drink the wild air

A few years ago a counsellor I was seeing was telling me of the numerous studies that have been done, showing the benefits of families who go camping as their children are growing up. These studies revealed that camping creates a cohesiveness in families, and those families who went on camping holidays together showed stronger relationships between parents and their teenagers and adult children in the future.
Interesting isn’t it?

I didn’t read any of the studies, or do any research, but you don’t need to be a social scientist to understand the benefits of camping. We made a commitment as a family a couple of years ago to camp often, and last year we pitched our tent no less than five times!
This holidays was our third camping trip for 2019, and the best by far.

It’s escaping the fast pace of every day.
It’s togetherness—close togetherness, jammed tight into a car on a long trip, into a tent with mattresses lined up in a row.
It’s team work; setting up and holding tarps and tents, tapping in pegs and unfolding sleeping bags.
It’s in the way that doing simple chores becomes adventure, and preparing meals becomes a novelty.
It’s living in sunshine, swimming the sea, drinking the wild air’s salubrity*

It was slowing down, watching the trees blur by with the mountains of the Great Southern behind them. There were fields and fields of bright yellow canola, and cows and horses and sheep and lambs, and there was comfortable quiet, and conversations that rambled like the hills.
We pitched a tent with ocean views, and watched whales in the bay with our morning coffee!
We moved close around the fire in the evening, roasting marshmallows and remembering funny family stories—rehashing those family tales, the ones that confirm our place within the world, our world.
We rustle up simple grub, that tastes like five star gourmet after full days of sun and sand and salt.
We wake early to explore, roaming beaches and trekking down hills, never knowing where they’ll lead us, and always finding magic. The magic of whales, breaching just beyond the breakers, and of watching dolphins, and of discovering hidden coastline framed with mountains.
We’re off our phones, off the beaten track, off the grid, the wheel, the grind—off in our own little worlds.
There is nothing like it.

Drinking this air, in the wild of creation, and all of it singing His songs.
We’re creating memories and I’m breathing it all in; basking bodily on warm rocks, and eating too much chocolate, waking up to the birds (and the piles of kids, rolling across our sinking air mattresses, tickling and giggling).
We’re memory making and simplifying and resetting, mentally and spiritually.

And when we come home grubby, and tired and full, and while the washing machine seems not to be finished even days later—we are rested and recharged and ready to head headlong into our every day lives. Only now we’re slower paced, self-aware, carrying with us the sense that life doesn’t have to be complicated, and that camping doesn’t have to end when the tent is rolled up and the fishing gear is put away.
We’ve got our every day moments together. We may not have whales to watch while we drink our morning coffee, but the willie wagtails on the front lawn can bring wonder if we let them. We may not have marshmallows to roast, but we have daily meals to eat together, and stories to tell and memories to make. There’s a beach down the street, and lengthening days to fill with our people.

We knit it all into the fabric of our days, drinking the wild air and living in the sunshine.


*Ralph Waldo Emerson, beautiful words

adrift, little boat

Are you in a transition season?
I feel you, girlfriend.
Yet when I look back on the last six months, I can see the way that God was weaving and fitting the pieces of my life together, when at the time, I didn’t think they made sense. 
To me they were scraps of paper, half written paragraphs, and unfinished poems. I wondered why; why here, why now, this is not what I expected.
Each day I’d walk from my car to the office and ask God, ‘What do I need to learn in this season? What is it about this place of transition that I need, to be able to enter into the new?’

 Our family has walked so many transitions over the past year. 
Change, even when it’s been much anticipated and excitedly expected, can be difficult. It’s tricky finding your feet when the ground beneath you feels like it’s constantly shifting. Constantly feeling like you’re balancing precariously across an unfamiliar path can be exhausting. I have felt exhausted.

Often, it’s not until we look back on certain seasons that we begin to understand the way they fit. The way that God held them all together—going before us, writing our days together and seeing the end when we couldn’t. He knows the messes we’ll make before we make them, and still He’s willing to hold us, and help us. 

