How important is advent to your family?

How often does Advent arrive and you feel like you weren’t ready for it, or you groan because that means that Christmas is going to sneak up really quickly and you still need to get x amount of things done first?

In an effort to be a bit more organised I started thinking about Advent in October! Yes October! But mainly because my daughter is nearly 4 and really clued in to what is going on and already talking about Christmas! I felt this year would provide a great opportunity to develop further some of the activities that I already do during the Advent season.

I really struggle with how secular advent has become, I feel you can get blind sided with all the ‘extras’ that seem to go with that time of year, particularly in the run up. God wants us to remember him in all we do and put him first, and that includes in amongst all the ‘extras’ that get thrown. So my questions to you, with December under 2 weeks away, how have you prepared for Advent? What is going to be your most important thing during the advent season? How will you celebrate it as a family?

For me, I identify that advent can be such an exciting time and an awesome chance to explore not only the Christmas story but also ways we can pray, interact and move on our journey with God. This year to help, I have identified 3 areas to form the basis of our Advent time – Celebrate, Create and Explore.

Celebrate – take a moment to find something specific to celebrate within our family, or something that Jesus did.

Create – make something that will enable us to learn more about an aspect of Advent, the Bible and the Christmas Story.

Explore – read a bit of the Christmas story and chat, move and go deeper with the themes from it.

I’m looking forward to writing some ‘kindness elves’ activities (there’ll be more on this in another post), making HOPE jars, dove mobiles, and prayer bunting! All to help inspire imagination and generate conversation in our family.

You can read some more ideas about how to explore advent as family from one of our free downloads, just fill in the form here. There will be a series of 4 available throughout the course of December.

Don’t forget that there is also our Family Advent Fun event on the 1st December.

 

Get into your flow and let momentum keep you going!

    

So last Friday I headed up to London to join day 2 of Janet Murray’s Content Live, I’m so pleased I managed to set aside the time to go. So many insights and good conversations, I’m going to do a round up and share whether I managed to reach the goals I set out  in my pre-event blog.

Encourage

So I walked into a room full of people! But I did have the lovely Emma from Wordbee provide me with some moral support. I’d connected with Emma before the event, both sharing that we were nervous arriving on our own. Meeting initially outside Old Street tube station we had a short walk to the venue, so were able to have a quick share about who we were and why we were heading to Content Live.

All the sessions were pretty outstanding; with Osmaan giving a great low down on our Entrepreneurial superpower and encouraging us that it’s all about getting into our flow, once you find the momentum that will keep you going, and make life easier!

Amanda Webb from Spiderworking told us not to listen to the content gremlin (love that picture), and be ready to slay the things that get in the way.

Whilst Janet got us planning! And yes, I got content for the first quarter of 2019 outlined, now to pad it out and pop it in a spreadsheet (more on that below!)

Grow

Throughout the day I had a great chance to chat with some lovely creatives, all looking for a different angle on how they could build and share their content more effectively. Two people that I had some interesting conversations with included Ramat and Rosie. Ramat primarily deals with helping customers generate the right business strategy via Ramat Tejani Marketing. However she introduced me to this fabulous new concept that she’s just launched called The Inspiration box. A place where you can draw inspiration from, have your curiosity ignited and be reminded of endless possibilities.

Whilst Rosie, runs Mind, Body and Baby, which helps women to enjoy pregnancy and parenthood through hypnobirthing and therapy. It was great to be able to brainstorm some ideas with the lovely Alice (from Alice Sheridan Art), about how she could engage her big email list to respond to a call to action, as well as develop her online courses that she’s written further.

Release

Yay to automation! This is where the Mechanic in me got very excited. Let me just explain what I mean by Mechanic – this is my entrepreneurial super power. In essence Mechanics are good at finding ways to improve systems, making things simpler, perfecting projects and pay attention to detail. So when Andrew and Pete stepped up and started talking Spreadsheets – colour coded at that – there was a little inner squeal! Essentially in planning content you need to create 3 things, a publishing schedule, content task sheet and production schedule. In other words, I’ve got to put some new systems in place, so I’ll be looking forward to working out the best way for this to happen.

