Will the real confident, breezing through life, have it all people please stand up

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I have noticed that more and more people are talking about their desire or attempts to live up to, become, be more like the confident people. The people who have it all together. The people who breeze through life. The ‘have it alls’.

You know the ones? They walk into a crowded room and can immediately engage and dazzle with their scintillating conversation. They are able to juggle every area of their life with ease and they are always happy. They don’t experience fear, doubt, worry or low self esteem.

The rest of us are constantly struggling with ‘ impostor syndrome getting overwhelmed with the sense that we are continually winging it and eventually we will be found out and exposed for the frauds we really are.

The things is… the more I talk to people and admit to the fact I feel I am perpetually winging it through life, the more I realise that most other people would say they are doing that too.

People I thought were confident and extroverted actually turn out to be introverts with a good amount of bravado. The calm, serene people who seem to breeze through life actually admit to being like ducks – paddling for dear life under the surface.

So, I’m starting to think it’s all one big lie. That the ‘have it alls’, the people who breeze through life – they don’t actually exist. It’s a facade. A facade that causes each of us to set ourselves impossibly high standards that we can never reach and therefore we can enjoy beating ourselves up about it for the rest of our lives.

I could be wrong of course. So, I am asking just to check, just to see –

Will the real confident, breezing through life, have it all people, please stand up?

Stand up and show yourself if you love introducing yourself to new people and making small talk – never doubting for a minute or being held back by limiting beliefs about yourself.

Stand up if life is a breeze, you never experience anxiety or worry, you don’t have stress.

Stand up if you have never once felt like to a certain extent you are just winging it and you will one day get found out.

Stand up if you have it all and you never feel guilty, or that that you compromised on something or that you sacrificed one area of your life to improve another.

Stand up if you are there.

How not to blog – why I won't follow the rules

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I have been doing a lot of thinking lately (dangerous I know!) about my blog and its purpose.

You see, I was challenged to begin it as a way of telling my story and stories online. It is if you like, my life played out.

I know that I should attempt to find a niche, a topic, a neat little box to fit into and by doing so I could use numerous techniques to develop a following. The things is, that’s not going to work.

I write my blog about my life and my life doesn’t fit into neat categories or a niche. I am a wife, a mother, a teacher ( maybe ex?), Christian, book lover, product reviewer and occasional ‘Ooh an opportunity to blog’ type of person.

This isn’t a Christian blog but I will discuss my faith, this isn’t a mummy blog but I will talk about motherhood and baby products, this isn’t a book review blog but I will review books, this isn’t an educational blog but I will talk about teaching, students, young people.

This is my blog, about me, showing how my life is a number of different facets and aspects of a whole. I write from the heart and want to be me.

You are very welcome to join me in my journey, join me as I turn the pages and play out my story, but I won’t fit neatly into a category and I would love to apologise for that but I can’t.

Baby Cups – an oxymoron?

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When my son was born, I made the decision to breast feed. At 8 weeks old we attempted to introduce to him a bottle with expressed milk This was unsuccessful.

I have had many ‘helpful’ comments explaining to me that if he was really hungry he would take a bottle no trouble.

This was not the case and I believe I am not the only mother who found themselves in this position, made to feel as though they had failed in some way, or that they had ‘spoilt’ their child by breast feeding.

I do not feel hard done by. I did not want to introduce a bottle as a substitute to feeding, I was always intending to continue but it was so that I could be away from my son for longer than two hours if I wanted to be.

We persevered, we didn’t just give up on the bottle but it became clear that it was not to be.

At that point, I discovered this was not an isolated case.

When my son was about five and a half months old, I stumbled across @babycuphello Twitter account.

Baby cups? Surely this was somewhat of an oxymoron? A small open cup for a baby to drink from themselves, this couldn’t work could it?

Babycup -Little cups for little people. Weaning and drinking 6mths-2.5yrs. Cup- feeding newborns including premature babies.

Find out more about babycup

I loved the concept, read the testimonials and decided we had to give them a go.

This is an honest, no holds barred, Mum trying a product review.

I write this in the hope that other mums who may have been made to feel that they have somehow ‘failed’ their child by being unsuccessful with a bottle will quash that idea and see there is an alternative.

When I first received the babycups, they reminded me somewhat of shot glasses.

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My son was intrigued by them, wanting to hold a babycup and explore it. I noticed, as I gave it to him just to look at for the first time that he almost insinstinctively put it to his mouth.

The first few times that we attempted it with a little water, I had to help him navigate holding it but he immediately made drinking motions and took liquid in.

This was a milestone moment for us. There was no turning of the head or flat refusal.

Within a week, my son was able to hold a babycup independently and drink from it.

