OVERCOMER

My friend spoke these words close to the gate you see here in this photograph. Overcomer.

As I shared my word for the year, Rise.

To overcome.

The gates utter melody by its symbol.

To Rise is to enter into the melody. To hear The Song inside your heart and choose to dance it’s rhythm.

I write about rhythms of grace here.

My friend knows about overcoming. She took the path of a missionary. What I see as her gift in overcoming is her passion to pray.

We never leave one another’s company without drawing near to our Heavenly Father and prayer is our mutual place of Hope.

To rise she considered is to overcome. We discussed it there over the breakfast coffee. The life lessons and the source of our longings.

Hope brings purpose to our journey.

Conversation and Coffee

Brené Brown writes of using the gifts of imperfection in our journey. I’m learning this. To overcome I need to embrace these gifts in the midst of my worth and vulnerability. To jump in.  Jumping in with Joy. On a previous blog post I’ve written all about joy. 

Joy is found inside a heart filled with gratitude. Its in my year of considering how best to rise daily that I find connections come high up in that place of importance to rise inside my daily living. 



We share our Hope and encouragement fills our day because we invest in one another adding richness and humour and much love. We rise into living because purpose paints the world we live in. 

Pain and sorrow is always present in so many aspects, we overcome by bringing our best to each other filling each other’s cup and moving forward even when we don’t feel like it much. It surpasses the feeling and pushes into faith and focus. 

She talked about overcoming, not out of empty words but out of a life that spelt risk and war and famine. She spoke to me with encouragement in her heart and I’m filled up to keep on keeping on. To Rise. To Overcome. My own battles look different from hers but the way we soar can look the same and shaped in faith and kingdom living. 

At Mac &  Jacs I enjoy the delights of baking and conversation. Of quiet and listening. Of slowing and being.

Rise means stopping, reflecting the journey. Changing some horizons. Waiting a while. Trusting. 

Overcome. Thankful to my friend who prays into my life and invests. 

For words that speak powerfully and resonate. Words that speak long past the conversation. 

Overcome. Rise. 

I’m in. Coming?

Love Rach x

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Worry

Inside. Right deep in the core of your tummy. A feeling that makes you nauseous. The whole body feels like it’s a minor tremor. Worry.

The thought processes whirl without trying. Before you know it every set scenario is formatting creating the deeper physical feeling that brings one into a diminished state.

Mother would comment, ‘here comes the waterworks’.

Society sees a smile and a gentle demeanour.

The boss bemoans your sensitivity but shouts anyway.

The worry of imperfection stares back at you offering failure and disappointment.

She should know by now!

She should.

Go figure.

The world spins and her world dances its chaos around it.

Be who you most deeply are.

Emily P Freeman writes.

Uncover the shape of your soul, turn down the voice of the inner critic and move into the world with courage to be who you most deeply are.

She pens the words into her notebook writes it down without looking. Knows each letter off by heart.

She wants to be that girl.

She wants to be the girl whose soul is confident in whom and whose she is.

Unforced Rhythms of grace.

The Message echoes the words.

She writes them down. They too are scribbled into her mind. She knows them off by heart.

A word in. A word out.

Slowly she hears the melody playing. The song with words that heal. She the believer. A woman who holds the capacity to breathe the Holy Spirit fire.

Really Breathe.

Corrie ten Boom defined worry as ‘a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a centre of fear.’

She echoes back the words

Perfect love casts out fear.

She hears the preach.

The words bang loud.

Louder than the other words.

YOU COULD NOT BE LOVED MORE.

Something is silenced inside of her.

Be most deeply who are.

All the words string together like a pearl necklace. One of great price.

A deep cost of redemption.

No need to worry.

She knows she will quiver.

She knows she will still cry.

She knows she will feel the ache of living.

Yet

She knows that the Love that chose to step out and bring redemption pure and true. Is Hers.

You Unravel Me

With A Melody

You

Surround Me With

A Song

Of Deliverance…..

I rescue you because I loved you.

She hears the story. But it’s spoken with the unforced rhythms

Of GRACE.

She writes the post script. For she is forever growing in this journey of self awareness and surrender. In her Examen under Presence, she writes;

Sometimes we experience sadness, hear it, then we carry it, the whole bucket full. We pray, yet continue to carry the worry and sadness. Hands full. Jesus came to carry the load. Its the daily habit forming hard work. Tools to equip.  Surrender.

The unforced rhythm.
We cannot carry it. We need the habit of compassion and courage that speaks this grace to our souls. Releasing the weight of our buckets. To Christ.

