Welcome to A Life Examined

What is the examined life? A life worth living! As I look at the road ahead, I take all the baggage from the past and use it as experience - the pain and the passion, the sorrow and the joy - allowing it to carve wisdom into my mind and hope into my spirit.
There is no experience that can't be useful to me at some point in my life. There is no lesson learned that cannot make a contribution to the future.
A tiny drop of water is a part of the ocean. A tiny speck in the night sky is a ginormous star in the distance. It all depends on perspective.
So, this examined life is to offer reflections in the hope of discussing things which are of value to myself and to others.
Love, Sarah






Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Raising Children: does technology prevent development of self awareness

I am discovering, as I navigate this new life in free-fall, that my mind is becoming decluttered! That includes the details of day-to-day living and looking out for a child. I hope, in turn, the child's mind will become less cluttered too. Today, with available technology and entertainment at an all time high, and transportation making real travel to the far corners of the earth (and even beyond) feasible, we have too much clutter.

Henry David Thoreau said, "Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify. Simplify." He was born nearly 200 years ago. How he would be balk at the extraneous distractions we are now surrounded by!

It isn't easy to simplify nowadays, is it? We're a consumer society; we have friends and virtual friends around the world; technology allows our work to demand our attention 24/7. When have we time to see the flowers, never mind to stop and smell them? The complicated life is the norm today. But I've opted to let go of the distortion of my time. I've chosen to leave some of the avenues available to me untrod. Quite literally, some of my boxes from the overseas move (read the previous 9 part blog series beginning here ) have been left in storage - unopened and, for the most part, not missed.

Clutter is the enemy of the mind. I'm going to go out on a limb and preach about how clutter- in the area of technology at least - is a risk to our kids.

There are all kinds of stats on child development as regards technology. Too much of it messes with their eyesight, their attention, their fitness. I get all that, and personally, I've chosen to er on the side of caution, in raising my son. Even though he might lag behind his class in technological sophistication, it's a relatively small price to pay, I think, because I'm of the view that too much screen time means too little time for children to get to know themselves.

Playing alone, playing with other children, reading, participating in sports, learning skills including music, all these activities are tools that help a child to grow in their talents. But even more than that, they are means for children to get to know themselves. To learn likes and dislikes from a variety of activities, to meet a range of people and have to find ways to get along with them, these are just a couple of examples where people develop a sense of themselves in the universe. And time for boredom is important too. It's my personal belief that we all need time to just sit with nothing to do. Our world today doesn't seem to allow for much of that.

So, as I simplify my life by aiming to live without a set agenda for each moment of the day, I aim to enable my child to have 'nothing to do' sometimes and plenty of time to reflect and play.

The quiet mind is the peaceful mind. I hope my child will learn to enjoy peace, quiet, rest for his soul, so that he will wake up as an adult knowing who he is, where he wants to go in his life, and he'll have the personal development and self awareness to get himself there.

I've been posting a lot lately. You can catch other new stuff at:
Life from the Lighthouse and http://www.laruspress.com especially a post called: The Internet The Void

Love and God bless to you this week. See you next Thursday... AND:




END NOTE: For those who haven't known me for long, and perhaps for some who have: You might enjoy my other blog:
Life from the Lighthouse -- all about what God shows me when He talks to me and I listen. New posts monthly on the 1st.










My website for the Self Publishing House is www.LarusPress.com where I blog on wholeness, witness, the Word of God and worship & warfare. Larus Press offers Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.
Subscribe to our free newsletter, Soaring Post, with issues every Thursday to equip you for your spiritual walk.




See you next Thursday here at A Life Examined.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Living in Free-Fall: Part 7 Being spontaneous

Though no one replied last week with their own introspection, I hope it has inspired some private thoughts.

As for me, every day is new. I am reminding myself to live it as a new day, not to get into a routine or to over plan... which, for me is: odd, challenging, tricky, possible. It is possible. I am open to possibilities and people. It's exciting and I embrace it!

Each new day is a gift, isn't it. Has someone already made that a 'famous saying'? It certainly sounds like a cliche. Well, I looked it up and no one famous has penned it - accept on Facebook and other social media. I suppose that expression isn't going to rock anyone's world!

There is an oddity about living in free-fall, which is that having no scripted routine means allowing myself to dig deep and draw from the bottomless well of ideas to discover what to focus on.