 A friend and I walked this week and she described transition seasons so beautifully. She said it’s like being adrift in the ocean, where the fog is too thick to see what comes next, or which direction to go. When sailors face this on their ships they cut the engines, they pull down the sails and they watch the sky. Because you can’t go full steam in any direction when you can’t see what’s ahead.
They watch the sky and wait. They wait, with their eyes fixed up

 It’s what I did. I watched and waited. I wondered what God was up to, and relinquished those things I couldn’t control. I voiced my hopes, and asked and trusted that He knew what he was doing. The fog was thick, but I knew that if I watched and waited long enough that the sky would clear and the path would be visible. Today, I feel like I’m sailing gently out of the murky waters. The fog is lifting and I’m beginning to see the path I need to take, and why I needed to drift right here into this moment. 

 Today I want to encourage you that whatever season you’re in, you can trust that God holds you. That He goes before you, and that if you pay close attention, you might just see what He’s up to. This poem from Song of Songs has brought comfort to me recently and I wanted to share:

The season has changed,
the bondage of your barren winter has ended,
and the season of hiding is over and gone.
The rains have soaked the earth
and left it bright with blossoming flowers.
The season for singing and pruning the vines has arrived. 
I hear the cooing of doves in our land, 
filling the air with songs to awaken you
and guide you forth.
Can you not discern this new day of destiny
breaking forth around you?
The early signs of my purposes and plans
are bursting forth. 
The budding vines of new life
are now blooming everywhere.
The fragrance of their flowers whisper,
“There is change in the air.”

If you feel like your little boat is adrift on unknown waters, just cut the engines. Don’t be too hasty to make decisions. Stop and still. Maybe put a hand out, let it float in the calm. Before long, the fog will lift and you’ll know where it is you need to go. For now, rest assured that indeed there’s a new day of destiny breaking forth around you. 


she said it’s okay

What I’ve discovered about motivation is that it’s fleeting.
She’s a fickle and fair-weather friend, arriving usually without much notice, and only when she feels like it.
And when she arrives—oh what fun—her zeal for life is like a breath of fresh air. She twirls around and adds an energy you’d forgotten you had. Your bathroom gets scrubbed like it hasn’t in a long time, the tops of door frames get wiped free from dust, your 5am alarm succeeds in rousing you even though it’s dark, and you collapse in to bed each night feeling accomplished and ready for the next day.
You’re grateful that motivation has decided to visit, and you hope she stays a while.
She makes life easier—like riding an escalator instead of trudging up the stairs.

Unfortunately though, you never know how long she’ll stick around. Sometimes she disappears without a trace, other times she lingers. But when motivation is gone, how then does the 5am alarm rouse you?
How do you do what you do without the spring in your step?

I’m beginning to think that maybe discipline is just motivation but without the feeling.
So when the feeling is gone, the discipline of getting up, of showing up, of getting it done, that you’ve built throughout your every day, is enough to impel you into all that needs to be done.
And I know it. Discipline is an awful word.
Doesn’t it sound like it’s something that makes you force yourself to do something even when you don’t feel like it, over and over. Probably because that’s what it is.
Because I’d rather rely on my good mate Habit, than fickle old Motivation. And if I use discipline, the things I do over and over become habits that I want ingrained in my life.

I’m preaching to myself and even I’m eye-rolling.
I want habits of daily gratitude and quiet mornings.
I want ingrained habits of going straight to breathing prayers in uncomfortable situations, rather than complaints.
I want slowing practices of reading, of praying, of pounding the pavement to ground me, and to be able to do them without allowing my feelings to weigh in on the decision.

I want that, but I know I also have to give myself permission.
I’ve realised that in all my preaching-to-myself about discipline, I haven’t been very kind.
I’ve been berating myself about why I haven’t been able to get out of bed as early as I wanted, or why I can’t seem to be able to string thoughts together, let alone words.

After a month of wondering why I couldn’t quite get it together, and feeling frustrated that I wasn’t quite squeezing enough out of each day, I told myself it was okay.
It’s okay that the bathroom wasn’t sparkling. It’s okay that you haven’t produced any content or shared anything profound on social media. It’s okay that all you’re managing is the food for your family, and loving them hard—nothing else is quite so important anyway.

It’s okay friend. To go through the motions because that’s all you’ve got the capacity for in this moment.
It’s okay to pray only as you do the dishes, for that fleeting moment that no one is asking you questions or demanding your attention.
It’s okay to snuggle longer under the weight of your quilt, and snooze the alarm for just 10 more minutes.
There is a place for discipline, but there’s also a place for fluidity—for being kind to yourself, and for understanding seasonal changes, and shifts in balance.
There’s a place for work, and a time for play. There’s a time for putting in the hours, and wisdom to know when to stope and breathe. There’s a week for driving all over, doing it all, and another one for slow bike rides and doing not much of anything.