Let’s write it out. Read it. Habit it into our thinking and our coffee moments and our ordinary days.

Matthew 11

Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. 

Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. 

I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.

 Keep company with me 

and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. 

Word in, word out.

Love Rach x

Gratitude Note

To Unsplash photographers

To the pastors and worship leaders who talk and sing of grace at Chroma Church.

To Emily P Freeman

To my readers and encouragers

To my editor and husband.

Thank You all for journeying with me.

All glory to Father Son and Holy Spirit.

JOY

I linger over this little word joy. I love its rounded lettering. Joy is often shaped into Christmas with gold, forming a hanging for decoration. I have shared quotes about joy from authors and bloggers. Joy is more than a decorated piece. Folded away till next time. Joy in my mind is a fierce little word with courage in its heart. Joy is our daily choice. Found in the day-to-day. We choose with our thinking. Daily reading Joy over our ordinary day.

Joy, it is that deep rooted thing inside me that is influenced by faith. By the Holy Spirit.
It is the inside me that needs to know exactly where my identity rests. Therein is Joy.

This joy is not dependent on the affirmation of others. The need to be validated or to be qualified in any way. Joy is the journey of appreciation with grace.

This joy sings in my sorrow, dances in my delights, lightens up my inkyblue mood. Joy brings the ballerina and the singer into my stumbling feet and baselike tones!

I can be me and joy is there. I can drift into a world of wonder and joy is there. I can craft failure and joy can lift me up to try again.

Let me choose Joy as the dawns orange glow lifts itself up from the night sky. Let me choose Joy when I eat my cheese sandwiches at lunch. Let me choose Joy as the moon brings it’s button buttermilk smile to the blackness of the nighttime sky.


The Word in and the word out.

The fruit of the spirit is Joy.

Rejoice always

Let Him sing joy over you

💐

Hilary Yancey writes,

When I resist anxiety, even for a moment, I can catch a glimmer of the songGod is singing over my life : JOY.

Pete Grieg inspired me by his post that encouraged joy in the mundane,

Tears come uninvited to us all in the end. But joy does not. It is a butterfly, a melody waiting to be named. Our surprising, unsolemn duty, therefore, is not just to weep at life’s tragedy but to laugh at its bounty. To marvel at the simple magnificence of so many mundane things; the ephemeral light through a dirty window, that eternal moment between the first and second mouthful of chocolate cake.

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”  Keats

I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don’t want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.”  Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life

Naletu on Unsplash

Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy. Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments – often ordinary moments.

Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we’re too busy chasing down extraordinary moments. Other times we’re so afraid of the dark that we don’t dare let ourselves enjoy the light.

A joyful life is not a floodlight of joy. That would eventually become unbearable.

I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration, and faith.

Brené Brown

John Piper writes a definition of joy from his thoughts on Philipians  –

Christian joy is a good feeling in the soul, produced by the Holy Spirit, as he causes us to see the beauty of Christ in the word and in the world. < img src=”https://rachnotes.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/img_9331-3.png&#8221; class=”size-medium alignleft wp-image-1035″ height=”1772″ width=”1772″><<<<<<<<<
y joy, it  gives me the opportunity to  slow,  to wait, to capture with my iPhone camera, a little beauty in a form of art that is within my grasp. A fading flower, an autumnal leaf, steaming strong coffee. A book with beautiful paper pages.

Word in word out

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace

O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, what joy for those who trust in you. ~ Psalm 84:12

Oh for the Joy before Him, He endured the cross.

Joy comes in to view and can help me appreciate when I look back and reflect on the journey traveled thus far.

A deep quiet soul taking a  journey that has taught me where true joy is rooted right where I am, found there in the place where love truly abides.

Joy is that simplicity seeing light sparkling in the washing up bubbles, bringing the steaming  strong coffee  in to grateful cupped hands.  Perhaps maturity shines a bigger light on these things. Bringing value to the most important small.

Time to gather the beauty of Autumn. Let poetry and a thousand falling leaves fill my being with joy and profound gratitude.

The Joy of the Lord is my strength.

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
n the ordinary mundane living. Slow up my frames of living lettting me notice the unnoticeable.

Notice the segments in your clementine. Notice the lady as she shuffles her feet towards her goal with determination. Notice the blind young man unperturbed as he  gets on his train to get to a destination. The taste of lemon cake zesty and sweet. The water cool and sipped slowly. The rainbow as you drive the curve in the road and its thick short band of  colours fills your mind before it disappears and you walk into the office. A hug in life’s grief. Words texted to a friend saying hello.