To be totally honest, I'm not great at spontaneity. I suppose if I were, I'd have cracked this 'free fall' thing years ago. Recently, my dear hubby said, 'you've got to live what you write'. Yup. Guilty. I aim high and reach for the stars but my arm is relatively short and my grasp is only to the trees. My solution? To start each day with the aim to be vulnerable, exposed, unscheduled, so that who I am gets seen, and what I'm destined to become has room to grow. Does having to remind myself mean I'm failing? I think not. What I do know is that no one won a noble prize without many failures. Living in free-fall means risking failure to give myself opportunity to succeed. I believe allowing myself to be open to the gifts of the day is the route to self-discovery, relational wholeness and perfect interchange between the world, other people and me.

So, I won't write further about free-fall beyond this point. I haven't found any simple answers. What I've found is hope in the smallest moments and in surrender. Experience teaches me that depth of relationship lies in being vulnerable to the ebb and flow of life, rather than in trying to be its master. Free-fall is letting go of control and trusting in my inevitable path. Hard work matters, and is included in free-fall, but that touches on another aspect to life I've only just let go of, and so am not ready to tackle it in a new context. Not just yet, anyway.


Love and God bless to you this week. See you next Thursday... AND:




END NOTE: For those who haven't known me for long, and perhaps for some who have: You might enjoy my other blog:
Life from the Lighthouse -- all about what God shows me when He talks to me and I listen. New posts monthly on the 1st.







My website for the Self Publishing House is www.LarusPress.com where I blog on wholeness, witness, the Word of God and worship & warfare. Larus Press offers Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.
Subscribe to our free newsletter, Soaring Post, with issues every Thursday to equip you for your spiritual walk.




See you next Thursday here at A Life Examined.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Living in Free-fall Part 6: How do I see me?

The fact is I've been navel gazing today. In an ultra reflective mode, I've been wondering today, with whatever have been my ambitions, dreams, education and experience, how am I seen from a bird's eye view? How do others see me, or how am I seen from far above... from Heaven?

This is what I've come to recognize - it's  totally subjectively of course. I' think:

I am thoughtful. For the sake of others, yes; but what I'm really referring to is that I'm deeply meditative-  as this post demonstrates. I wonder about the things that happen now, and how they will be interpreted in the future? How will struggle and pain be turned into joy (because it always does)? How does experience breed wisdom and how can I convey what wisdom I've acquired to others? What words shall I apply - what vehicles shall I use - in the Public Eye today that will be significant to someone's predicament tomorrow? These are the sorts of things I think about.

I am solitary. If I spend too much time alone I get low, but largely, I enjoy the time I have on my own. It centers me and focuses me.

I am creative. I dance. I sing. I write. I express myself, in the hope to release others to discover who they are, and how they are seen in Heaven.

I am committed. I will not give up on myself or another, who seeks life in abundance and truth for their lives.

I am surrendered. Life has been about striving. Now, I realize, life is available to come to us, if we relax and enjoy it as it comes.

I am trustworthy. My yes is yes. If I say I'll do something, I stand on my responsibility and see it through.

I am volatile. This is unfortunate, but accurate. Effervescent or explosive? Ask my family.
.
I am sensitive. I cry easily - in joy and in sorrow. I laugh fully. I hope earnestly. I care deeply. I live passionately. Nothing is casual for me. Everything is important. I'm enthusiastic and always looking forward. I always hope for the best - in people, events and circumstances.

How does Heaven see me?

Hungry to be useful. Prophetic. Expressive. Worthy of trust. Committed. I know these things are true because they are bigger than I am, just as Heaven is bigger than we are.

And how about you, Reader? Will you take time for yourself: to sit down and list 5 or more things about yourself that are deep within you that, when consolidated, make up who you are? Surrender leads us to ourselves: the 'place' where knowing ourselves is a step closer to knowing how others experience us. That is a step toward discovering life, full of its lovely surprises and necessary challenges to face, which makes your life richer and more fulfilling.

This is the place where surrender has led me. Will you surrender too, to find who you are and how Heaven sees you?

Until next Thursday......

And in the meantime:



END NOTE: For those who haven't known me for long, and perhaps for some who have: You might enjoy my other blog:
Life from the Lighthouse -- all about what God shows me when He talks to me and I listen. New posts monthly on the 1st.










My website for the Self Publishing House is www.LarusPress.com where I blog on wholeness, witness, the Word of God and worship & warfare. Larus Press offers Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.
Subscribe to our free newsletter, Soaring Post, with issues every Thursday to equip you for the Kingdom of God and the New Earth.




Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Living in Free-fall Part 5: Surrender!

When the white flag is raised it's time to usher in the new season. Victory for one side means peace. So it is with us.

Surrendering our time, talents and tasks brings with it peace. Who's on the victor side? We who surrender. How's that? Because the two forces at odds have both been aspects of ourselves. When the WILL gives in to the HEART, synergy begins and life takes on a new dynamic and a new perspective. That's what I think, anyway.

Years ago I worked as an actress. I was up for a part I wanted very much. The director had narrowed it down to me or one other woman. He wrestled for a while, and after a few days he called me to say he'd made his decision. He followed his heart rather than his head - and chose the other woman. Rats! But I couldn't argue. Weeks later I went to see the play. The actress hired did a decent job. Of course, I would have chosen me. And I didn't find her performance particularly awesome. But, I couldn't argue with the director's choice. I understood it. He went with gut instinct - rightly or wrongly - rather than with reasoning.

I've always been at odds with myself. As a young woman I let my heart rule my head and didn't do well on the romantic relationship track. But when I talk about surrender being about heart over will I'm not talking about romantic or passionate heart versus cool head.

When I refer to surrendering to our hearts, I mean - our hearts' desire (that which fulfills us) rather than our determined will (that which we think we want or need). Letting go is not easy for some of us. Order before chaos, sense before sensibility, reason before instinct. In my early romantic life I had plenty of will and this guided - even dictated - my decisions.

Now, I am letting go of my will. That means letting go of control. I surrender my plans. I surrender my people, even family, husband, child. I surrender my possessions and my position. I'm seeking to discover what's deep inside me. 'Heart' in this sense has nothing to do with romantic relationships; 'heart' has to do with my spirit, with who I have been created to be. Surrender means letting go of control over situations and relationships, and allowing room for 'what is meant to be'.

On my journey of free-fall, I'm learning to surrender my will to my spirit, every day, every hour. My will is feisty, opinionated, confrontational, close-minded. On the other hand, my spirit is at peace: still, quiet and at rest. This is a different way to live.

Allowing my heart to lead is risky for me. I feel more vulnerable. But then, I'm better placed to share on a deeper level with others.

A mega music star - I think it might be Bon Jovi - has said we can choose as artists to either reveal ourselves or to conceal. He's chosen to reveal and believes it is for this reason that his band is successful. Perhaps even more than what is in the heart, what touches people is the sharing of inner truth and vulnerability.

Let's see where surrender will take me.

Until next Thursday....



Arms outstretched: the ultimate posture of vulnerability, of letting go, of surrender. Free to Be offers steps to discover who you are, spiritually, emotionally, socially, and how to be the person you were created to be, free from anxiety, fear, insecurity and shame.
Free to Be website page






AND







END NOTE: For those who haven't known me for long, and perhaps for some who have: You might enjoy my other blog:
Life from the Lighthouse -- all about what God shows me when He talks to me and I listen. New posts monthly on the 1st.










My website for the Self Publishing House is www.LarusPress.com where I blog on wholeness, witness, the Word of God and worship & warfare. Larus Press offers Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.
Subscribe to our free newsletter, Soaring Post, with issues every Thursday to equip you for the Kingdom of God and the New Earth.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Living in Free-fall part 4: Solitude, Silence, Self-discovery

I am learning that whether as a pastor, an executive, a business owner, or a mother, we need more of solitude and stillness in our lives. Surrendering our time and talent means finding peace and quiet to make decisions.

Living in Free-fall means taking time to connect with myself. It means making time for solitude. The sound of silence is important to finding myself, my rhythm and my priorities.

This week in church I was astounded to discover that statistically, more people will prefer electric shock to being alone, in silence. But I love silence. I love solitude. I love isolation (when it's by choice and not by banishment). Perhaps free-fall is relatively suitable for me. I didn't realize vast numbers of people hate to be alone with themselves. I love to watch paint dry, if I'm the one who's been painting the house. It gives me a certain satisfaction to look at a job and well, just look at it! But now I have heard others hate that concept! Wow! I've been surprised into a new understanding of people.