Discipline will come as you put one foot in front of the other.
Motivation will even come and visit again soon, but for now, linger in the freedom that comes when not everything needs to be done right at this moment.
Pull something out of the freezer for dinner.
Curl up with your hot drink and watch free to air tv and ignore the washing pile.
Sometimes it’s just been a day.
D’you hear me? I said it’s okay.


the long way home

I had a myriad of reasons not to go.
Some of them were legitimate: he’s been working all week, we haven’t had much family time.
Others were not so much: I can’t be bothered, I can write from home, why do I need to drive so far [out of my comfort zone].
I’d said I was going a month ago, but if I’m honest, I probably only made the decision fully the day before. Okay yes fine, I’ll just go.

A weekend in New Norcia, a tiny town that took me almost three hours of driving to reach (Friday afternoon at peak hour was probably not the best time to get past the city!), with a bunch of other women writers, eating and sleeping in a monastery.
It was twenty four hours of adventure that I almost passed on because I was tired. Also because I was facing an existential crisis with regards to my writing. I’d thrown my hands up in the air, with the figurative pages of my book manuscript flying up with them. I’d stopped working on it months ago because of all the self-doubt and angst that writers face when their work just doesn’t feel good enough— I decided that my shitty first drafts were too shitty (Anne Lamott, thank you).

Our first night at the monastery, we walked up dark wooden stairs that were slippery with rain, and sat in a small study. The lights were dim, it was warm and we were donned in ugg boots and cosy jumpers.
Here, we were given our first assignment. Write what you’re giving yourself permission for.
Permission to write nothing, permission to write terribly, permission to have fun or take a nap or eat chocolate.

I needed permission. Not from anyone else, but from myself.

Facing another couple of hours in my car alone on my way home, I was tempted to rush.
Rush out of the moments I’d experienced, and rush out of the slowness into the fast pace of my brain’s to-do list. Rush home faster so I could tick more things off before bedtime.
So that I could go home and once again be comfortable and in control.

As I was driving through the country I started telling myself I had permission not to rush. To keep my writer-hat on and sit with my soul-bucket full, and not to hurry into responsibility and motherhood and pouring out again.
As I was giving myself these permissions, I passed the cutest little green caravan with a fruit stand.
That would make the cutest photo I thought. And kept driving.

Coffee, I’ll stop and get a takeaway coffee for the road. The bakery wasn’t far.
The line was long, so I took a seat while I waited for my order, and pulled out my journal.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the fruit stand with it’s old green caravan, and bags of fresh mandarines.
My fountain pen scribbled these words:

I give myself permission to take the long way home.
The way that backtracks to the mandarine stand, because I desperately want a photo. And a bag of freshly picked mandarines.
The long way, past the bakery to stop for a coffee and something sweet. The long way that says
stop – your family are fine without you for this moment. It’s okay to fill your own soul before you pour out for others.

And look. Look how lovely it is to lean into the solitude instead of rushing straight through it.
How lovely it is to embrace adventure, to backtrack to country fruit stands, to stop here in this busy bakery and write, as you sip your long macchiato.

Why don’t we go ahead and give ourselves permission?
Right now. Give yourself permission to take what you need—space, solitude, time out, a night off cooking or cleaning. Permission to say yes to fun: a netball game, a novel, a movie, an ice-cream with the kids.

I drove home, peeling farm-fresh mandarines that filled my car with one of my favourite winter smells. I drove, with their sweet juice bursting in my mouth, savouring each segment as I smiled to myself, full and alone and unhurried.

You’ll have time to tick all the must-do’s on your list tomorrow.
For now, give yourself permission to take the long way home.


Who says? How questioning is actually a good thing.

The other day, my friend Amanda’s Facebook blew up with a photo of her in her new ugg boots, and her implying that she’s tempted to wear them to the school run.
It blew up.

I used to be the kind of person who was okay with going along with the norm.
Oh, that’s how it’s done? Okay. Without a second thought.
We don’t wear that in public? Okay.
Whether it was school, or society or church. Is that how we do it? Okay. Then I’d follow, blindly.

I’m a little less blind these days, and a little less of a follower.

