Friday, 29 November 2013

The Singles' Ten Commandments...


1.      Thou shalt get a life. Don't be boring; it's not attractive. Find a hobby. Get involved in something; anything! (OK, maybe not anything, but something you enjoy that’s also legal). Not only would it make your life a bit more interesting, but it’ll give you something to do instead of sitting around moping and moaning about the fact that you’re still single.

2.      Thou shalt be patient. Patience is a virtue (I have no idea who said that, but it’s true). We don’t always get what we want, when we want, but that’s just life. So, be patient. Don’t rush into marriage, or a relationship for that matter, because you may just end up rushing out. Be patient and wait for the right person.

3.      Thou shalt make an effort. Make an effort to go out and meet people. Make an effort with your appearance. Get rid of that ‘can’t be bothered’ attitude. It won’t get you a husband (or a wife).

4.      Thou shalt not be too picky. Give people a chance. We all have our lists, but seriously, must she be a size 6? Does he REALLY have to be six feet tall? Must he be at least five years older? Does she REALLY have to know how to cook be a great cook? (*insert innocent face*) Throw that list away. OK, maybe just shorten it a bit and be realistic.

5.      Thou shalt not give in to pressure. You know, the pressure to settle down by a certain age because everyone else is settling down. Or to buy a house, or a new car. If you’re worried about your biological clock, take out the batteries. Or even better, throw it away. Refuse to care what people say or think. Just refuse.

6.      Thou shalt prepare. I once heard someone say, ‘if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. Or something along those lines. I think they were talking about exams, but the same can be said for marriage as well. Pray about it. Read books. Talk to married people and learn from their experiences. Yes, nothing will ever prepare you for marriage but marriage itself, but finding out what you can about a destination before you arrive there can’t do you any harm, surely.

7.      Thou shalt work on thine self. Work on the attributes you’d like to see in a potential spouse. Learn to share. Learn to listen. Let a friend win an argument for once. Work on putting other people first. Learn to forgive. Learn to forgive. Did I mention learn to forgive?

8.      Thou shalt not compare thine self to others. We’re all on individual journeys in life. God’s plan for you is different to His plan for your friend, or your sister even. Trust that when He says He won’t withhold any good thing from you, He means it. Don’t compare yourself with other people. Focus on your own life. You may want to remember this when you eventually get married too.

9.      Thou shalt not shop whilst hungry. In other words, avoid desperation. Anyone is attractive when you’re desperate. Don’t settle. Don’t compromise on your values or your standards. Know your worth. If you’re not sure, read Psalms 139 from verse 13 to 18. You’re freakin’ fearfully and wonderfully made! Avoid every appearance of desperation. Please.


10.  Thou shalt be thankful. You get to do what you want when you want, without having to consult anyone? Be thankful!






Saturday, 23 November 2013

Another lesson on waiting...

I know it’s winter. But I love ice cream, and I believe it should be had all year round. So I was determined to have some today, even though the house is freezing and I had to put on the central heating two hours before schedule. So I got some yummy ice cream out of the freezer, got my bowl and a spoon, and proceeded to stick the spoon right in. But the ice cream was rock hard. I carried on hitting the top of the ice cream with my spoon until my hands hurt but all I could get out was a tiny, lousy scoop. As I stood there with my spoon in hand and empty bowl staring up at me, a thought came to me; ‘why don’t you just wait a few minutes and it’ll be a lot easier to get the ice cream out.’ I smiled and went up to my room. I knew the ice cream would be softer in less than 10 minutes.


Right now I’m sitting here enjoying some ice cream and drinking some tea (to counteract the effect of the cold ice cream, obviously). I’m also thinking about how we always want what we want, now! We don’t like to wait. Just like I felt I couldn't wait a few minutes, and I wanted my ice cream immediately, sometimes we feel like we just can’t wait for that ‘next big thing’ in our lives. Whether it’s for a new job or house, for marriage or to have a baby, or for a promotion. 

Waiting isn’t fun. 

But when we rush things in life, we sometimes end up struggling for what could have come easily to us if we had just waited. Or we end up with just slim pickings, when God actually wants to give us a bucket-load of ice cream. Or worse still, we end up hurting ourselves and others in the process.

