Tag Archives: happiness

Get carried away with life

So this past Friday I took my children to the British Museum, it’s one of my favourite places in London and thankfully they’ve caught the bug too. When we arrived I gave them a map each, so they could decide which exhibits they wanted to see and I simply followed. Like most parents I find my kids and their quirks quite fascinating, so I quite enjoy just watching them as they explore and seeing their reactions to the richness that the museum contains. Anyway as we approached the East Staircase (pictured below) I started expressing my excitement about how awesome it was, and my 7 year old comes out with; “mummy, I think you’re getting a bit carried away” lol.

Umm, yes I’m getting carried away…

There’s a lot in life to get carried away with! I found this definition of ‘carried away’: “made very emotional or enthusiastic, swept away”. I quite like the notion of getting ‘swept away’, because we often live such constrained lives; constrained by expectations, constrained by jobs, constrained by what we perceive as our own limitations. Now don’t get me wrong, I think we have to be careful about getting carried away on a wave of emotion, because it can often cloud our judgement. But what my daughter witnessed was me fully embracing and enjoying the moment, not in a rush to move on to the next thing, just completely embracing what was in front of me at that moment. What she witnessed was mindfulness. Mindfulness according to Ellen Langer, a famous researcher on the topic, is defined as:

“The ordinary everyday capacity each of us has to notice new things”

On the contrary she defines mindlessness as:

“Characterised by an entrapment in old categories; by automatic behaviour that precludes attending to new signals; and by action that operates from a single perspective”

Most of us live mindlessly most of the time, rarely present in the moment just in a hurry to move on to the next. I am a type A personality, so honestly living mindlessly comes very natural to me. I’m in the process of training myself to live mindfully and it really began this year when I decided to do away with the plan, it’s exhilarating.

Life is all about perspective

I guess it’s that glass half full analogy. We live in a society that is obsessed with everything they don’t have. I just invite you to take a minute to fully embrace what you do have, in this moment. One thing that we all have is life – that alone is cause for excitement! So yes, in answer to my daughter’s statement, I’m getting carried away, and I invite you to do the same :) PS: I’m currently reading this book on mindfulness that is pretty good, A Book of Sparks: A Study in Christian Mindfullness.

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Don’t Wait to Get Stuck in a Rut to Find a New Route

change

One day about 3 months ago I was driving to work and about to get on the motorway when I realised that there was a tailback for miles and traffic was not moving. Now, normally I would simply sigh and get in line because as far as I knew there wasn’t an alternative route to my job. For some reason that morning I decided to get my phone out, find Google maps and ask it to navigate to my place of work, to my surprise it identified a route that completely avoided the traffic and I arrived at work in probably half the time I would have, had I sat in the traffic. Bear in mind that I have been commuting an average of 3 hours a day to and from work for almost 4 years, traffic jams are a regular occurrence and yet this is the first time it occurred to me to look for an alternative route hmm.

I was struck by this self-assessment, because I have always considered myself to be quite open to change. In fact in both my personal and work life I often lead change, but this experience showed me that I’m actually not as receptive to change as I thought I was. It took me being in a situation we’re I was ‘stuck’ to look for an alternative route. There was no reason why I couldn’t have looked for alternative routes prior to this and saved myself an abundance of time over the years, except my self-imposed boundaries that seem to have appeared out of nowhere. It reminded me that we are indeed creatures of habit, when we’ve been doing things for a while we often forget why we started doing them in the first place and stop asking ourselves why, even when it stops making sense.

It turns out I was given a life lesson that morning and I realised a few things:

1. There is always an alternative route, even if it’s really hidden

We’re often fooled into thinking there is no other way, so instead we settle and tolerate things that can be changed. In actual fact there is always another way, the question is whether or not we’re motivated enough to find it.

2. You have more options in life than you probably think

Truth be told we often impose boundaries and limitations on ourselves that need not exist, remedying this is normally just a matter of changing our thinking and expanding our vision. Proverbs 23:7 says; “As a man thinks in his heart so is he…”

3. Taking risks doesn’t always pay off but sometimes it does and when it does, it’s worth it

It’s such a travesty that so many of us live life fearfully, scared to take a chance and venture into new territory. I don’t advocate taking foolish and unnecessary risks, but I do believe a certain amount of risk taking does enrich our lives.

4. Change really is as good as a rest

Change can be rejuvenating, if you’ve ever moved house or changed jobs there is a feeling of new beginnings and a fresh start (despite the hard work and stress that comes with it).