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We had done little more than help him hold it initially and then slowly remove support. It took a week for him to become an independent drinker at 6 months old!

The cups come in a range of colours, are small enough to fit in your changing bag or even handbag and are endorsed as healthy choice for your baby.

This product has quite frankly been life changing for us as a family and have provided a solution and alternative to bottles.

Don’t just take my word for it, check out the @babycuphello Twitter account for plenty more pictures and testimonials of babycup being used by parents.

You can also check out my Twitter account @Loulou_Uberkirk to see my own tweets about the product prior to writing this review.

So, if you’re a parent feeling guilty or as if you have failed, if you are a parent looking for an alternative to sippy cups or bottles, or if you are weaning and want to try something new, try babycup.

Reasonably priced, in a range of colours, small and portable and promoting independence for your little one.

Further questions contact Sara hello@babycup.co.uk or on Twitter @babycuphello

Combating the inner critic – choose encouragement

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I came across this in my social media feeds today and although it’s nothing I haven’t heard before, today it resonated. Maybe because it is a Monday or maybe because it is important right now to me and many others.

It’s just 9am on a Monday morning. Many people will have completed the commute and be on their way to the office, those who work at home will be sat in front of their screens, maybe with an empty bowl of cereal nearby. Teachers will be well into teaching their first lesson of the day. Parents may have just finished the school run, some mothers will be building up the will to get through the day after a sleepless night, some, like me, will be sat in a slight daze as their little one has their morning nap wondering if they have time to do the list of jobs piling up on that ‘to-do’ list. All of us navigating the thoughts in our minds.

How have you begun your day? Have you already given in to that well of criticalness that seeks to take over? Have you been a ‘Monday moaner’?

The sunshine at the weekend changed people’s moods. There were smiles and a sense of being upbeat. However, there was still the tendency from some to start with the critical ‘It’s too hot.’

There is a sense that whatever circumstances we are in, the voice that tends to be the loudest is that of the critic.

I know that you have an inner critic who gets at you all day long, I know that often a way to deal with it is to become negative or sharp tongued with others.

The truth is, we all crave a bit of encouragement, a sense of being built up, of being offered an alternative but despite that we rarely offer it to others.

For Lent this year, I am following the #40 acts challenges and today we are asked to have ‘an attitude of gratitude’ you can check out further details here 40 acts

We have been asked to write a thank you note. I was quite convicted as I can’t remember the last time I did this. I have sent emails and texts but not a hand written note or card.

I know how much I like to receive cards and notes and yet I don’t offer that to others very often.

Sometimes we spend so much time and energy on combating our own inner critics that we don’t reach out and help others with theirs. Surely it would be easier to share the load?

So instead of listening to your inner critic, instead of letting that be your voice and shape your words, how about letting the encourager take over for today?

So many of us get caught in a shadow of discouragement – how about offering an alternative? A way out for those that you are in contact with today? You never know, you may even silence that critic for yourself.

I would love to know how you get on! Please feel free to leave a comment telling me how it goes.

A different love story

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Being Valentine’s Day it seems fitting to post about love. The problem is, as a society our idea of love has become synonymous with flowers, chocolates and hearts or worse still we have confused the concept of love with lust.

For me personally Valentine’s Day is just like any other, not because my husband is unromantic, or because I myself am, but because I don’t think love is something you express on only one day of the year or that it should only be focused on for one day.

I was asked by yesheis.com to review their new video for Valentine’s Day – it is entitled ‘A different love story’ and can be found here

The video begins with a girl telling us she was waiting to be swept off her feet by a Prince Charming the way it is portrayed in films and songs. The fairytale of love we are taught to buy into.

In fact all she really wanted was to be treasured.

Then the voice changes to a male voice saying ‘We are all just looking, looking for someone.’

Both tell their own stories of seeking love as they believed it should be and how it left them wanting.

They tell the story of their own
journey in finding the love of Jesus.
What I like about this video is that it is based around the whole idea of personal story – we are being told about their journey first hand.

There is something powerful to me about someone’s story and experience – getting to know where they were and where they are now.

There is contrast in the two stories in their starting points and how they came to seek out love and although they both find that it is the love of Jesus that ultimately satisfies it shows how different that relationship is for each of them.

We are left with the text ‘Jesus thinks you’re to die for. Get to know him for yourself.’

A clever play on words – it makes you think and that is the ultimate success of the video – it makes you think.

If you were asked to define love what would you say? If you had to talk about your experiences of it would they be similar to the stories in the video?

You see even though they are two personal stories they could be any of ours.

This Valentine’s Day, why not watch the video for yourself and think, really think about your understanding of love.

The 'all about me' attitude

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I am off to somewhat of a slower start this morning. I was up as usual with my husband before he went to work but decided that for me, this morning, the best thing I could do was rest. 