Who says? I think to myself now. Who made the rules?
Why do we do things that no longer serve us, simply because that’s the way they’ve always been done?

Grace Hopper, an American scientist said this;
“The most dangerous phrase in language is, ‘we’ve always done it this way.’”
I think the danger of it is that we stop thinking for ourselves and without realising it, we’ve adopted certain thoughts and ideas—before we know where they’ve come from, or whether they’re even good for us.
We stay immature in our thinking, and our doing.
I think the passage in Romans 12 speaks to this.

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

When we’ve begun to question the status quo, but the people around us are content, and wonder what’s wrong with us, and why we’re suddenly so adverse to the bandwagon we find ourselves passengers on… going against culture is uncomfortable and isolating.

Thinking your own thoughts is mostly not a group activity, unless you love offending people.

I remember the first time I used the word feminist in conversation with someone, and I could physically see the shudder of revulsion in the friend I was talking to. I couldn’t understand why—I’d just discovered how radical Jesus loved, and cared for and honoured women, in a time period they were constantly oppressed, rejected and forgotten. I realised that when the Bible talked about men and women both being created in the image of God, and both bringing gifts of equal importance and value to the table, that Jesus was and is and always will be for love and acceptance and equality between men and women. And that it was okay to fight for equal pay, and equal rights for women, and that I wasn’t crazy for thinking so.
She had not only a visible reaction, there followed a verbal one too.
One that downplayed the word feminist, that tempered the reality of today’s oppression for women, that very gently and firmly shut me down.
I was not only confused, but I was indignant and I was a little bit angry.
I understand the baggage that goes along with the word feminist. I get it.
But who says I can’t be a Christian and a feminist? Who says?
Who says that the patriarchy is okay—in society, in The Church, in business?

Since then, I’ve learned to lean in to my questions, and trust that my questioning is a good thing.

Questioning leads us to seek out and search for the answers to our big wonders.
And the answers we discover by ourselves—by diligently holding a sense of curiosity and wonder—are the only ones that seem to stick.
Those answers are the ones that line up with our convictions, that seem to shout a yes to our souls that no platform, podcast or person can give us.
They’re the ones that deepen our faith, confirm our convictions and bring a content knowing that we can answer why it is we do what we do, or think the way we think.
Questioning takes work. And a bravery to dig deeper and not be afraid of finding answers that make us uncomfortable, because they might just change the lens that we look at the world through.

Maybe we’re wrong, maybe we’re not, but we’re each on a journey of discovery and questioning is crucial.

So, who says you can’t wear uggs in public? Who freakin’ says?
I’ll be over here walking my daughter to school in them, shamelessly.


PS my cute little EMU UGGS are the absolute best. I’ve had them for two years and they still look and feel brand new… even after all my school runs 😉 And this is in no way sponsored, but Emu are an 100% Australian made and owned small business, unlike another very well known UGG brand. If you’re in the market for ugg boots, you can’t go past them.

A life without Instagram – what I’m learning

I’m sure you can learn these things, while having a healthy relationship with your phone, and with Instagram.
I know you can, because Instagram never stopped me from embracing slow. You can put your phone down, you can create boundaries, and you can simplify.
However, my deleting it has done what I’d always hoped it would—quietened the world, and generated a bit more colour. It’s given me freedom.
The freedom not to share my life with the world.
And I feel like I walk around with a sweet little secret.
The world didn’t get to see my wandering through the farmers market, my 5:30am writing or my baby girl curled up and recovering from a tummy bug.
Instead of pulling out my phone or running for my camera, I capture it all with my eyes and heart.
I’m immersed in that beauty—the way the light streams in for a fleeting thirty minutes through that window in the morning before it’s gone, the dark lashes against pale cheeks, and the tidy nook with my new-old armchair and journal. I’m describing those things in my mind and as I do I’m breathing heartfelt thanks and gratitude.

There was a day this week where I was up early. I pull up the blinds so I can see the sky transform from black to grey-dawn. This day it was dusted with pink and glowing gold, and as I sat wrapped in a chunky knit throw I realised that there was no need to drag myself from my cosy corner to snap a photo for my Instagram, that I could relax right there and breathe it in. Those moments become sacred, still, and present.
Where sitting in the present becomes the present, the gift.
Where my secret smile and heartfelt thanks is enough, and there’s no need to defile that sacredness by announcing it to the world.