5. Exploring can be fun and fun is important

As children we explore instinctively, it’s an innate part of playing and having fun, but as adults we forget this simple joy. Let’s regress a little!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this year I’m living more freely than I ever had, I’m not sure where this year will take me but I know it’s going to be good :)

So I encourage you to live freely, every now again take a new route, you may be positively surprised by where it takes you.

Speak soon,
Katrina

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What is a balanced life really?

life balance

We hear  a lot about work life balance and there is much talk in the media about the importance of it and how to achieve it. Having been a mother and wife for my entire working life, balancing career and family has always been an important topic for me. I’ve always felt strongly about not confining myself to one particular role i.e. I am not just a mother, I am not just a wife, I am not just a business women I am all of these things and more, and it’s always been important to me to grow in all these areas simultaneously. It occured to me recently that my notion of a balanced life has changed. I used to think of balance in terms of putting equal effort in to all the respective areas of my life. After all, a common definition of balance is:

“An even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady”

But in actual fact I’ve found that maintaining balance in my own life very rarely means that. Life is not neat and tidy, at every stage in life there will be one or two areas that require more of your time, effort and focus than others. Therefore in life, balance never means equal.  I’m reminded of Ecclessiastes 3:1

“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.”

Sometimes the  season and where the focus is needed is obvious, and it will be dictated by circumstances e.g. if your family is having a hard time financially it will be obvious that you need to focus on increasing your income and earning potential. Or if your child is having a hard time at school then the focus will be more on family.

However, often the change in season is not that obvious, in fact we would do well not to wait until circumstances dictate a change in focus. Quite often there are signs way before we reach this point which indicate that we need to adjust our priorities. Therefore maintaining balance for me,  means that I am aware enough and mindful enough to gauge where I need to apply the most focus in my life at any given time.

Right now in my own life I sense a change in season. From the outside looking in,  it all looks good and to be honest it is. I’m at a very good place in life and yet change is on the horizon because in my heart I know it’s time. No one can detect the times and seasons in your life better than you, you can read all you want to on maintaining a healthy work life balance, but none of it will tell you what is right for you.

So I leave you with a question, what season are you in and as we enter a New Year where do  you need to apply the most focus?

Blessings,
Katrina

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Uncovering You

Uncovering you

Covering ourselves is often wise and decent, but have we got things a little twisted? It seems modern culture encourages us to bare more of our skin but hide more of our hearts. Perhaps it’s time to flip the script.

Romans 8:35 says;

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
I was reading this verse the other day and the word nakedness struck me. I’ve read this verse many times but had never really noticed it. So I began to ponder what nakedness really means.

Yes, the most common definition is to be without clothing or covering, but it’s more than that, as another definition puts it, it seems to imply being ‘exposed to harm and vulnerability’. With this in mind it stands to reason that we are prone to covering ourselves, no one wants to expose themselves to harm deliberately.

But is nakednes always negative and does it always leave us exposed to harm? – No, it depends who we are exposing our vulnerabilities to.

We fear that our nakedness; the baring of who we are – the good, the bad and the ugly will make us unloveable. To society at large perhaps. But that’s only because for the most part, most of us are working with an inferior definition of love, suffice to say God is love and there can be nothing more liberating than to bare all before Him. Not even the uncovering of our sin and shame can seperate us from the love of God.

Many of us seem ashamed to bare our true selves, we feel the need to embellish ourselves, as if it’s not enough just to be who we were created to be.

It started in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 3:10 states;

So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.
We walk around camouflaged – from the way we dress, to morphing into different people depending on who we’re around, the situation or circumstance. There’s a better way.

I’m a Christians for many reasons but one of the main reasons is that in Christ I don’t have to hide anymore, hiding is hard work! Now I walk free.

God covers us with His love, grace, peace and truth. He covers our imperfection with His perfection and transforms us from the inside out.

We aught not be ashamed to bring the things that aren’t right into the light, because the truth is, we can only be delivered from the dark things in our lives when they are exposed. We first  have to expose ourselves to the light, before we can be transformed by the light.

2 Corinthians 3:18 states;

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

So I encourage you to allow the real you to stand up and walk into the light, His name is Jesus!

 In Jesus we’ve been invited to go back to Genesis 2:25;

 Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.
(As I was contemplating this topic I remembered a book I read years ago by TD Jakes called It’s Time to Reveal What God Longs to Heal: Naked and Not Ashamed definitely worth a read.)

 

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Innovation, Inspiration and Infants

We are all born creative. We just got it educated out of us. -  @ThamKhaiMeng

Born creative

I spent Tuesday at Internet World promoting the new .London domain on the Dot London stand which I was pleased to be doing as it’s probably one of the most promising of the new top level domains being released this year.  However, If you’ve ever manned a trade show stand for any length of time, no matter how interesting the product or solution you’re promoting may be, the experience is generally  less than joyful lol.