I'm finding this journey into free-fall is quite exciting. I'm considering daily, and moment-by-moment, what is important (rather than urgent or habit). It occurs to me this week that readers may not realize how I'm actually doing this. First, I'm going into a quiet place. I'm not allowing for any distractions; I'm surrendering my plans for the day, hoping there's time to write what I want to write, but not worrying about it. As a writer for over 10 years, and with relatively conservative breakthrough, part of the reason I'm in free-fall is because I figure I'm doing some things 'wrong' and want to progress. The highest priority for me right now is to discover what I need to write and for whom, so the messages I prepare are for the people who will benefit from them. I'm surrendering, in effect, my writing and my time generally, to reflection and consideration, in order to determine the path I take. For me, surrender means giving my attention - my time and decisions - to quiet thought (and ultimately, to God). Out of the quiet comes clarity from deep within me. I touch my heart and I allow my heart - not my mind - to lead.

Of course there are responsibilities. I have a son who needs to be picked up from school. I have a family to prepare meals for. I have friendships I'm seeking to build... and a car to buy. Life goes on. But in the quiet of the morning, I am attempting to navigate through an abundance of paperwork, ambition and relationships to find - daily - what the priorities are in the bigger picture in these areas too.

I'm trying to make no assumptions and to be deliberate about how I spend my time, to make the most of every moment of every day. I believe we're on this earth for good purpose. I believe I've been missing some of my purpose so far. I'm believing that quiet reflection will lead me to see the path I'm meant to tread for the day and to make decisions that will benefit my ambitions and the relationships around me.

So, I'm slowly getting the hang of living outside an agenda. I'm learning how to surrender my time and effort to what is needed and for whom.

As I write this, I suspect some of you reading will find the idea of letting a schedule 'go' frightening. But I'd like to encourage you... As we surrender our plans, I'm finding anxiety and insecurity goes, and is replaced by contentment and a new sense of identity and purpose.

I hope you'll continue to travel with me. I think the time I'm spending to discover today's steps on the pathway is worth the effort and I encourage you to do the same. It isn't a luxury, I think, but rather a necessity, to make the most out of the gifts, desires, hopes and relationships we have.

Next time I'd like to write more about Surrender. Let's try more of it together.

Love and God bless to you this week. See you next Thursday... AND:




END NOTE: For those who haven't known me for long, and perhaps for some who have: You might enjoy my other blog:
Life from the Lighthouse -- all about what God shows me when He talks to me and I listen. New posts monthly on the 1st.










My website for the Self Publishing House is www.LarusPress.com where I blog on wholeness, witness, the Word of God and worship & warfare. Larus Press offers Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.
Subscribe to our free newsletter, Soaring Post, with issues every Thursday to equip you for the Kingdom of God and the New Earth.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Living in Free-Fall Part 3 Parenting from a new perspective

I'm a parent. I'm discovering that living in free-fall effects this part of my life too. I am becoming clearer about the things I do well as a parent and the things I do not. Opening my eyes, removing the habits, changes dynamics and brings forth awareness about the good and the weak aspects in the relationship between my son and me.

I'm not, for instance, good at letting go. And this is vital for the sake of harmony in the home and the maturity of my son. We are close, my son and I. But I think it's time I partially withdraw emotionally, to give him room to mature.

I'm not one to believe in 'big boys don't cry' and so my son has learned to express his range of feelings. Like most parents, I've always hoped to do a good job at enabling my son to learn and grow into a decent person, and to discover the person he was created to be. But I think we're a bit too connected in this vein and he needs to have room to develop an more autonomous emotional well.

For this to happen, I need to adapt my parenting to today's needs: I need to be more consistent in my expectations of his behaviour and in my own. I need to be more aloof because, while he's getting older, he's not getting more independent, which is not good for him. I need to hold onto lovely memories and be available to discover the new connection we'll make. (It's already happening, it's fun in surprising ways!)
My Active and Athletic Son by Sarah Tun
While I don't want to force him to grow up, I don't want to hold back my son either. Time mustn't stand still for the sake of sentimentality. Rather, even in practical ways, he needs to develop the desire to organize himself, make important decisions appropriate for his age and abilities, and reach out more toward other people.

This hasn't been easy for me to recognize. I wonder if other parents, particularly mothers, find it difficult to see how the relationship between themselves and their children needs to change as their children grow. It seems obvious now, as I write it down, but I'm not sure I saw so clearly before this month, how things need to change - how I need to change toward my child - to be the parent my child needs today.

I see in many ways that he's thriving in the transition... more responsibility given to him is translating into greater self worth within him. As I adapt to living in free-fall, I'm discovering that a part of it is releasing the reins on my son, and we're both the better for it.

Love and God bless to you this week. See you next Thursday... AND:




END NOTE: For those who haven't known me for long, and perhaps for some who have: You might enjoy my other blog:
Life from the Lighthouse -- all about what God shows me when He talks to me and I listen. New posts monthly on the 1st.