It was a great day, and I’m looking forward to continuing to get #2019sorted!

Thanks Janet for organising such an awesome day.

Content Live – Refuel and Reignite

At the end of the week I am heading up to London to Janet Murray’s Content Live, where I hope to learn how to create a year long content plan for my business.

When you run your own business it’s crucial for everyone to take some time out so you can work on your business rather than in it – easier said than done I know! Therefore, I’m really looking at Friday as a chance to refuel and reignite. Refuel the think tank and perspective of the content I share with you and, reignite lost creative processes about how I could do that.

I love what I share with you on the blog, the website, emails and social media. But I want to make sure I am delivering engaging, relevant content, that encourages, grows and releases, just like the tag line of UC Grace.

With that in mind, it made sense to explore what I’d like to get out of Content Live using our tagline.

Encourage

To be encouraged that I can walk into a room full of people I don’t know, make connections and find other ways to deliver content in a engaging way.

Grow

To grow in understanding of my Entrepreneurial Superpower and how I can use that fully within UC Grace and with sharing content with you all.

To have a couple of really good conversations with other delegates and speakers.

Release

Confident that I have the first part of my content planned for 2019, and that I do have the ability to put in place what I have identified.

I’ll check back in after the event and let you know how it went! #2019sorted

Jesus – bring new wine out of me

You can’t see God sometimes in the situation you’re in.

On Saturday I had the chance to join Jubilee Church Flourish ladies weekend. A fantastic opportunity to receive and get some refueling for myself. Their theme for the weekend was ‘new wine’, how do you get new wine, wines have different labels depending on what they’re made up of, where they have grown and the soil they are in. To go alongside the theme was the Hillsong Worship song New Wine. This was just one of the things that spoke to me when I joined them for the day.

Have a listen to it –

Powerful hey! What speaks to you first?

For me it’s the chorus. There is such a pull on my heart strings, that I completely want to immerse myself into the words and the music. Let’s break it down into the different sections.

Make me a vessel

God has given us an amazing gift, that can be shared, we are simply a vessel within which this can be done. Say to God that you want to give your whole self over to share His word and His story.

Make me an offering

Ask God to let you know what it is that He wants you to do. How can you use your passion to share with others, how can you build someone up in the work place, how can you use you whole self to share His word and story.

Make me whatever you want me to be

It’s your opportunity to step out 100% and choose to trust God amongst all that is going on. He knows not only what you are capable of but also what your limits are. He won’t give you more than you can handle. Choose to offer your whole self to share His word and story.

I came here with nothing

Jesus took it all away, we are drawn to our knees. All that we have we give. Share His word and story from your knees!

But all you have given me

God gives us more than we can fathom, more than we know. All the little things that go on, God knows about them and He puts them in place. Use your whole self, all your passions, dreams, gifts and life to share His word and story.

Jesus, bring new wine out of me

Wow!! What could God do with you, if you’ve really been pulled down to your knees, you’re offering your whole self, acknowledging that God will give you all that you need to fulfill what He puts before you. What will come out of you?? More than you can imagine!!

This song is definitely a keeper for me, and I am looking forward to finding an opportunity to dance my whole heart out to it!

Essentials of faith

… rock solid dependency on God’s word…

When you choose to stand up and teach in front of others you need to know that you’re teaching from a point of authority with a firm foundation in what you hold true. These couple of verse provide a fantastic opportunity to remember how and why you choose to teach and share God’s word. Whether that’s through dance and movement or another avenue.

Let’s begin by breaking the verse down into 4 sections.

1.) ‘Pattern of sound teaching’ – rely on the word

God gives His word as a basis to build life from. It’s sound, sturdy and full of amazing values. If we choose to teach his truth it needs to come from a sound basis.

2.) ‘faith and love’ – love doing it through faith and love

Faith is relying on what you don’t see. Rely and trust that God loves you, carries and equips you to share with love.

