Choose your perspective

Two years ago I read an incredible book by Christian Author Gene Edwards called “A Tale of Three Kings”.

A book based on the story of Saul, David and Absolom, and one nearly every Christian can relate to at some point in their lives.

I would considered myself willingly and passionately burdened for youth and young people who don’t know Jesus, yet find myself in a position where the people above me would seem to be indifferent to my involvement int heir youth ministry. After being rejected from a role which would have been my dream job, I have to consciously decide that whether it was personal or not, whether it was a mistake on their part or not, I will have a Godly attitude about it. I will continue to honour and support the people who could have hurt me, and be thankful that whatever door God closes leads us to the best path for us.

 

Here is my favourite quote from the book that will guide my ramble through the next few months…

“You can easily tell when someone has been hit by a spear. He turns a deep shade of bitter. David never got hit. Gradually, he learned a very well-kept secret…

One, never learn anything about the fashionable, easily mastered art of spear throwing. Two, stay out of the company of all spear throwers. And three, keep your mouth tightly closed.
In this way, spears will never touch you, even when they pierce your heart.”

 

 

I am thankful that every disappointment is an opportunity to grow in disguise. Maybe one of the greatest things we can learn is to see setbacks as God’s act of fine tuning our lives and chiselling our hearts.

The Stranglehold of Social Media…

I think social media can kill a person.


5 nights ago I made the impulsive and seemingly reckless decision to delete my Instagram and Twitter accounts. For good.

You might think I am crazy, and I confess, I considered I might be, when I realised I would be deleting the last three years of my life,  stored, saved and recorded in images and 140 character sentences.

But over the last few weeks I have become aware of how social media, seemingly harmless and fun, can actually have a death grip on our actual real life lives.

 We have all read the articles and bulletins about loners living a life of wild adventures online, while they secretly sit in their mum’s spare room, crying into a bowl of Kellogs as they celebrate their 32nd birthday alone.

I don’t care much for those stories. I think there is truth in the statements that people can now live their lives entirely online in a virtual world, having hundreds of friends but never having one real meaningful conversation. I understand the pull of sob stories of lonely twenty-somethings who have an entire network of global contacts, yet don’t know how to communicate with a real persons standing before them.

I get all of that, but my beef with social media is for another reason.

 The issue I have with Instagram, Twitter and Facebook is that they glorify the best parts of our lives while we hide away the mundane, ever day stuff, in an ever increasing attempt to appear constantly happy, fun and adventurous.

We put photos on instagram of our best angles and perfect makeup, as if we ALWAYS look like this.We post images of ourselves in exciting places, with exciting people and doing exciting things. I have no issue with having great adventures…this blog is my outlet for mine.

What I do have an issue with, is the result this social media revolution is having on our attitude towards life. I think that we have fallen into a deep dark trap of slowly and gradually comparing every inch of our lives to everyone around us.

We did this without social media. We didn’t need Facebook to know that the pretty blonde girl in our primary school class was cooler and more popular than us. We just knew it.

But I strongly believe social media has made the ability to compare even more subtle and even more dangerous.

We see friends and acquaintance tag themselves at fancy restaurants and envy their disposable income. We witness hilarious tweets from people better looking, smarter and funnier than us.

 We compare ourselves to the best bits of everyone around us, and however much we try, we never really quite meet the grade.

Maybe for some of you this has never been the case. Maybe instagram is your photo album for personal use.n Maybe Facebook is the only way to contact that old childhood friend, and maybe Twitter is real just a tool for keeping up with the latest sports news.

I’m prepared to be brutally honest and say that for me it started out that way but pretty soon you start watching other people, you start wanting what they have, coveting their experiences and returning to their homepage more and more and more, pretending that we are just interested while we subconsiously buy similar clothes, throw more parties and use the same photo filters…

I willingly confess that in my time I have been to an event, a meeting and to social engagements hoping that at the end of the night people would judge my photograph of the evening as the best.


 I think social media is like a drug, where you feel like it gives to you but really all it is doing is stripping you down of your individuality and ability to be comfortable in the every day life you have.

Likes, comments and shares become the fuel for the underlying desire to have a life that other people envy or look up to.

I am saying all of this from experience. A few years ago I would have laughed at anyone who said social media was just a vaguely disguised way of comparing ourselves to everyone else. I am not naturally that kind of person, but I think the online world demands bigger and better…and God help us if we don’t appease it.

So I deleted my Instagram and Twitter.

Truthfully, I find it weird to open my phone without being greeted by that cunningly friendly blue bird.

It is disappointing to witness the empty notifications box after what could have been a really successful instagram photo.

I even have to figure out something else to read while I’m in the bathroom.

On the plus side there is no more pressure to put up fantastically awesome photos, and no more need to post witty tweets. I hope to never see a retweet or a hashtag again, because I am quite happy living my life for me. For my pleasure and enjoyment.

From now on I am going to stand in the moment and enjoy it. Rather than take my phone out and try to capture the blood red sunset, instead I will just watch it, with my own eyes. And when it is over it is over.

There will be no lasting momentos, Facebook “Check-Ins” or Instagram updates.

I will have been there. And isn’t that enough?