There’s a bit in the Bible that says that there is a time for everything, a season for every activity under the sun. It also goes on to say that God has made everything beautiful in its time. So, don’t be in a hurry. Enjoy where you’re at. Take in the view, marvel at the scenery. Soon, you’ll be onto the next phase of your life, and trust me, you don’t want to miss what’s happening right now.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Who's that girl...(behind the pretty face)?



I’m a sucker for good looks. I have to admit it; I love a good, dapper-looking man. But the other day I was reading the bit in the Bible when Samuel goes to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the new king of Israel. The first son comes in and Samuel is like, ‘this must be the one. He’s so good-looking!’ But God says to him, ‘Nah, not him. Never mind his looks; I look at a man’s heart. What he looks like on the outside isn’t as important’ (my very own paraphrase). It got me thinking about how much emphasis we (OK, I) place on looks. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s important for people to make an effort to look good and I’m not saying beware of good-looking people. But sometimes I do think that dismissing someone because we don’t like what they look like means that we can miss out on getting to know the real person underneath. Or worse still, ignore warning signals when we meet someone that’s just drop-dead gorgeous.

As a woman, I appreciate that there is something about having pretty make-up, wearing a nice dress and having nice hair. It makes one feel a bit more confident (and trust me, you don’t want to see me first thing in the morning!) But there’s a bit in the Bible that talks about where our beauty should come from. It’s in 1 Peter chapter 3. It says, 

‘Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight…’

Your character is what should draw people to you. I’m sure some of you reading this have met people who are gorgeous on the outside but ‘nothing to write home about’ (as my mum would say) when you get to know them. Having good looks is one thing. Having good looks as well as a good heart, now that’s something!


My point is this; spend less time trying to make yourself beautiful on the outside and focus on working on the real you; the person on the inside. Be nice to people. Care about them. Like, really care. Go out of your way to help people. Be generous. I could go on and on…because at the end of the day, your looks may get you the attention of that man / woman you desire, but ultimately, your character is what will keep them.

Monday, 9 September 2013

To my single friends out there....'Chill out, God is up to something!'

Philippians 4 v 6 - 7 states, ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’

     Believe it or not, God’s ultimate plan / purpose for your life is not for you to get married. It could be part of it, but it’s not all about that. His ultimate plan is to make you more like Jesus Christ. And God will do whatever it takes to get you there. And, if it means being single for a bit longer, well then, that’s what it’s going to have to be. No amount of screaming and begging will change what God has planned for you, or His timing for that matter. Unless you want to go it alone, which, I’m sure you don’t. So, you might as well relax. What good has worrying ever done for you?

     I went through a period in my life when I was seeking God about a particular relationship that I hoped would result in marriage. We had some issues that we couldn’t agree on and finally got to a point where we decided to go our separate ways and leave God to work things out if it was His will. During this time, I carried on seeking God and came across a podcast online. It was a sermon by a preacher called Ray Bevan. The sermon was titled ‘Chill out, God is up to something.’ I believe the Holy Spirit led me to this sermon as it spoke to my situation very clearly.

     There are a few points I took from it that I’d like to share with you here;
1.      Your destiny is not a ‘patch’, but a ‘quilt’. You may feel like this particular phase of your life (e.g. singleness, just been through another unsuccessful relationship, heartbreak, etc.) is a terrible thing that has happened to you, and you may not see how you’re going to come through it. But, God, in His amazing sovereignty, is able to take both the good and the seemingly bad and thread it into something good and beautiful (Romans 8 v 28).

2.      Before you get to your destiny, you will go to ‘Egypt’. Based on Matthew 2 from verse 13, where an angel appears to Joseph and tells him to take the baby Jesus and his mother Mary to Egypt to escape King Herod, ‘Egypt’ represents the place of ‘why?’ Our ‘Egypt’ is a situation that doesn’t make sense and we ask God ‘why?’ ‘Egypt’ is part of God’s plan. Unless you get to the place where you come to the end of yourself, where you ‘don’t know’ anymore, where you can’t figure it out all by yourself, you won’t learn how to really trust God. Many great men in the Bible had to go through ‘Egypt’; Abraham, when asked to sacrifice his son, Isaac; Joseph, thrown into prison for something he did not do; David, running for years from the king of Israel, and even Jesus, as He lay dying on the cross.