I’m learning that text messages from friends feel so much more personal and sweet than comments on my Instagram photo.
I’m learning that not knowing what’s happening in the world for a few days is a relief (except when you realise a royal baby has been born! Hello Archie!).
I’m learning that there is something holy about just doing the hard things, without telling the world you’re doing hard things.
I’m learning that I have more time to walk outside, check my succulents and warm my toes in the sunshine, and that this fills my soul and provides more inspiration than gleaning inspiration from Instagram influencers.

I’m learning that it doesn’t matter.
That so much more matters than an online presence and a hustle-till-you-drop.
And I’m learning that growth often occurs in obscurity, and anonymity—and growth > being seen.

And I’m sure all of this could be learned and known and acknowledged without the drastic act of deleting one’s Instagram, but I’m totally up for new days, and new ways.

Tell me, what are you learning/growing/knowing these days?
What’s inspiring you?


PS – if you’re a local, and you’re needing to embrace slow, why don’t you come and gather with Amanda and I next month? Each Tuesday we’ll be doing a devotional together – real connection, no screens, coffee and chatting together about how we can bring some slow to our days. Places are limited, you can purchase your ticket below:


into outer darkness: I deleted my Instagram

I took a deep breath and said it out loud, “I’m thinking about deleting my Instagram account.”
I’ve said that sentence three times, and the reaction is the same: a big deep breath, wide eyes, and then a conversation that follows as my listener tells me all the ways social media is a time-waster, comparison-breeder, insecurity-feeder. And I would agree, that in so many instances that is what Instagram is to me, too.

For me, it’s always been a place of fast connection, instant-engagement-gratification and quick content production—a little scratch of my creative itch, a little connection, a little community. None of which is terrible. For months, though, possibly even for a couple of years, I’ve had nudges to walk away from that grid of squares, from that Still Small Voice—or was it? Is it just me God, thinking I should? I questioned whether this was just a different, more drastic way of gaining attention? Will I announce to the world in piety that Instagram is no longer worthy of I, Em Hazeldean? What are my motives?

Along those same prayerful ramblings I wonder this: what if no one reads what I write anymore?
What if I do write a book, and no one will know and no one will buy copies because I’ve lost the worlds greatest self-promotional tool?
What if I never know what’s happening in the world?
How will I know which clothes are the most stylish?
How will I know which books are being read and endorsed by important people?
I’ll never know the coolest things to buy, the latest trends in home decor or how my hundreds of “friends” (inverted commas because, lets be real, most of them wouldn’t even say hi to me if I passed them in the shops) are spending their weekends/holidays/kids birthdays.

The more I asked myself these questions the more I realised how noisy that world is for me.
How shallow conversations in real life have become, because we’ve all watched each other’s Instagram stories and don’t need to ask how the other’s week has been. How we’ve exchanged knowing each other’s business for actual friendship. How it’s made me a lazy friend who doesn’t initiate phone calls, or dinner dates or invites for coffee. How, instead of making eye contact with the people opposite us, we can’t drag our eyes away from our phones, from the quick hits of happy squares.

I’m not saying Instagram is terrible.

I’m saying that I want to learn again what it’s like to sit in  a space and really see/feel/smell/touch—to engage and delight and appreciate for the pure whimsy and wonder of it all, not to spend that time striving to capture it for an audience of thousands.
I want to string words together in my journal, scribbling with my favourite fountain pen as I curl up in my ugly, fluffy, non-Insta-worthy dressing gown that my girls chose me for Mother’s Day last year. As the words fall out onto the page, I want to be only concerned with an audience of One, not of what words I can pull out and caption my latest post with.
I want to spend time making eye contact, smile at people, and ask genuinely how they are, without having already seen that their kids have been sick, or they’ve renovated their bathroom, or that they’ve been to Bali.
I want people to show the same interest in me, instead of assuming that I am the sum total of my three Instagram posts that week, which are a poor reflection of the richness of my life.
I want to stop being lazy in my creativity and be brave enough to create outside of 100 word captions, and 1080×1080 resolution. I want to pioneer, to enter the wilderness, to hear the Whisper, and to simplify.