The weekend was a very busy one. Consisting of a meal out with friends Friday evening, antenatal class Saturday morning, a garden party Saturday afternoon and a dedication at church and then a picnic afterwards on Sunday with an impromptu visit to my mum’s for the evening. 

It is weekends like this that I realise I cannot be so much of the social butterfly when I am 31 weeks pregnant and the temperature is almost hitting 30c. 

So, this morning began with an extra nap. 

I didn’t post over the weekend – apart from the fact that I didn’t really get near my computer, I  had the weekend to think about all that God has been doing and saying to me recently. Sometimes the listening is as important. 

Sunday morning, I prayed in my kitchen with my husband this time as he was not on a rota this weekend and I again saw the words we prayed echoed in the prayers of the congregation as we met to pray before the service. 

It was hot in church on Sunday – it didn’t  stop me from giving my all in worship but it did mean I suffered from that hot weather paranoia about visible sweat patches on my back. 

Our church twitter account was announced and while tweeting during the service – another local church began to tweet and retweet the sermon points I was sharing. it was good to build a link this way and encouraging. 

By the end of the service I was in desperate need of a shower, sweaty, hot and uncomfortable so obviously this is the point when the pastor asked me to pray for someone.  I could have said no, could have chosen not to pray from feeling uncomfortable and hot and sweaty but I didn’t.  

It made me think about the fact that God does not need us to be pristine and perfect to use us and work through us. Ultimately because it is not about us but all about Him. It made me think about whether we can often say no to God because we aren’t quite feeling ready or feeling like it at that moment. It isn’t the right time, we have somewhere to be, we are not in the right place ourselves, we don’t know what to say, or how to act and actually it just feels plain uncomfortable. 

The words pride and vanity come to mind. I am convicted myself by this. The ‘what about me?’ come into play all too often. The ‘there must be someone else’.How often are we missing out on blessing for ourselves and others because we are dictated by our feelings and the ‘it’s all about me’ attitude?

Hard to admit isn’t it? Ugly to admit? leaves a nasty taste, an awkward feeling. How often have we allowed this to happen?

I don’t write this to make you feel condemned. There is no condemnation. There is grace.

Grace that says to us ‘Ok, you have recognised the mistake now turn back to me.’ Grace that says ‘Hey, shall we try that again?’ Grace that says ‘Whoops – that didn’t go so well did it? How about you fix your eyes on me and we will do this together.’

So today, if you are heavily pregnant, hot and sweaty, if you are feeling overwhelmed by your to do list, if you are trying to juggle life and family and God, if you are feeling lonely, if you are feeling down. If you are trying to muddle your way through this journey we call life.  If you have been a bit too ‘it’s all about me.’ there is grace for you but God is also calling you, speaking to you and asking to use you and work through you. 

We don’t need to be pristine and perfect in our humanness. We cannot make ourselves that way. Jesus makes us that way through his death on the cross. It is not about us, it is all about Him. 

What is God asking you to do today and what will your answer be?

What's on your mind?

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what's on your mind

Today, as I sit writing this post looking out of the window at the sunshine, I want to ask you a question: What’s on your mind?

Before you saw the image with this post did you realise that is what Facebook asks you every time you update your status?

Why is it that we happily post on Facebook and Twitter about our thoughts but if I were to ask you that question right now I am guessing the initial answer might be ‘Nothing.’ or ‘Not much’ but is that true?

Even discussing ‘What’s on your mind?’ on social media is somewhat of a facade – no one ever really posts exactly what is on their mind. We post modified thoughts, acceptable thoughts, things that will appear funny and engaging. Things that will will portray what we want them them to.

What about with God? What do you say when God asks you the same question? Do you modify your answer? Go for the ‘acceptable’ stuff?

We are often carrying many thoughts in our mind, it is often full of questions, concerns, worries, to do lists. We can lose ourselves in it all sometimes. 

I really feel that today God wants to free you from all of that. Free you from your ‘thought baggage’ the things  that play in your mind over and over again that you have just accepted and learnt to deal with. The things that wake you up at night that you have never shared. The worries that you can convince yourself you have overcome but that catch you unawares when you are least expecting it. 

We are told in the word:

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Timothy 1:7

Are you experiencing the freedom of a ‘sound mind’ today?

What are the things that are plaguing you, keeping you captive, holding you back?

Are you afraid to speak them aloud?

I believe today that God is calling us to speak them aloud so that he can deal with them, so that we are not held prisoner to them, so that they do not have control over us.

We do not need to be fearful – we do not have a spirit of fear.

We need to remember we are loved. We are love with an unconditional, everlasting love.

Perfect love casts out fear…

Will you tell God what’s on your mind today? The unmodified version?