A Brand New Year

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Hi there, thank you so much for stopping by at the start of this Brand New Year and taking time out of your day to read my blog.  It really is appreciated and I hope it makes you think, smile and laugh!

Tulips in spring.
Tulips in spring.

New Year’s resolution : to make none at all!!!!  I know that the start of the year is a time for us to reflect on our lives : all good so far, and look to the future (still good!).  But New Year Resolutions leave me cold! I’m liking using exclamation marks!!!!

Honestly though, I do believe we are almost ‘doomed to fail’ when we set ourselves tasks, things to be changed, stopped, started on January 1st.  We are creatures of habit and it takes an enormous amount of will power to achieve these goals on our own.  Thus, for the most part we ‘fail’.  Then fall into the trap of guilt, immediately feeling bad about ourselves and from what I can see, spend the rest of the year focusing on what we haven’t achieved.  Depressing isn’t it??

So, I don’t set myself New Year Resolutions, as I don’t want to deliberately set out to fail.  Is it wrong to have short, medium and long term goals in our lives?  No!!  So am I contradicting myself?  I don’t think so, but you can be the judge of that!

I need to improve in many areas of my life.  Some I have control over,  others I do not.  Experience has taught me that trying to change aspects of me in my own strength, invariably leaves me flat on my face.  Do I lack willpower?  Yes sometimes, but I used to enjoy long distance running (the mind is still keen, the body has other ideas!) which requires both willpower and stamina.  The very tools needed for change!

Jake our cat and Bud our dog, getting close to enjoy the sun. I love snuggling them.
Jake our cat and Bud our dog, getting close to enjoy the sun. I love snuggling them.

So I should be equipped to make changes on my own and sometimes I can, but mostly not and especially if I set out to change something about myself on January 1st.  Baffling, I know!!!

Since becoming a Christian I have learned, through experience, that it’s actually really hard to try and change things about me in my own strength.  God is a God of love and He is also my Heavenly Father, whose desire is that I be the very best person I can be.  Not for me, but for Him.

At Christmastime, when we remember the birth of Jesus, God in the flesh, being both fully God and fully Man, born of a virgin, conceived by the Holy Spirit, we see a true act of sacrifice and love on Jesus’ part.

He came that we might know Him and through Him know God our Heavenly Father. Jesus lived on this earth, just like any other ordinary person.  He received no special treatment, even though He is the King of Kings.  In fact, He was despised by many and eventually crucified.  In His death He showed the ultimate sacrifice. He took the weight of sin (wrong doing) for all the people of the world, both past, present and future and was punished, for us.

3 days later, He arose from death, once and for all, not only having paid the price for sin (which is death), but breaking it’s hold over us, with Life.

So how does this relate to New Year Resolutions?  Well, our God is a mighty God of Strength, Power and Love.  Jesus said “I AM the Way, the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father, except through Me.”

Firstly God wants us to know Him through His Son JESUS.  Jesus came that we may know God’s love. That we may know the Way to God and God’s Will for us and that we might live, knowing the full Truth.  That God is Real.  He loves us more than we could ever, ever imagine and He wants to be part of our daily lives.

Not to boss us around and give us a list of rules and regulations that we must live by.  But that we would know Him and His love and forgiveness and live in the light of that knowledge.

So when I try to do things in my own strength, I do not have a very high success rate – hence not making New Year Resolutions!  Instead I have learned to lean on God.  To ask Him to help me in areas that I need to improve (way, way too many to mention here – patience, humility, patience – to start off) and you know, when I ask Him to help, He does!

A beautiful butterfly - taking a rest.
A beautiful butterfly – taking a rest.

I no longer carry the burden of trying to change or improve myself, instead my load is lightened.  Gradually, day by day, He helps me become a better version of myself.  I still have a long, long way to go.  But that’s ok!  I’m loved, forgiven and accepted, just as I am.

If you are finding it hard to stick to a New Years Resolution, there is an easier way.  Firstly God loves and accepts you, just as you are, right now, at this very moment.  He wants you to know Him, through His Son Jesus.