I have this memory of my mum sitting at our forest green Formica breakfast bar, holding a phone that was stuck to the wall with its with curly, kinked tendrils of the phone cord wrapped across her shoulder. Planted there, giving her entire focus to her best friend who lived a few houses down, probably after having already had a coffee together that morning. It’s the only way I can think to describe the life I want to get back to.

I want to lean into simple daily rhythms of life where the underlying messages of my days are not keep up, measure up, climb up.

And I’m scared. So scared.
Scared of losing connection and connectedness.
Scared of losing relevance and relationships.
I joked to the ones I’d shared my intention with, that I’ll feel like I’ve been thrust into darkness…

But a couple of mornings ago I planted dwarf lavender seeds into pots filled with warm, black soil and as I buried each tiny seed I knew—in that darkness they will flourish.


PS – are you here because you noticed I was missing from Instagram?
If so, I’m sorry! I didn’t want to create a fuss, I just wanted to slip quietly out the back door and I’m praying that the connections I had there will find me here, in my little corner of the Internet, writing faithfully.


on freedom and instagram

I didn’t realise I was bound but I was.
Maybe even there are parts of me that still am—mostly only the parts that are human.
It was Instagram. It’s tentacles wrapped slowly, silently around the deepest recesses of my heart and taunted me.
I was bound by the need to please and the need for perfection and the need to stand out, and all of these needs were like ropes wrapped around and around me so tight that I was often immobilised from any performance anyway.
I wanted likes and I wanted followers and I wanted engagement and what that really meant was that I was looking for value and looking to be noticed—in the wrong place of course.
And when we’re bound tight by those wants and needs, we often find ourselves in places of comparison and competition.
When I started looking at numbers I was caught up in an inner tornado that swirled around pushing, proving, hustling, comparing, competing.
I’d look at other writers and lament my lack of ability to string words together the way they did.
I’d watch ‘influencers’ and their beautiful portraits, taken by amazing photographers, wearing outfits that looked effortlessly chic.
I’d browse the galleries of wedding and family photographers with hundreds of thousands of followers, trying to pinpoint the thing that I could glean to grow my client base that big, earn that much.
I felt the pressure to reveal my vulnerabilities, overshare my struggles (because that gains likes like nobody’s business).

But pangs of envy didn’t sit well with my soul and I knew I needed something to shift.

”… we no longer find a sense of self through the art of living. Instead, we find a sense of self through performance. We no longer live; we act. We have all become actors in the movies of our lives.”*

I didn’t want to be an actor anymore.

So I began to place boundaries.
Because freedom often comes from setting parameters.
Freedom comes when we can limit, refrain, and control.
Freedom is not always a wide open ‘yes’, but a gentle, soul-caring ‘no’.

I’ve become invested in the idea that what is invisible is the most important work.
That what isn’t seen—the disciplines I impose, the goals I strive towards; the early morning runs along the coast without my phone, the hours spent reading a novel without a curated photo of it, the time spent laying in bed with my kids and tucking them in long and tight with prayers and chats—this is the important stuff.

Character over performance.
Obscurity over fame.
Books over social media.
Purpose over platform.

It’s not always easy, in a culture that elevates performance, ‘influence’ and notoriety.
We are all desperate to be seen and known, but lately I’ve been reading the gospel of Matthew and we can be comforted that as Jesus calls us disciples He sees, and He knows us.
As he was walking by the shore of Lake Galilee, Jesus noticed two fishermen who were brothers. One was named Simon (later called Peter), and the other was Andrew, his brother. Watching as they were casting their nets into the water, Jesus called out to them and said, “Come and follow me…

He notices you my friend, and regardless of your performance, he still calls to you, “come and follow, come and walk with me”


* Mark Sayers book The Vertical Self is cultural commentary + self discovery GOLD.

heart and soul in the here and now

There was a job advertised that I wanted. 
It was perfect. 
And everything in me knew that if I applied for it, I would have a really great chance of it being mine. 
In the space of 30 seconds I’d dreamed of what it would feel like to call myself a ‘content editor’ or an editor at all really, and these thoughts contained all the elation and all the excitement and then all of it was sucked out again as reality fell hard and fast. 
The reality is that I’m still a semester and a half from getting my degree. 
I don’t have a spare 20-30 hours a week or a free finger to spin another plate. 