The highlight of my day was in fact the arrival of three young boys aged between about 11 and 13, at first I thought nothing of their presence until I heard them speaking quite articulately to one of my colleagues about domains, their website, a game they had created and how the three of them had formed a partnership to realise their idea.

I actually felt so emotional and filled with pride at their enthusiasm, determination and creativity that anyone would have thought they were related to me and not three strangers that I had just met (I think that type of emotional overflow is one of the weird side effects of motherhood). According to the father that was with them, under 18′s aren’t typically allowed to these trade shows and they had to apply especially for the rules to be waivered,  I was so inspired by them it got me thinking about how kids inspire me in general.

I just love that children are not deterred by barriers; their natural inclination is to get under them, around them or over them and there is much we can learn from this attitude.

We often hear that if you want to be great it pays to follow and take notes from those that have tread the path before us, I believe that there is great value in that  and it’s one of the reasons business mentors are so important. However, I also think there is much to be learnt from our children and young people,  so I thought I’d share 3 things I’ve learnt from mine:

1.   They are totally unrealistic

We as adults are often hindered by what we feel is ‘realistic’, that is what is ‘sensible’, ‘practical’, ‘achievable’ and ‘expected’, which is fine but limiting if you want to achieve anything significant in life.

Children just flow with their imagination, and embrace the possibilities, the issue of whether or not something is ‘realistic’ never pops into their heads. As we get older we loose this ability to think freely and often impose invisible boundaries on ourselves. I am by no means encouraging recklessness, there are indeed times when realism serves us well. But, we’ll also do well to  free ourselves from what is ‘realistic’ sometimes and pursue those things  we once dreamed about. If others have done so and succeeded why not you?

Richard Branson certainly wasn’t thinking about what was realistic when he founded Virgin Galactic and decided to make space tourism a reality.

2.   They have mastered the art of  ‘bouncebackability’

Children just aren’t discouraged by failure, they just get up and go again. Often we’re paralysed by failure or the fear of it, but there comes a point when you’ve just got to feel the fear and do it anyway. In the words of Tim Storey a set back is a set-up for a come back”.

3.  They have an incredible capacity and willingness to learn

Children have such a thirst for knowledge and never stop asking questions, I’m often fascinated by my children’s capacity to learn and retain information, their brains are indeed like sponges.  As we get older our thirst for knowledge tends to cease and we get bogged down in what we already know, which can limit not only our thinking but also our prospects. There is an extricable link between economic prosperity and the ability to acquire knowledge.

One of my favourite Bible verses is 1 Corinthians 2:9 which says:

But as it is written: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”

I believe there are things that God has for us that we haven’t even imagined.

I’m reading a book at the moment called ‘Faith For Like: Overcoming Everyday Challenges’ and in it Bishop Keith A. Butler says:

“God gave you imagination not so that you could make movies with nine-feet tall blue people in a tree. God gave you imagination so that you could see the promise in advance.”

Richard Branson could see the reality of space tourism in his minds eye probably way before he founded Virgin Galactic. Today, not only has the commercial spacecraft been built, but as seen in the video above it has just completed it’s third test flight into space.

So finally, my question is – what can you see on the inside of you and what are you going to do about it?

Speak soon,
Katrina

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The Case For Christ

The case for Christ

My story

I was an only child until I was 18 and as a result have always liked my own company and have always had lots of time to just think. I recall pondering deep questions like ‘why are we even here?’ from quite an early age, in fact my mum often says I seemed to live in my head as a child. I could never get my head around the fact that supposedly life was just about living, getting married, having kids and dying. I remember thinking as far back as I can remember that that just doesn’t make sense, surely that can’t be it?

In my early teens I just felt like I needed more – a better explanation, I felt a pull to be in church. My Gran had always brought us grankids to church, a lovely Church of England church, a church that I’m actually really fond of, the church that I got married in. But I knew this wasn’t the church for me – not every church is for everyone it’s not necessarily that one church is better than the other, it’s just that I believe God knows exactly what we need and plants us exactly where we’ll find it, for me that is now Word of Faith UK (yes I’m unashamedly plugging my church lol, come visit).

Anyway, to cut a long story short I found my way to New Testament Church of God in Willesden and gave my life to Christ at 16 and haven’t looked back since. For the first time in my life I felt that I found meaning in life, I found something that made sense to me, and at the centre of it all was ‘Jesus’ so I prayed a prayer that went a little something like this Prayer of Salvation.