If you ask Jesus to show you the way He will.  No matter what you have done in your life, you are loved. If you accept JESUS as your Lord and Saviour ( He paid the price, on the cross, for everything you’ve done wrong and saved you from the penalty of that wrong doing, which is death and eternal separation from God) ask for His forgiveness, then you will truely be free.

Free to live the life God has planned for you. Knowing, beyond all shadow of doubt that you are loved, accepted, forgiven by His endless Mercy, Grace and Love.  Wow! What a gift and it’s free!

The Cross - Jesus paid the price to set us free.
The Cross – Jesus paid the price to set us free.

So, I urge you, not to resolve to change yourself on your own, but to reach out to JESUS.  He loves you soo much and once you know Him your life will take on a whole new perspective.

Thankyou for reading, if you have any questions, please leave a comment and I will get back to you ASAP.

Love Sammie xxxx

 

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Autumn The Most Beautiful Season

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Now there’s a question. Is Autumn The Most Beautiful Season?  The landscape becomes swathed in golds, red, crimson, every shade of yellow under the sun, which back lights the scene with its low, but still bright and warm presence in a pale blue sky.

Unexpected light, filtering through, defining the boughs and branches of trees previously concealed by their heavy adornment of late summer, deep green leaves.  Dappling light where shade had prevailed through the long summer months.

The vibrant green grass contrasts with tired, rusty oak leaves.
The vibrant green grass contrasts with tired, rusty oak leaves. Autumn has arrived.

I truly love Autumn.  The wind, the rain, the unexpected warm sunny day.  No longer Summer, but not the bleak or dark of winter.  The light plays reflective, hypnotic tricks on a pond, where ducks can still splish, splash and swim before Jack Frost freezes their playground and slipping and sliding prevail.

Can you spot the three white ducks?
Can you spot the three white ducks?

I love all seasons but Autumn colours draw me to them.  They are the natural palette of my wardrobe and suit my skin tone.  Earthy rusts, just the right side of shocking orange,  khaki greens call out to me from the countryside as well as the clothes rail.

Stunning.
Stunning. Autumn The Most Beautiful Season.

Warm soups, hearty casseroles, proper puddings.  My body naturally craves comforting food as the sun dips in the skies and the night time temperature falls away.  In the same way Summer demands cool, crisp salads, ice creams and long drinks packed with ice.  Autumn asks, gently at first, for an extra layer of clothing – removed during the midday warmth, but much needed come dusk – family feasting around a large table, torn bread, ready for dunking into thick, hearty soup.  Everyone chatting with ruddy cheeks aglow from the warmth of their surroundings.

Yes, I love Autumn.  Slow cooked Pot Roasts, simmering away, filling our home with inviting aromas. Apple and Blackberry Pie with ice cream AND custard! Big Sunday (sometimes Monday & Tuesday!) roasts walked off on a crisp afternoon, followed by a Baileys Coffee, snuggling on the sofa and watching a family film.

The tantalising hint of Christmas near, but far enough away not to worry.  Autumn feels very relaxed.  Even after a hefty storm, where trees are left bare and the landscape changed, overnight, still calm returns.

Jack Frost makes an appearance, but it’s beauty outweighs it’s inconvenience.  Spiders webs outlined in crisp white detail, look like still life.  Crisp, sharp outlines on the tips of leaves, portraying their beauty by the definition given.

Feathery fronds of ice crystals on the top of my car - breath taking.
Feathery fronds of ice crystals on the top of my car – breath taking.

We all seem to live such busy, hectic lives.  A week is now 24/7.  Even our language is shortened to describe the frenetic pace of life.  Autumn is no less busy, the squirrels are busy stashing and hoarding acorns and nuts to see them through the Winter.  Hedgehogs prepare to hibernate.  Some people celebrate the years harvest, giving thanks to God for His provision.

Me?  Well I look at the beauty of the ice crystal formation on my car roof and cannot begin to imagine that it evolved!  I see the beauty in a yellowing sky, heavy Cumulus clouds slowly drifting, dropping  their load as the rain lashes down.  The joy a small child (or even a grown adult) experiences crunching, welly boot clad, through piles of crisp fallen leaves, or splashing in puddles after the rain has subsided.  Watching for rainbows, will there be a pot of gold at the end?  Where is the end??