3.) ‘Guard the good deposit entrusted’ – guard his word

Gods word is the best. He deposits in us a desire to share, and to do so knowing the full assurance of his word.

4.) ‘Help of the holy spirit’ – let the spirit help

There is always someone there to help and guide you. Let his spirit in and let it guide you.

It is such an amazing privilege to share Gods word with others. Enjoy doing it, and let God lead!

Dance Weekend 2019 announcement

It is with much excitement that I can share with you the news that there will be a 2019 dance weekend!! This has been something I have been mulling over for a while, and this week took the plunge.

So save the date! We are doing to a new location, with a different format and will challenge you to go deeper and explore further. This won’t replace our ‘normal’ dance weekend that has been happening every other year, but is in addition.

Keep an eye for further information as super early bird booking will open this side of Christmas.

Dancing with a Holy Roar

“In Him we Live and Move and have our Being.” Acts 17.28

God has given us our amazing bodies to move and dance with in whatever way we can. The other day I came across Chris Tomlins new song ‘HOLY ROAR‘, it took my breath away. It spoke right into my core, about why I move and dance, and the strength, passion and integrity with which I do it. It prompted an opportunity to share at our latest Living Colour workshop how we could explore Dancing with a Holy Roar.

But what does Holy Roar actually mean? It’s best to start by looking at how the dictionary defines each word.

Lets start with Holy – dedicated or consecrated to God, sacred. Which sounds a great way to describe this special word. Participants at the workshop also came up with the following –

  • Special/ quietness – an awe
  • Pure, sacred. Set apart and hard to translate
  • Jesus dying on the cross. What he did for us

In essence, Holy, is something that is indescribable, beyond words, definitely set apart and something special.

Whilst Roar is defined as – a full deep, prolonged cry uttered by a lion or wild animal. That’s pretty intense isn’t it?! Other words came up in discussion such as –

  • Power
  • Roaring like a lion
  • Strong
  • Loud
  • Aggressive/ emotive

How can we link these two words together? If I now asked you what you think Holy Roar means as one thing what would you say?

  • Cry for justice from a place of deep grief or righteous anger
  • From the belly – it uses your whole being
  • Confrontation with all your strength but you’re 100% up for it
  • Freedom
Living Colour October 2018

What do you think it means to have a Holy Roar in dance ministry and life? Massive questions hey! But have a think, how could you move and dance with Holy Roar as your foundation?

My favourite line from the responses above has to be the picture of ‘from the belly’, because actually that’s what it’s all about. When we worship, when we cry out to God, when we battle and declare he is victorious. We are putting our whole heart into it. We’re choosing to be strong, clear, and direct with our movement and what we want to declare.

Think of it like your belt of truth. The belt is something that holds things in place, stabilises your core and carries things. If you have a weak core, your ability to move efficiently will be diminished. The core of moving and dancing comes from knowing the truth in the Bible. I love the imagery of tightening the belt the more you know. It’s like you’re choosing to take a stand point and are notching in ready for the fight!

So when you choose to move and dance. Think about the stand point you are taking, and how you can use a Holy Roar in your movement.

What different ways do you pray?

What different ways do you pray?

Weaving prayer into our everyday life can sometimes be a challenge can’t it? I love exploring ways to use movement and prayer together, go deeper with God and journey with others.

Amazing Grace Course July 2018

We’ve developed a fantastic resource to enable you to start moving at a pace that you are comfortable with, pausing where needed. It’s completely FREE and you can access it here. We’d love to know how you get on, so please do let us know.

When I connect prayer and movement I find it easier to associate with specific areas. In the FREE download – 5 Ways to use Prayer and Movement together,  I identify the following areas –

  • Walking
  • Knees
  • Thanking
  • Declaring
  • Revealing

Each area providing an avenue to explore movement in a different way. It can be really daunting choosing to step out and pray using movement. But the thing that God delights most, is not only that you try, but that nothing is EVER WRONG. Any way you choose to move for him, there is a party. PLUS if someone sees you doing prayer movement, you never know the impact that that will have on them.

So go on, go for it and try stepping out! Grab the it here.