So I came to Christ by faith, I didn’t rationalise it, I just felt the pull of God and it was something that I had to do.  I don’t come from a family of avid church goers where church is compulsory, my parents only ever imposed two rules on me ‘do good at school’ and ‘have manners and respect’. Neither have I ever been one to move with a crowd or be easily influenced by others, so this wasn’t about pressure of any kind, I recall I was actually at church by myself that night – this decision was all about me and God.

The Case for Christ

I believe by faith and I try hard to live my life by faith (although I admit I fail sometimes), but I’m also naturally academic so Christian Apologetics (a field of Christian theology which aims to present a rational basis for the Christian faith, defending the faith against objections) has always appealed to me. It always annoys me when people assume that Bible believing, Christ confessing evolution rejecting people like me are uneducated and lack intelligence. What I like about Christian apologists is that they are able to go head to head with the most avid atheists like Richard Hawkins and refute their arguments from a rational perspective.

Ravi Zacharias

One of my favourite Christian apologists is Ravi Zacharias, for forty years Ravi Zacharias has spoken all over the world and in numerous universities, notably Harvard, Princeton, and Oxford University.  He has addressed writers of the peace accord in South Africa, the president’s cabinet and parliament in Peru, and military officers at the Lenin Military Academy and the Center for Geopolitical Strategy in Moscow.  At the invitation of the President of Nigeria, he addressed delegates at the First Annual Prayer Breakfast for African Leaders held in Mozambique. RZIM

Lee Strobel

The title for this post actually comes from a book I read quite a few years ago called The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus by Lee Strobel. The book is about how Strobel a seasoned journalist and former legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, chases down the biggest story in history, asking the question is there credible evidence that Jesus of Nazareth really is the Son of God? Retracing his own spiritual journey from atheism to faith. Definitely worth a read.

CS Lewis

Probably one of the most famous Christian apologists to date is CS Lewis, author of the Chronicles of Narnia, if you didn’t already know, these stories are Christian allegories. I bought myself the The Complete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics: Boxed Set for Christmas and I’m actually looking forward to getting stuck into The Screwtape Letters this weekend. One of his many quotes:

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. – C. S. Lewis

Yep that last quote pretty much sums it up. So why have I written this post, well three reasons:

  • This is my blog and it occurred to me that I’d failed to tell you my story
  • To demonstrate that Christianity makes sense on every level
  • To tell you about Jesus, because when you have something good you share it

So I’ll leave you with this:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.…(John 3:16-17)

Choose life, choose Jesus.

Love and blessings,
Katrina

 

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Slowing Down to Take a Minute with Jesus

To say I’ve been going hard since the beginning of the year, would be an understatement I have been utterly consumed with where I want to be this time next year and tonight I felt God say “stop!”

Tonight I realised that I’ve been like Martha and Jesus is calling me to sit at his feet like Mary… in case you’re unfamiliar with the story:

3As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

So even though I have so much to say to you about so many things, tonight my priority is to sit at the feet of Jesus, for He is indeed the love of my life and the source of my strength.

But before I go I want to leave you with one of my all time favourite Gospel songs – indeed I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold.

Speak tomorrow x

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Work to live

So it’s that time of the year when I start thinking about holiday destinations and one on my must visit list this year is the beautiful lake Garda in Italy (please excuse the over produced somewhat cheesy marketing video above but it does have some beautiful shots ;). I’ve wanted to visit Italy for a while and it was a toss up between Tuscany and Lake Garda for my first trip, ultimately the thermal baths, spas and lake views won out this time but Tuscany is a must for me also.

Yes the lovely video of Lake Garda is nice to look at but the reason for me writing this post is not just to share the video with you, but to ask a more fundamental question; why do you work anyway? Of course for most of us the most obvious reason is money, but surely it’s got to be about more than that.

I love my work but to be honest I love life more and for me work is not a goal in itself, it’s about the life choices that it affords me. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the routine of what we do and never take the time to look beyond that, of course work has some intrinsic value (satisfaction, monetary reward, recognition, achievement etc.) and it’s an important part of life but surely life’s got to be about more than work.

I really just wanted to take a minute to challenge you to think about the things you really want to achieve and experience in life and let that be your motivation. I believe work should be the means to help get you there not the end in itself.

In a nutshell work to live, don’t live to work.

My next stop is Lake Garda, I want to see as much of this beautiful world as I possibly can. For me travelling is such an important part of life and I view it as an essential part of my children’s education because it broadens our perspective.

So where’s your next stop? what destination are you working towards?

It would be great to hear your thoughts, so feel free to comment below.

For more on lake Garda here’s a cool Pinterest page Lake Garda.

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