I study full time.
I walk my girls to school every morning, and I drive every afternoon to pick up my high-schooler. Those three little people take up time, and space and emotional energy as I love them into growing up. I have a coffee every afternoon when the hardest worker of us all arrives home, exhausted, and we tea together in the evening, on our bed with books and Bibles or Netflix or nothing but each other. 
All five of us sit around our kitchen island bench every evening without fail and we eat together a meal that I’ve either poured love and creativity into, or hurriedly thrown into the oven and apologetically plated after. 
I nest our house into a home. My people wear clean clothes, and take full lunchboxes to school daily. 
I’m also sold-out-invested-head-over-heels involved in my local church. I volunteer time and energy and effort and brain capacity into working and serving and creating alongside people I call family. 
See? I don’t have a spare 20-30 hours a week to land a job I would love to spend the rest of my life doing and when I realised that, for that moment, the reality crushed me and I resented my season.

But then, in a burst of glory I remembered past seasons I had wanted to hurry through. 
Ones that I think of now with strange nostalgia, and a deep need to slow the clock and number may days. Number them; not to worry about when they’ll end, but to slowly and intentionally appreciate each one. 

Because right now, summer is fading. The mornings are crisp and cool, and the sun seems dimmer in the day, and I know even the crunchy autumn leaves that adorn the trees in gold will fall and leave the branches bare soon. Seasons come and go and in every single one there is so much beauty to behold. The natural seasons remind me that the ones in my life are not endless. 

So I guess what I am reminding myself of is that whatever I’m doing, I’ll put my heart and soul into, in that moment. Until the season shifts.


threads of jesus

I had the sudden urge last week to clean out a cluttered shelf right at the back of my robe. 
It contained a whole array of things I was keeping ‘just in case’ which were ruthlessly thrown from my perch on a stool down into a big cardboard box headed for the thrift store. 
At the back of this robe though, I discovered a box of old journals dating back to 2004. 
Pulling this hefty weight down from the shelf and onto my bed I intended to flick through quickly, stack them again neatly and return them to their place. 
Instead, I found myself transported back fourteen years, where old seasons of my life replayed before my eyes and became real again. 
My accounts of friendships, of my every day, of work and life as a single young woman who’d just moved in to her very own apartment.
I was cringing awkwardly reading the words of my 19 year old self, as well as feeling again all the emotions that went with the territory of discovering God, and myself, and caring deeply what other people thought, and crushing hard on a boy who was just as clueless as I was, and who played with my heart a little too frivolously. 

I sat for what felt like hours, and still days later it was playing on my mind.  
I was remembering what it felt like to fight with that boy, to feel lost and unsure, and reliving afresh falling pregnant at 20, unmarried, and feeling like my whole world capsized. 

The journals are full of prayers, written to a God I barely knew and my scribbled imaginings of the future that I’m living now
And in this now, on the other side of all those things that didn’t make sense at the time, I see them so differently. 
I see the boy who became my husband and laugh at how little we knew each other then, and how deep a love can go. 
I see the threads of Jesus woven through years of a young girl’s life, all of it leading me to this place here and now. 
I see that the prayers I prayed then, however awkward and cringeworthy were not in vain – that He saw, He heard, He was there, even when I didn’t feel Him.

And it reminds me that in my now when I am unsure of what’s to come, when I try to control flimsy moments in my days, or feel like my prayers are silent in heaven – that He is in control. That one day this will be the past I look back on and I’ll see clearly the threads of Jesus woven through my life as a beautiful tapestry. That He takes my awkwardness, my doubt, my heart after Him, and weaves it together like a beautiful love story. 

You are so intimately aware of me, Lord.
You read my heart like an open book
and you know all the words I’m about to speak
before I even start a sentence!

You know every step I will take before my journey even begins.
You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way,

and in kindness you follow behind me
to spare me from the harm of my past
Psalm 139:3-5

Jesus’ disciples were trying to understand what He was telling them, in the lead up to the cross. They didn’t get what God was doing, couldn’t see His grand plan in the midst of confusion… but in this lead up to Easter, in this Lent season, I want to encourage us that He’s gone into our future to prepare a way! We can’t always see it, but we can trust that He is ever holding, ever loving, ever weaving His love story through our lives. 

God, help me to always remember that You are in control. When life doesn’t make sense, YOU still do. When what happens around us is far from good, you are still Good. Thank you for paving the way to our future for us, and waiting for us there with grace, and for weaving through our lives your never-giving-up love. Amen x