Notice joy in the breaking of bread as a believer rises in faith despite the pain and challenges ahead.

Joy triumphs this comes out of authentic thankfulness .

Let’s choose Joy.

Happy October

Love Rach xx 🍁🍂

Mid-Design

Family Archives

Mid-Design. Although quite a way along the path now, I believe my maker creator and Saviour is through the Holy Spirit continuing an art work in me.  Soul stuff to do.  That is exhilarating. So much yet to learn on this faith journey.

Moments spent recently with my aunt,  listening to her stories and looking at photographs that speak of family history and I enjoy a place to hear and learn.

She longs for the beauty and integrity sown into the memories and people of the past.

The words come clear, press on, move forward.

A weaving of a whole family intersecting into my life.
Presence, it held my attention and it supported me.

A large family, born out of one very principled lady of Ballymena.  She took the vow of marriage and with her family began a new journey in a new town.

Fast forward to today.  I look at photos of her and see a portrait of the matured woman in myself.  A grandmother who lived a life of ups and downs, deep losses and change.  How I wish I could talk to her now.  Gather to my heart the wisdom she would give. Ask questions that I wouldn’t have asked as a young granddaughter.

I once wrote to her with questions of salvation.  She wrote back in her beautiful handwriting enclosing a bookmark with the words

Prayer, poise and praise.

She was an example of those words to me.

My grandmother

Her poise, her Scottish lilt, her precision and legacy.  They spill over into me still.  The words of Timothy speak profoundly of faith in the grandmother and mother.  Then me.

I, like the mothers before me keep going.  Rise to the challenges.  Find deeper roots that anchor my soul.  Similarities are present, yet I must bravely find my unique self, amidst courage and discovery be the person I am meant to be.

I do not travel alone

Thou art never alone

Thou art never alone

Joy is great when fear doesn’t get in the way *


Enough said.

Love Rach x

*Quote taken from,  Surprised By Oxford by Carolyn

Rise, you are enough

rachnotes

She reads the words in the books preface.  To know you are enough.  Just.  As.  You.  Are.  Absolutely.  Stop right there.  Mid sentence!  Inhale the alphabet of those words.  Sift through the dictionary of its meaning.

Repeat often

I am enough!

It stops her steps.  Immovable.  No subtraction or additions.  Enough.

rachnotes
Pink pencil and sticky notes accompanying my walk through the book. 

I thought there would be cake, Katharine Welby-Roberts 

A journey that teaches we need to eat carrots as well as cake!

A chapter about Boundaries was a one part of the book that will hold my attention for a while.   Katharine called it, Your crap, my crap. The idea of loving others but putting in protection for yourself.

What you are right now is enough. 

Selah

We are valued, a price has been paid for us. 

God ordained such blessing to fill us. 

Our soul can rest best when we allow all of the fullness of Christ to influence our heart soul and body. 


Listen to my Prayer over you – love Abba 

Let go, daughter,  of the worries and the Struggle for perfection. 

Rise daily into everything I have for you. 

Uniquely formed and one of a kind.  Creatively gifted. 

Forget comparing, for it gives the wrong picture. 

Move in my spirit.  Flow in my rhythm of life. 

Break barriers that define you wrongly. 

Hear My voice that calls you beloved and beautiful. 

Allow my love to enfold you and let my love be the gift you give away. 


Whatever is true and lovely and honest think on these things 

Ponder over in your own heart what is good 

Love Rach xx 

rachnotes
Some photos are mine taken by iPhone 

Remainder of photography taken from amazing Unsplash resource. Thank you. 

Intentional Living 

I read a tweet by the author Shauna Niequist. Her essence was let’s do less social media and do more presence work. This captured my thinking and challenged it. 

Mostly the young folk get addicted. Mostly the young folk pay attention to social networking sites. 

As I watched my habit and affirmations of likes I recognised that this need for favour sat heavily on me. 

In the quiet corner of the library you’ll find me there. In the ones and twos you’ll see me there. In the solitary and pen I’ll hunt out the notepad and park. 


If you want to talk over the phone, I’ll make myself scarce. 

Find me a camera and sunrise, the opening cord to the day or a closing symphony as lights dim and a golden glow floods the world with spectacular aura. 


Slow up the world let it dream of beauty not shame, joy not sorrow, transformation not death. Bring some uniqueness and contemplation. Hush the judges and betrayers. Bring the artist to the table. Let her share her art without condemnation. Let her sculpt her craft and be who she is meant to be. 

