and recharged.

There was lots to look forward to when we came home.  Roo’s birthday was yesterday.  4 years old.  Yes 4.  She’s taking it in her stride, as she does with everything.

As shallow as it is, I can’t wait just to finish kitchen and the living room.  Our downstairs has been in upheaval all this year, and we’re soooooo close.  just a bit of painting here and sanding there and job will be a good’n.

I’m one of those saddos that always loved the beginning of the school year.  All those fresh crisp exercise books, sharpened pencils and new starts.  I still love them and make I have a habbit of forming a list of ‘resolutions’ as it feels just as much a start of a year than January to me.  But for Roo this year is an epic one.  Her very fist start of the school year.  Uniform and all.  Which reminds me that we’re yet to sort these out because we’ve been away…oops. It’s the beginning of an era for Roo and also for me; childless between the hours of 9.00-3.00 for the first time in six years.  No doubt I’ll be as crazy busy and rushing to be on time of everything as much as I’ve always been since I crashed into motherhood.

Since the summer our family has eaten stodgy, fatty, sugary goodness for breakfast, lunch and tea.  And in between.  So September will bring another season along with autumn; the season of healthy eating.  I’m not sure how long this season will last, but we’re all partaking in it!  Our house may be enjoying the freshness of new paint and new carpet but they’re wont be a sweet treat in the house! Uh, great.

The husband and I are bursting with ideas to weave into the kids and youth ministry into the year ahead, and more exciting is the load of ideas that have come from members of our team.  Youth work naturally runs alongside the school calendar, and since ‘employment-wise’ we started last September and we have been through the four seasons of a years’ youth work, so this feels a bit like the second chapter.  By the grace of God alone we’ve seen some awesome stuff so far and so we’re expectant of what is yet to come.




Life is fast, right?


My lower back and legs are slowly getting stronger and I’ve started decreasing the pain medication.  I get to do normal things now, but I know I do too much.  For the life of me I cannot find my ‘in moderation’ button.  So many people that that we do life with and that love us have comment on how much we take on – and they do it with ‘that concerned look’ on their face.  And I’d probably do exactly the same if I wasn’t me, but someone else who knew me…(I’m not even sure how that works – but do you see what I mean?!).  I’ve wrestled with it for so long, uncomfortable with not being able to ‘do less’.  But for now, until I find that ‘in moderation button, I’m coming to peace with my pace.  And being at peace with it means doing what I can to make it work and taking responsibility for myself as well as my family.  So although I can be ‘spirited’ when The Husband tries to tell me what to do (I’m working on that!) I thought he might be onto something yesterday when he suggested I had a morning in bed and just stop.

Chloe woke up at silly o’clock which is now unusual for her now and out of fear of her waking Roo up I told her to jump into bed with us.  I tried to doze but every other minute she was tickling my nose or sticking her fingers in my ears.  By the time they were getting dressed and I’d done their hair I was wide awake, uh! Don’t you just hate it when that happens?? It wasn’t a morning wasted though and I disciplined (!!) myself to ignore all the jobs that needed doing floating around in my head.

If you do life in the fast lane, there has to be a time to stop for a moment – stop everything that ‘needs’ to be done.  For a little while, everything can wait.  These moments (or mornings, or a snatched hour) need to be scheduled in – for me they do anyway or it doesn’t happen and i keep on going and going and going…..!

Stopping can be snuggling back into bed for an hour, picking up an untouched book or a magazine, going for a walk (if you can avoid all the rain!).  Anything.  It reminds you that even you needs a little TLC and at the risk of sounding like a Loreal advert – it reminds you that you’re worth it.  And that in itself lifts you, right? 

In Psalm 46 it says

“Be still and know that I am God…”

Doing can be great.  Trust me I am a doer.  An impulsive doer at that so watch out.  But the way we think, the direction we’re heading in and our focus has the potential to explode when we just stop.  When we’re still.  In the quiet place.

No matter how crazy busy my life is, no matter all I’m trying to do; when I ‘m still, and I look up, and I know that He is God, everything stops.  Because, although I trust that God increases my capacity as he increases my territory, it’s not about how much I do or what I achieve. Thank goodness for that because I’d flat out fail.  But God’s grace is sufficient for me – blimey it more than sufficient for me.

And that’s where I find rest.


Last week my mum came over and together we (and my two girls) drove back to my parents cottage in Yorkshire for some serious R&R.  On Friday I slept until ridiculously late and also managed to fit in an afternoon sleep.  The girls were just happy to be there so I was able to do a lot of this…

and making a lovely bum imprint on this…..

The girls and I shared a bed again and it literally was the little one saying roll over.

The Husband drove over on saturday after enjoying a nice lie in himself (bliss!!). He remembered a chat we recently had about there being very few photos of me and he thought he’d remedy that problem.


Nice.  Me at my best.

The short break must have worked because, although my back still hurts I felt my energy had been renewed.  I have figured that I could very easily stare at my the circumstances, [the pain and frustration around my back] but I’m choosing to remember Jesus in everything – in my family, in my awesome job, in my rest and in my creative frustrations.