3.      Be patient whilst you’re in ‘Egypt’. Matthew 2 v 13 states ‘Stay there, until I tell you...’ Don’t fall into the trap of trying to make things happen for yourself, because ‘God is taking too long’. God is trying to teach you the importance of timing.

4.      When God tells you to let go, you better let go, otherwise you’ll keep swinging back and forth, not getting anywhere. Let go of your mindset and your own way of doing things. Let go of the pressures that you put on yourself and trust the expert. Trust the One who made you. Trust is also about being patient when all evidence of God’s presence is gone. For example, in those moments when you’re praying and you feel like no one’s listening. We have to keep on trusting. God doesn’t do things how we expect Him to. And we shouldn’t be surprised. After all, the Bible says that His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55 v 8 – 9). You learn trust when you’re in ‘Egypt’.


5.      The miraculous is often connected to the mundane and monotony. Stay where God has placed you, and keep doing what He’s asked / called you to do. Don’t give up. Joshua and Caleb held on to a 40-year promise and when God said ‘it is time’, He released them into their destiny and they went into the Promised Land. If you’re believing God for a spouse, stay faithful, and He will do the same for you. Chill out, He is up to something.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

How I learned to share my faith...

I've always found it a bit difficult to share my faith. I'm not exactly sure why, but when I was growing up I think it was because I didn't want to be thought of as odd, you know, the pressures of being a teenager and what not. Then, I grew up and I didn't want to offend people, or be in their face. Then, there was fear- what would they think? What if they got aggressive, or started avoiding me? I didn't particularly want to lose my friends. I found it especially hard being in a society that is so anti-Christ.

Well, I got older and realized that it was either I believed what I claimed to believe or I didn't. If I did, then I had to share it. But I still found it hard and seemed to lack the courage when an opportunity arose.

But something happened recently, and made me remember something I'd heard Nicky Gumbel say years ago; 'it stems from a relationship'. Just as you can't tell people about something you know nothing about, you can't tell them about a God you don't know. Talking about Jesus stems from having a relationship with Him.

Anyway, the thing that happened was that I shared my faith with a non-Christian friend recently. It took me a while to get to the point where I felt comfortable talking about God's love and Christ's offer of salvation to this person but I felt like I had to. In fact, I knew I had to. It was like a burden on my heart. This has not always been the case, however, and as I thought about it, it finally dawned on me that I genuinely cared about this person. And I genuinely wanted to see them saved. You can't care about someone and not tell them. You just can't. Now, they didn't respond in the way that I'd hoped, but they did listen. And I was glad that I got to the point where I realized that their salvation was way more important than all the other thoughts that were going through my head.

So, I'm no expert on evangelism but I've been praying that God would give me a genuine love for people that don't know Him. You see, there are a couple of things I've learnt about sharing the gospel; one, you can't tell people about Christ if you don't know Him for yourself, and two, you can't tell people about Christ if you don't care enough about them. Anyway, I think God is answering my prayer...

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Is Christianity just a crutch?

The other day I was thinking about trials and how we don't get to choose the trials we face. We don't get to choose whether it's an illness, or the loss of a job, a broken relationship, marriage or whatever. Life just hands us our lot and we have to deal with it. I was going to say how it's OK because God never gives us anything we can't handle, and as I was looking for that scripture, I found out that it doesn't actually exist. God sometimes does allow stuff in our lives that we can't handle. On our own, that is.

Sometimes life can hand you something that you literally can't bear, unless you have God to hold you up. The bible actually says that it is in our weaknesses that His strength is made perfect and His grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12 v 9).  Some people say Christianity is just a crutch for weak people. And I used to think that this was a bad thing. But recently, I'm not so sure. A crutch after all is meant to provide support or assistance for somebody that can't walk on their own. I've come to the point where I'm more than happy to admit that I can't get through life without my faith. My relationship with God is what keeps me going a lot of the time. Yes, I'm admitting that I'm weak and that I can't do it on my own. And there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, only when you admit that you can't do it on your own will you begin to see the full extent of God's power at work in your life. 