What are we trying to prove with all this flaunting and “networking” and incredulous amounts of time invested into something that can be destroyed in the click of a button.Perhaps you think that I am accusing everyone who uses Twitter and instagram of being soggy-minded insecure sheep. I certainly don’t consider myself one and I still found myself falling into this trap. Maybe you think only a truly insecure person would leave her social media – as I was probably not getting enough likes and my pride was hurt. Think what you want.

In the end, who really cares..?

I am determined to live my life and feel every bit of it with my hands, see it with my own eyes and not share every little part of it with the world.

People in the 1800’s coped without snapchat, and so will I.

That unexpected kinda Love.

You know what is beautiful?

Loving someone else more than you love yourself.

Even the most self absorbed individual will have their indulgent worlds smashed by love.

Tomorrow is my boyfriend’s 27th birthday, and at 22:21pm I am willingly glueing coloured dots to a “Happy 27th” banner.

Planning a surprise get together with some of his closest friends, adorned with party poppers and shot glasses shaped like test tubes (a nod to our first TV series marathon – Breaking Bad) seemed to be fitting for the man I have come to love.

When we first began adventuring together in June last year the idea of a relationship with Adam was just a soft whisper you couldn’t quite catch. We had known each other for three years at this point, and under very different circumstances, all of which meant that if someone had suggested we would make a good couple, I may have snorted in their face in disbelief.

During the summer I read John green’s celebrated The Fault In Our Stars, in which one of the characters gives this description of unexpected love:

“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”

I think the way Adam and I fell in love was like blossom on the trees in springtime. You pass it by daily, and as times passes the buds begin to grow and prepare to bear their fruit. Then suddenly and without any grand announcement the most beautiful, joy inducing flowers burst from the branches, in an alarming display of colour and hope as winter closes it’s door.

Perhaps our relationship was to happen all along, just as we know a blossom tree will bring it’s blossom forth in spring every year without fail or falter. But none can help but be mesmerised when it happens.

I think unexpected love is a natural progression. A soft vulnerability over time.

 

Loving someone else more than you love yourself is imperative to the human soul.

It teaches us to put someone else’s wants and desires above our own preference, because suddenly our desires mirror theirs.
My love for Adam and my determination to see him smile and laugh on his birthday is reflected in my choice to make chocolate brownies at 1am, because I know he loves them.

It connects us to the creator, someone who loves his children more than any other thing. It gives us a glimpse of the truest love, the deepest kindness and the greatest sacrifice.

It amazes me that in all his greatness God is so good that he chooses to help us understand his pure, unadulterated love through experience, because only when humans feel do they really understand.

Image

 

Sea Hound

 

Ten minutes drive from home… A vast expanse, and a starfish eating Schnauzer.

The Walk from The Dirty Duck restaurant in Hollywood to Crawfordsburn beach near Bangor in Northern Ireland is both cold and windy but beautiful.

The best bit for me is the large rocks creating a sea wall at the Dirty Duck, Henry fell head first through the gaps and I pulled him out by his bum.

 

Here’s a few more photos from the beaches near where I live in (not so sunny) Northern Ireland.

{Austria – February 2014}

Even after skiing every year for over ten years the view from the top of a snow cloaked mountain never fails to amaze me. From a distance the winter trees dusted with icing powder and the frozen lakes reflecting the cold light makes me feel as if I am in a Disney film, no sign of Olaf though.

Highlights: 

  • that breathtaking masterpiece of a view
  • Germknödel, a favourite Austrian dish comprising of a dumpling with a mix of poppy seeds and sugar, filled with spicy plum jam. Divine.

Moment of shame:

In the airport a member of my party spotted Heather Mills who proceeded to leave the passport line were were bundled together, probably after hearing us talking about whether or not it was truly the famous ex wife of Paul MacCartney.

Minutes later while waiting for a free cubicle in the public toilets at baggage reclaim me and a friend were discussing whether we thought the celebrity’s leg looked like a fake leg.

The moment after the words, ” If you had that much money you would make sure it looked real” escaped my lips, a red faced Heather Mills wandered out of the cubicle opposite, looked me up and down and proceeded to wash her hands.

Safe to say I no longer needed the toilet and left the room immediately.

Sorry Heather.
{Austria - February 2014}

 

{Abandoned Hospital – February 2014}

Isn’t it odd that we fantasise about far away lands and forgotten places when we have incredible places to explore right on our door step?

When I first heard about an old abandoned NHS Hospital right in the centre of Belfast, I couldn’t help but imagine a zombie ridden apocalyptic playground.

Intriguing and freaky images from a forum posting photos of the inside of the buildings only hastened my need to visit.

Follow this link to see the originals -

http://www.28dayslater.co.uk/forums/asylums-hospitals/40578-belvoir-park-hospital-belfast-28-5-09-a.html

Highlights:

The threat of security cameras  are quickly forgotten when you stumble into the courtyard of the Hospital, guarded by twisted dead trees.

I couldn’t help but drag my leg behind me and muffle out an undead moaning sound.

Finding old offices in one of the buildings meant we stumbled upon half eaten bags of crisps from over ten years ago. The sight was the single chair in the middle of a dark room inside a end of life suite.

Moment of shame:

Trying to find an initial way in was fun. I ended up toppling over a stone wall after miscalculating my footing. If my laughter didn’t alert the guard dogs our sneaky visit never would.