Let her song of love be the birdsong to someone’s heart. Let the fragrance of her garland surround another, bringing colour and essence of joy, being peace to the mind so desperately needed. 

Script by @ hollyjoyholt

When she seats herself on a chair to declare a truth and make a difference in the world, let her radiate the Christ. To the child of God who cannot see, to the man for whom life is too much. To the dying and the confused. Don’t give up on the one who needs you most   

Rise up into a new day. Rise and rest into a closing day. Rise to be loved. Rise because you are lifted and guided to a light that is beyond space and time. 

Be light. Be His light. Shattering shame with truth and liberty. 

Be yourself and let that be transparent in all its complexities and uniqueness. 

Don’t be afraid. Be you. Be the change that’s needed where you are in your street, in your coffee shop, in your world. 

Be intentional. Be intentionally you. 

Be present. Be the listener. Be the best carrier in your world, offering Hope clothed in humility that extends the arm of care. Right there inside your people.

Live intentionally don’t be crushed, be beautifully you in the life you’re living. 

Amen 💐

The books I read to my children 

… and how they speak to me now. 

Two boys were born from my womb into this world.

As a nurturing lady I loved the feeding and the bath fun and then the clean pyjamas and the book


A favourite that still is in my possession is, We're going on a bear hunt.

The refrain that was read again and again. The opening of pages together and the repeat. The cycle of sharing books continued with the grandsons. 

Should it be the biggest surprise then that the words are planted in my head!

Deeper still the words are found in my mind as I experience the hills and valleys of life of growing older. Losing loved ones. A nana , mum, dad and friends.  

Words shared with the little ones back then echo at a deeper level with a profound message that repeated its refrain,

You can't go under it, you can't go around it, you have to go through it. 

The truth is a kiss that says you can do this journey, you can go through it. Brave and fearfulness still grip the soul of me. Yet the firm foothold on the grit of the road step after step knowing avoidance is not how to do this. Its the steadfast hope looming for the bigger dream. A God dream. God-colours. I'm walking with a firmer step now. The journey through offerslight vibrant not grey. Distinctive. 

The next book is so very tiny. It offers a joy to read and the pictures are a delight.


Can't you sleep little bear?

The light in this story is never quite enough. A bigger lantern is brought in to create a better experience and eradicate the dark.

Stepping out to the moon offers the real experience. A full moon fills the whole being with light. 

Contentment brings rest. Light becomes enough. Oh the beauty of a child's story. The dark all around can be troublesome and frightening, yet how we are healed and restored as we experience the best of lights. A beauty and a wonder at the chromatography of God inside us. We can be so aware of our darkness about our world. Look up there's a bigger light and a illumination in the Christ who brings the Light to us. 

Grace instead of a hammer that knocks us back and makes me cower. Greater Grace. I'm only just touching the surface of it. The Love of it. The hand in my journey through and the Light beaming its best redemptive story into my world. 

I know Jesus has it covered . 

I've just to trust. 

Love 

Rach x

About Pink Petals and Grief 

Unsplash
Gazing.  She ponders.  Takes in her view. 

She’s excited to hold the present in her hands. 

This particular moment smiles inside her heart. 

Pink petals circle around her feet.  God’s love kisses her. 

rachnotes_

The burning bush moment

He is serving joy in her grief. 

He, the throned Eternal serves. 

Dances the spin of blossom falling. 

Lifting her heart as she breathes Friday’s sharp spring air! 

Ann Voskamp writes in her blog on platforms –

You will most deeply find yourself when you find yourself serving others — and looking up into the face of God.

My moment of Holy ordinary wonder, where encircled in beauty of fallen pink tiny petals, I’m spent with gratitude.  She holds joy which outwardly lets joy dance though she is so very still and very small inside.  The capture only holds her moment.  She’s delighted He holds her for more than a moment, because no one else can hold her like this.

Beauty ministers deep into the heart that sees the world so torn, such brokenness and so much confusion.

Like the sparrow and the flowers and the supper.  Provision is prepared for us. 

Step in time with grief.

Hold out the bread and wine. 

Encourage the supping and belief. 

Inspired to rise

The blogger talks of lowering not rising. 

To rise, I humbly offer myself to the beautiful and Holy moments that fly like the wind and dissipate into dew and sunshine.  A new day.

Another prayer. 

A sacrifice of slowing and letting go. 

A hand holding a mug of coffee sips and whispers the words for her sister who cannot see and life overwhelms her. 