I read somewhere that the root of all sin is pride; human beings thinking that they don't need God. Sometimes you go through some stuff or you hear what some people are facing and you can't help but wonder, 'how do they do it?' 'how can anyone get through that if they don't have a relationship with Christ?'

So, when I hear people say that Christianity is a crutch, I have to say, I agree with them. Because we all need something to hold on to. But it's so much more than that. Because that very thing we're holding on to is not just a form of support, it's LIFE itself (John 14 v 6).

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

He wants me all to Himself...

'He wants me all to Himself...'

I was reading something online and those words came to me. I've been learning a lot in the past few weeks, almost too much that it's hard to keep up. I've been learning what it means to surrender. To surrender my own will, my own desires, for whatever God wants. I can't even say that I fully know what that is yet. It's hard cos I think I know what I want, but every time I come up against a brick wall, I realise that what I wanted wasn't quite what God wanted for me.

He wants me all to Himself...

It's scary. I was at a ladies' conference last year and one of the speakers was talking about marriage and she said she had to finally get to the point where she was like, 'I can't keep doing this. God, I don't care whether I get married or not, I'm just going to keep following you.' She did get married. But I remember thinking, 'that's easy for you to say...you're married now...'

I never thought I could get to that point.

But I'm learning that true surrender, deciding to follow Jesus at all costs, means laying down everything, including that thing you think you can't live without. Especially that thing you think you can't live without.

Because He wants you all to Himself.

Nothing can be more important to you than your relationship with Christ. If you think about it, it's only fair; He gave up His life for you. Like I said in a previous post, He gave all, He asks all.

Of course I'm not saying that following Christ means He'll ask you to give up everything you desire. But it means you have to be willing to give anything up if it did come to that. And I mean ANYTHING. I think that's what it means to 'die to self'. I think that's also what Paul meant in Philippians 3 v 8;

'...I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ...'

Knowing Christ surpasses everything else. Everything else is pretty much rubbish in comparison.

So, I think I'm finally getting there. It's scary, but exciting at the same time. You see, what you give up cannot even begin to compare to what you gain in return...

Friday, 19 April 2013

How to turn your job into an act of worship...

'If you're washing toilets, wash as though Jesus would be the one inspecting.'

Those were the words of the preacher last Sunday. He was basically saying that our daily lives should be an act of worship to God and that includes our jobs. If you're like me, you probably spend most of your time at work. I'm beginning to realise how important it is for a Christian to represent Christ well in the workplace. It can be really testing because, truth is, if you spend most of your time with someone, sooner or later, they'll begin to see your true colors. It is the same with work, and as Christians, we will do well to remember that our Christianity doesn't end at home or on Sundays after church. Having said that, it's not about pretense, but about changing your perspective.

No matter how much you love your job, there might be times when you lack motivation, and sometimes for valid reasons. At times like these I remember Colossians 3 v 23-24. It says, 'Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.'

Sometimes your hard work will seem to go unnoticed, or unappreciated. And the thing is that if you keep seeking approval or affirmation from human beings, you might be waiting a long time.

I've found that when I change my focus, and make God my 'boss', it changes my attitude. I want Him to be pleased with my work. And His reward is far greater than what any human being can give to me. So whenever things begin to feel like a bit of a grind, I try to remember Who I'm really working for.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Mastering the art of surrender...


Sometimes God asks us to give up the very thing we cherish the most. It can be hard. And true surrender means giving it up knowing that you may never get it back. All you have to go on is that God knows what He's doing. If He asks for it, it means He has a better plan. It can be really hard. Someone said to me the other day, 'Abraham didn't know that Isaac wasn't going to die'. He went to sacrifice his dearest son, and for all he knew, he was going home alone that night. He just obeyed God and trusted that God knew what He was doing.

'Why would God ask for something so dear?' That's a valid question to ask. The reply that comes to me is one I read in the book 'Passion and purity' by Elisabeth Elliot; 'He gave all, He asks all.'