I give thanks to God the Creator, for the beauty of His Creation. For Autumn The Most Beautiful Season.

Until next time, take time to stop and admire the natural beauty around you.  It will inspire, relax, rejuvenate and calm you if you spare the time to really look.

Life is too beautiful to be lived in a rush.

Sammie x

 

 

 

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Important Stuff

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Good morning to all you lovely people. Whatever today holds for you I hope when you read through this blog the Important Stuff will encourage you to smile & when you smile I hope that it encourages others to smile too.

It may sound odd, but I actually believe that HAPPINESS is a choice for most of us (please don’t think I am any way mocking people who are depressed, anxious, lonely, grieving, sad & all other manner of terrible situations – I ABSOLUTELY AM NOT). When I say Happiness is a choice, what I’m mean is that during the hundreds of thousands of situations & circumstances we are in and go through in life, most of us have a choice.

FF Important Stuff
Happiness as a result of being loved.

That choice usually represents itself simply as: Do I concentrate on all the bad stuff that I’m going through at the moment, or amidst the darkness & fog that I’m in, do I try to find something Good & Positive to hold on to? I’ve said being Happy is a choice for most of us – I didn’t say it was easy! Of all the difficult circumstances that I’ve only just started to touch on, I’ve been through most & more. But I’M NOT SAD! I should be but I’m not.

 

FF Important Stuff
Sometimes you have to look past the darkness and into the light.

Some may say that’s easy for me, I have a loving family & friends: you can still be lonely in a roomful of people. Others may argue that we all naturally have periods of sadness in our lives: that is true, but it is our choice as to how long we dwell on them. Still others may say ” You don’t understand, my situation is HOPELESS & I can’t see a way out”. To those I say, I’ve been there. Whilst I may not know exactly the circumstances of your situation, I do understand what it is like to be trapped, with no clear exit route in view.

My life has never been a bed of roses, EVER! I face daily challenges and also difficult memories. Yet I still smile. I smile because amongst all the darkness I choose, to see LIGHT. Amongst all the noise I listen for the bird song. Against all the ugliness of a situation I will SEEK OUT the beauty. I make the choice to find the POSITIVE amongst the negative. Also I have HOPE. A never ending certain HOPE. I KNOW that I am LOVED.

This is THE MOST IMPORTANT STUFF you will ever read.

FF Important Stuff
The Cross in the centre, where life, love and hope are found. As the thief on the cross next to Jesus found out, it’s never too late.

A man named Jesus, a long time ago, took all the wrong doing that is in this world, all the injustice, hatred, hopelessness & sin upon HIS shoulders and died on a Cross. Naked, humiliated, despised by the very people He had come to help, Jesus knows loneliness, pain, neglect, suffering. And yet He still loved them. His love was shown when He took the place of ALL MANKIND, took all the SIN OF THE WORLD and paid the price, that we should have to pay, HE GAVE HIS LIFE, SO THAT WE MAY HAVE LIFE, IN HIM FOREVER.

Not only did He die on the Cross, for us, but HE OVERCAME DEATH WHEN HE AROSE from the dead THREE DAYS LATER. HE OVERCAME DEATH and in doing so laid a path for us to know Him. TO KNOW JESUS AND OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. Jesus said “I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH & THE LIFE. NO ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH THE SON”. JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD!! If we know Him, then we too can know God. HE IS OUR LOVING HEAVENLY FATHER.
THIS IS TRULY AMAZING.

Every living person on this beautiful planet IS LOVED BY GOD. Every living person, has at some time, said or done something that is wrong, the Bible calls this Sin. The penalty for Sin is Death. Whether you believe in God or not, one day every person will stand before God and be judged,  asked to give an account of themselves, their lives and their actions. You can choose not to believe this will happen, I am letting you know IT WILL.

That sounds pretty scary to me. I know I’m not perfect, yet I have nothing to worry about because;  “FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON, THAT WHOSOEVER (that’s you & me) BELIEVES IN HIM SHALL NOT DIE BUT HAVE ETERNAL LIFE”. WOW! No need to be afraid now. GOD LOVES YOU SO MUCH THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON!