She understands this.  Her eyes often cannot see either. 

We hold each other’s hands the dark not offending us.

We journey together. 

Extravagant grace extended to us both. 

We need and grasp it. 

We pray it into others lives too. 


We are we.  As the trinity showed us to be. 

George Cibu
Grief it seems as some may ask, gets hold of my being.  Grief is life.  It is offering and departure, it is betrayal and the thing that stops your breathe awhile.  It’s okay.  She feels things so deeply.  The smallest loss is known.

So grief is on this journey too.  The thing I want to say the most inside these notes, is it’s okay and she’s never alone. 

Her vulnerability brings honesty, accountability and authenticity to the world. 


Life’s grief and its sadness comes alongside joy and dancing and petals falling. 

Grief is life.  I’m sure C.S.Lewis must have a quote there somewhere? 

Fellowship of suffering. 

All shall be well. 

Love 

Rach x

Thank You 💐

Thank you to the artists whose inspirational words and amazing art I share in this blogging space. 

Tenacity 

Determination is not her first ‘go to’ word the would be part of a short list to describe herself. 

Yet, she did posses the tenacity to endure. 

After all she has climbed her mountain this far . 

The long list of losses and even longer of pain and failure. These demonstrated her endurance in the race that’s life. 


I’ve climbed a few mountains in my life . Snowdon.  Ben A’an. A Munro in the Scottish Grampians! It may have been Driesh. 

There’s a photo in the archives!

The great thing about accomplishing the climb is how amazing you can feel . I love walking outside in open spaces the exhilaration of that is great but a climb brings something more. 

Feelings often fight the battle to complete the gutsy task ahead whatever that might be. Persistence is keeping the focus to achieve the end goal. Whether it’s the pile of dishes or the essay or the longer haul of caring or teaching your child. We all need the gift of a tenacious spirit in the challenges we face . Bravely bearing our burdens for that season. 

To borrow the phrase used in the book by Erin Loechner called Chasing Slow’ we need to ‘remove the weight from our wings’. That is a resource we need to learn about to survive. Let’s learn it. Throwing out the stuff that weighs our soul down and finding out the tools that help us fly. 

Examen is a daily practice that’s my slow at the end of the day. The method has evolved.  Its practiced in the evening with a pencil and note pad the etching of the lead unto white pages slows the hurry. Speaks my heart deep and true. 

etching of the lead unto white pages slows the hurry.
 
The thing that’s vital,  be it a deep breathe or a writing purpose is we do it in accordance with our soul. 

It’s a process. Be resolute in the attention you give to yourself and your soul need . 

It’s your journey. You will walk it. Fill it up full of the goodness of God . 

Love, mercy and kindness bring help mates to this life as you seek to remain steadfast to often unknown routes. 

Don’t give up. 

Let the strong tenacious spirit spiral up daily to achieve the end goal – completion as ordained by our creator Saviour and Lord. 

This girl can! Keep pushing through you will get there.

Shaped By Design

He begins a tradition 

Gathers a date 

We meet to be quiet. A retreat. 

Mother and son. 

After the restless feet slow 

a book and a prayer and the sunshine warmth help to calm a busy mind 

We talk 

Of life and past journeys

Of lives that have shaped us to who we have become. Him still young and I his mum! 

I share the journey his grandfather took. The prayers at the bedside. The  open bible daily with the food he ate.  The faithful ordinary. The belief that spilled out into his girls . We observed it. The plain and the imperfections and the leaning life into truth. 

After my reflections,  after our talking and my musing long beyond the retreat,  it came to me, that people continue to shape who I am.  The precious influence of positivity and affirmation that speak and make me who I am this moment.

The friends who stay longest and pursue the grit and grind. That take the waves of grief with me and the pain of words that can suck you dry of life . 

Am being shaped still. 


The voices shout and a sensitive soul  trembling.

The voices that say keep going . 

The writing and the words that fly unto the page the conflicts that turn into something good and even reminds me of my true worth.

It all forms me into the woman whose identity and confidence continues to grow. To defy the whisper of failure and find a fresh new way. 


Find a best way. 

Know the thirst 

And …

Who quenches it

Pursue Him 

Eternal 

Alpha and Omega 

A to Z 

She’s still under the Designers Hand being shaped. Remoulded. Refined . 




So I went to the potter’s house, and sure enough, the potter was there, working away at his wheel. Whenever the pot the potter was working on turned out badly, as sometimes happens when you are working with clay, the potter would simply start over and use the same clay to make another pot. [Jeremiah 18]