I read somewhere that when we don't understand what is going on in our lives, and we have so many unanswered questions, we just have to trust God's heart towards us. Everything God does or allows, is out of His goodness and love towards us. Everything. Good and not so good.

Surrendering can be hard, but knowing that the One asking you to surrender is able to bring about something better makes it a bit easier. Knowing that the Person asking you to surrender has proved Himself time and time again definitely helps.

Trust God's heart towards you.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

What they don't tell you about Psalm 37 v 4

For those that don't know, Psalm 37 verse 4 states, 'Take delight in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart' (NIV).

I've heard this verse quoted so many times and I love it. You know why? Because it says if I delight myself in God He'll give me what I want. Right?

Wrong.

Before I continue, I just want to make something clear. I believe the Bible to be completely true, through and through. So, if God's word says it, I don't doubt it. But just in case you're a bit like me and thinking that because you love God and are dedicated to Him, He'll give you anything you really desire, please read on.

What we want and what we need are two completely different things. Say, for example, a Gucci bag. I might want it, but do I need it? No. (I know some might argue this point but you know what I mean). What we desire and what is actually good for us can also be two completely different things. I'm sure some of us know that from experience too.

Sometimes we don't know what is good for us. It might look good at face value, but truth is, only God really knows. So, when you pray and quote Psalm 37 v 4 back to God (like I used to), the thing you have to remember is that He alone knows whether that thing you desire is actually what you need. You have to trust Him if He doesn't let you have it. Does the fact that you didn't get the desire of your heart mean that God is a liar? Of course not. God knows your heart's desire. Your true heart's desire. The thing is you may not even know it yourself. But you can trust that He knows it because He knows you more than you know yourself. Hope I'm not confusing you.

So what you should know when you're reading Psalm 37 v 4 is that yes, He will give you your heart's desire, but it might not be in the way you thought. You may even be surprised to find that He grants you desires you didn't even realise you had!

Monday, 8 April 2013

So, you desire intimacy...?

Before you ask God for a closer walk with Him you better be sure you really want it, because He might just give you what you asked for, but not necessarily the way you expect, or like for that matter! Usually when we think of drawing close to God we think 'mountain-top' experiences like being filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, or that lovely feeling you get when you're singing some worship songs at church. Whilst these are all good, I'm learning that actually, there are other ways God uses to draw us closer to Him. It's easy to feel close to God when you're in church singing with a bunch of other Christians, or when everything in your life seems to be going well. But there are times when stuff happens and it hits you like a ton of bricks. You're forced to ask yourself, 'do I really believe what I claim to believe?', 'Is this God real, like, for real?' At those times, going to church just doesn't cut it. Listening to sermons, being amongst other Christians, etc, might help, but you soon realise that you've got to dig deeper. Now, that's a real test of faith. I heard someone say that sometimes God doesn't speak in our moments of deepest insecurities, i.e. when you (think) you need Him the most. It can be hard. At this point, you have two choices- give up, or keep trusting. Actually, THAT's the real test of faith.

Most Christians would say that intimacy with God is something that they desire. But, I'm learning that some of us really don't know what that entails. Look at the Bible and study the lives of the men that were close to God. Check out Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, David, Daniel, etc. Abraham was called God's friend, David was a man after His own heart. But getting those titles did not come easy! Abraham spent donkey's years waiting for a child, and then faced the ultimate test of sacrifice. David spent a good part of his life running from his enemies. But it was so worth it in the end. They got to experience what real intimacy with God felt like. Oh and not to mention the blessings. I read somewhere that anytime you see a man or woman enjoying great success in God's kingdom, there's a good chance they've been through the valley of devastation, hurt and rejection. Hmmm...

The thing is, I don't think it gets easier.

But your faith muscles do get stronger.

So when I ask myself, 'how much do I really want this?' I can confidently say, 'Really badly', because the rewards are so worth it.

Oh, and I know I'm not going it alone...Deut 31 v 6, Isaiah 43 v 2.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Life for sale- lessons from 'Shrek forever after'...