Who loves me?

Firstly for those of you who are lonely or feel unloved YOU ARE LOVED – GOD LOVES YOU.

FF Important Stuff
Important Stuff, each individual is accepted by God, flaws and all.

Secondly for those of you who are aimlessly walking through life, no real direction (except to go to work, pay your bills, raise your family – but somewhere inside of you, you question: Is there more to this??), JESUS SAID I AM THE WAY!! Now you can have direction – straight to God & ALL the Goodness & Love that He has for you.

Thirdly, for everyone who is searching for something. Looking for a bigger picture, but there are SO MANY religions, ideas to follow: JESUS SAID I AM THE TRUTH. You’ve found your answer. Jesus IS THE WAY TO GOD. Next, for those of you that feel hopeless, dejected, worthless: JESUS SAID I AM THE LIFE. A life lived with JESUS has HOPE, PURPOSE, WORTH.

GOD LOVES YOU SO MUCH THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY SON.

JESUS LOVES YOU SO MUCH THAT HE WAS WILLING TO DIE ON THE CROSS, BEARING THE PUNISHMENT WE SHOULD RECEIVE. HIS MOTIVATION – PURE LOVE FOR US AND TO DO THE WILL OF HIS FATHER.

He gave His life freely, at any point He could of spoken up in His own defense & saved Himself, but He didn’t – HE GAVE HIS LIFE FREELY.
JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THIS WORLD.

FF Important Stuff
Jesus is the light of this world. In Him no darkness is found.

What does all this mean personally to me?

No longer do I live a life without purpose but can smile each day, even through the tough times, for I know, I AM ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN, that JESUS WHO IS THE LIFE, lives in me, by the POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. Not only that, but God promises ETERNAL LIFE TO ALL (not a chosen few elite individuals). I have a lot TO SMILE ABOUT.

You too can make this choice. Indeed nothing in life is more important, God is waiting with His arms open wide for you. His desire is that you would know HOW LOVED YOU ARE. While this may sound ‘Too good to be true’,  I promise you it isn’t. God loves you whether you love Him back or not. He accepts you no matter what life you have lived, or however bad you think you are.

GOD’S GIFT OF SALVATION THROUGH JESUS CHRIST IS FREE. You cannot work for it, earn or buy it. Jesus desires to be part of your life. He wants to be the SMILE IN YOUR HEART. As for me, I love my Lord JESUS with all of my heart. He has helped me, healed me, guided and protected me and saved me.

FF Important Stuff
Every caterpillar turns into a butterfly, just as everyone can turn to God and ask for forgiveness in the name of Jesus.

Important Stuff is the most important post I have written to date!

If you too would like to know JESUS as your personal Saviour and Friend, then you can pray to God now. Ask Him to forgive you for all the wrong you have done, acknowledge JESUS as God’s Son and ask Him to come into your life, to be your Lord and guide you. Ask God to reveal His love for you through the bible & to guide you to a local Christian Church that loves God, His Word (the bible), Jesus & God’s Holy Spirit.

If you prayed that prayer CONGRATULATIONS.

What to do next?

I suggest you start reading the Gospel of John, found in the New Testament part of the bible (NIV, NKJV are both very good bibles to start with, accurate & written without thee’s, thou’s & older day language – although personally the King James Bible will always be my preference!). John is the fourth book of the New Testament & before reading I suggest praying and asking God to reveal Himself to you through His Written Word.

Finally it would be lovely if you would share your experience in the comments box. If you would rather I did not make your words public, then please say so & I promise not to publish your comments. Also if you would genuinely like more information, please leave a message & I will do my best to help.

No disrespect to people of other Faiths, but I will not get drawn into time wasting arguments regarding this post, I will only answer genuine queries & politely ask that you respect this.

FF Important Stuff
Rainbows a sign of God’s promise to us.

There is NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT OR PRECIOUS THAN KNOWING JESUS AS YOUR VERY OWN LORD AND PERSONAL SAVIOUR.

IMPORTANT STUFF is and always will be THE most important post on the blog.
Thank you for reading, I pray that God will open your heart to His love.

Sammie xx

 

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