[My friends [lightly] tease me because I knit and because I keep trying to convince everyone that since we were made by the ultimate creator, and that it says we are made in the image of him, then it seems only logical and natural for us to be creative in some way.  There are so many outlets for creative energy I just can’t imagine anyone not being able to find one that fits them.  Anyway, I digress.  So I’m often creatively frustrated be because the mass of ideas in my head far outweigh the time and capacity I have to nurture them.  So I have bought a notebook and at very least I can scribble down and try to unravel my thoughts, my ideas and my dreams.  I reckon it’s very healthy to have dreams – [though it is so important to keep them in perspective] – both tiny dreams, easy to catch, and seriously mahoosive dreams that motivate you to work hard and laugh hard.]

Matt Redman wrote these words that, after reading them today, realigned my mind and heart.

God in my hoping

There in my dreaming

God in my wathcing

God in my waiting

God in my laughing

There in my weeping

 God in my hurting

God in my healing


Yesterday morning was heaven. Apart from the sick child lying next to me on the sofa. But hey, she gave me the glorious morning so it didn’t do much to dampen it. Waiting for a delivery and a sick child really does give you the excuse to stay at home on the sofa reading blogs and knitting whilst cuddling a cute and snotty little creature. I would have done housework but The husband instructed, no – demanded that I do what I can to rest my poor painful trapped sciatic nerve. I’m only being an obedient wife.

I’m pretty sure I’m not only mum that longs for just a little bit of time out. That’s the irony of us putting our kids on time out when they’ve been naughty – I’d be naughty for some of that! Not a lot, just a little bit would do. So when that little bit comes along you run at it gleefully ready to embrace it. And embrace it I did this morning. Then I was raring to go. Bring on the laundry, bring on the tidying up, bring on sweeping and wiping. Unless it’s The Husband reading this, and then I was totally resting.

The poor little snotty creature lying next to me armed with a roll of toilet paper passed me a handful of the (clean) toilet paper and asked to make her a model. It’s the least I could do. I was quietly confident that I could make quite a few shapes – a banana, or a ball, or at a push and shot of creativity even a heart. She asked for a pirate ship.

patience is a virtue???

I’ve spent the last 28 years taking my bum for granted. I never fully appreciated what it’s like to sit down pain-free. I now vow to cherish my padded posterior to the end of my days.

The cocktail of medication has finally started to work, so hopefully I’m on the mend. The past two weeks I have kept myself sane by:

1. Watching two box sets of Desperate Housewives. How did this show slip through my fingers this past decade??? Those women have made a lifelong friend in me. Yes, I know it’s not real…

2. Baking cakes and cookies and fresh bread and icecream. I’ve not been eating much at all so the extra calories won’t do much harm, right?

3. enjoying (prescription!) drug induced sleep.

Now I’m a little better my mind has returned to getting a puppy, leaving my family despairingly with their head in their hands. But I’m nothing if not determined when I get my mind on something. Sure, I can be impulsive…But in my defense I have taken my time looking into different breeds and trawling the internet. I thought I had struck gold with a ridiculously cheap puppy. Having corresponded with the breeder and read the information she has given, I have a feeling I have only gone and touched base with a very suspect puppy farm. Oh dear.

Since then, I found a King charles spaniel breeder in Blackpool who have some puppies now, but they are more than we can afford, so it’s back to the drawing board and time to get saving. I’m not very patient, but I guess the only way to practice patience is having to wait. Or I could just nag and nag and nag until I get my own way.

diets, cupcakes and stacey solomon.

JimmyJams on.

Tucked up in bed.


Great British BakeOff Final.

Need I say More?

No. But I will.

The last two days of work have thrown me into the middle of the week before I could say Bob’s your uncle. But I’ve loved it. I adore loving on those tiny tots at the Nursery when I get to do some work in there, and I have to keep pinching myself that I get to earn my keep doing what I was doing in my ‘spare’ time. I love my young people. They might just be the best young people in the world.

Being busy and knackered means I find my mornings at home an indulgent luxury. Even if I’m tiding up or sorting through the dirty washing.

I think I’ll renew my gym membership tomorrow. Then I can eat cake and not feel guilty. I could even bake cakes and then eat them and not feel guilty.

I love the bakeoff. Have I ever mentioned that? I love it. It makes me want to bake. After I watched it last week I went into the kitchen and tried out a new fangledangle recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery. I covered the place in flour and egg shells and ended up with very mediocre cupcakes. Next time I’ll stick with my simple vanilla sponge recipe. If it aint’ broke…

The cupcakesweren’t for me I must add. Oh no no no. I’m on a diet don’t you know. They were for a friends’ birthday. We had the young people hide in the kitchen in the dark and jump out at Tommy when he came in, only I got overexcited and jumped back, stepping into the dog’s water bowl. I recovered well and hobbled away, don’t think anyone saw.

Bakeoff’s finished. Well done Jo, you were a trooper. And you sound like Stacey Solomon and that makes you extra endearing.