So a friend and I watched the movie 'Shrek forever after' over the Easter holidays. If you haven't seen it, I'll give you a brief overview. Shrek is (happily) married to the love of his life, Fiona, and they now have 3 beautiful kids (if you can call ogre-kids beautiful). But, life is a bit dreary and full of mundane activities, you know, like, taking out the trash, changing nappies, doing the dishes, etc, that old man Shrek begins to miss the 'good old days'. He can't get a minute to himself, his friends (Donkey to be exact) just won't let him be, not to mention the tourists who keep stopping by to take pictures of his shack. He wants out. Back to a time when he was single, and he was a real ogre; the kind people were actually afraid of. After all, that's what he was actually meant to be right?

So, after having an outburst at the kids' birthday party, he meets the devil himself, I mean, Rumpelstiltskin (yes, I had to go to Google to check the spelling). Rumpel offers him the opportunity of a lifetime (or so it seems); Shrek can have a day of being a real ogre again, if he gives Rumpel a day from his past. Shrek decides to go for it, and asks Rumpel to take any day he likes. He gets 24 hours to be a real ogre once again, at the end of which he goes back to life as normal. Seems simple enough doesn't it?

So Shrek gets his day as an ogre, and things seem to be going great. That is, until they start going badly. Like, really badly. You see, Shrek asks Rumpel to take any day from his childhood, a day he won't remember and the devil, I mean, Rumpel decides to take the day Shrek was born. This leads to disastrous consequences. For example, Shrek meets Fiona and she has no idea who he is, because, guess what, he doesn't exist! So Shrek now has to find a way to undo the curse (something about true love's first kiss...) In the end, he realises that he had something amazing- pretty much everything he needed for a happy life. He just needed to open his eyes and look around him.

Ok, it was a bit of an extreme scenario, but it got me thinking (as always) about how sometimes we want what we do not have...it can be hard to count your blessings especially when there are one or two blessings you think are missing. It's easy to think the grass is greener on the other side; if only I had that job, or if only I lived in a different country, or was married, or had a child, or had more money. Truth is, there's always something to be thankful for. Actually, if you look (and not even that hardly) you'll find several things. So, I'm learning to be thankful. For the obvious things, and also for the, you know, not so obvious.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Looking for love in all the wrong places...

So I woke up in the middle of the night and this thought came to me...'what if we keep messing up and getting it wrong because we're looking in the completely wrong place?' You know, like that job you thought would be the start to a new career, or that move you thought would be the start to a new life, or that relationship you thought would be the start to all your happily ever afters...

We have a longing deep inside of us, and we think a job, or a new house, or a new car can fill that longing. But, when we get what we thought we needed, we realise that that longing is still there. Like the young woman / man that wants to get married, or the graduate that longs for a job, or the married couple longing for a child. A husband / wife won't satisfy you. And neither will a job, a new car, or even a child.

Take love, for example. What we all desire is someone that will love us unconditionally, i.e. with all our faults and flaws. That person that will tell us that we're perfect just the way we are, and need not change a thing (you know, the stuff that makes us who we are). Human beings kinda suck at that. It got me thinking about the cross. You know, Jesus dying and all. He didn't have to, but He did. He knew many would still not accept Him, but He went ahead and died for them anyway. Now, that's what I call unconditional love. So, if you're still looking, well, look no further.

Happy Easter everyone.

p.s. He didn't stay dead by the way.



Saturday, 30 March 2013

Big decisions...

So I was having a chat with one of my mentors the other day and she said to me, 'I know one day I'm going to regret watching so much TV...think what I could have done with all that time...' I laughed, but she was serious. We were talking about the importance of making the most of our lives, and living it to the full; not holding on, waiting for something that may or may not happen. It got me thinking about writing again, and this blog. Life can be so busy sometimes, and I didn't think I would ever blog again, but a few people have been asking me about my blog, and encouraging me to start it up again. Plus I was reading something the other day and it was talking about how when we stand before God, one of the questions we'll be asked is what we did with all the gifts and talents He gave us. I'm not sure how much of a gift this is, but if indeed it is, I'd like to be able to say with confidence that I used it to the max. So, again, I can't promise that I'll write all the time, but I'm gonna try. The past year has been colorful (a word a friend of mine uses when she means 'full of ups and downs') and has taught me a lot, and I'm hoping I can share some of what I've learnt here.

Happy Easter people...