My website for the Self Publishing House is www.LarusPress.com where I blog on wholeness, witness, the Word of God and worship & warfare. Larus Press offers Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.
Subscribe to our free newsletter, Soaring Post, with issues every Thursday to equip you for your spiritual walk.




See you next Thursday here at A Life Examined.





Thursday, 15 January 2015

Living in Free-Fall: Part 2 Set free from living according to Schedule


This week I have been discovering how to let go of my schedule. Just after I'd written the last post, about escaping life on a schedule, I had my resolve tested and... I passed! In other words, instead of sticking to my plan, I allowed an invitation to change my path. Now, I am really encouraged.

For some, this strategy would be the wrong thing to do. Some of us are born to procrastinate. But for me and others like me, I think the 'free-fall' - the attempt to live with a lack-of-plan - is a turn for the best.

I'm thankful for this stage in my life: My study is now set up again for my thoughts to ruminate, for me to mediate and create. Here I am in quiet surroundings - at the top of a mountain in Spain - with a glimpse of the sea and a great deal of open sky. My desk, my computer, and the instrumental music I love to listen to while I write - all are at the 'ready'.

I have discovered this week that so much of what I do in a day is by compulsion rather than by conviction.I feel compelled to tidy up before sitting down to write; compelled to focus on various projects instead of one-at-a-time; compelled to list the people I need to contact, and to catch up on overdue paperwork. Even though much of my work had to be suspended because of our move, nothing bad happened, so I realize some things just aren't necessary for life!

To live by compulsion as I have been doing up until recently, is not a life fulfilling existence. It isn't at least for me. It gave me a superficial sense of satisfaction when physical order was restored or a mental list was recorded.

On the other hand, to follow my convictions - allowing them to arise from the well inside of me and then to take action - there lies fulfillment for me. Followed sequentially, my convictions will I believe, bring me the sense of completion, achievement, even the victory I so long for.

So, as I live in free-fall, my first understanding has become to WAIT rather than to follow what I feel compelled to do. Even as I write this, I'm distracted by that inner voice that says, 'make that phone call now!'

I experience waiting as active, by-the-way. WAITING, LISTENING, ALLOWING my mind to receive the drops of wisdom, guidance, memory, inspiration and understanding from the well that is within me is active.

So, I wait, I receive, then I create.

I love free-fall. It's scary, but its rewards far outweigh the fear factor.

Love and God bless to you this week. See you next Thursday... AND:




END NOTE: For those who haven't known me for long, and perhaps for some who have: You might enjoy my other blog:
Life from the Lighthouse -- all about what God shows me when He talks to me and I listen. New posts monthly on the 1st.










My website for the Self Publishing House is www.LarusPress.com where I blog on wholeness, witness, the Word of God and worship & warfare. Larus Press offers Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.
Subscribe to our free newsletter, Soaring Post, with issues every Thursday to equip you for your spiritual walk.


See you next Thursday here at A Life Examined.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Living in Free-fall: New Year, New Direction. New Behaviour?

A Lifestyle in FREE-FALL:

I've always liked to be busy. Now I realize it's been a form of hiding - of hiding behind doing so that I don't feel too vulnerable or too useless.

Instead, I wonder: What's it like to live with less planning and more spontaneity?

I feel like I'm in free-fall right now. It is a new year and I'm full of desire to live differently, to live as though every moment has a purpose and not to miss its purpose because I'm busy with my own agenda.

I've never parachuted and I'm not interested in doing so. But I reckon I feel as one might feel after jumping out of a plane and falling; I'm floating, drifting in the air. It's the time before pulling the rip chord, safe in midair. That's what I feel like right now.

During this free-fall, I know I'm not going to die. But I've not got anything to hang onto.

I'd like to be able to live this way permanently.... not hanging onto being busy, but instead being available for what is to come.

I hope to live this way: to behave as though I'll land safely, but not to grip on to planning, organizing, volunteering, doing, as I usually do. Instead I'd rather float through time, waiting for what needs to be done at the perfect moment, and to be easy about the meanwhile. That's how I'd like to live from now on.

There's no New Year's Resolution for me. Instead there is a hope and desire to live differently; to abandon old patterns and to live as though today and tomorrow - time - will pass, and that if I release myself to live through time, I'll do the meaningful things life offers me and be available to those around me who need me.

A few years ago, a particular friend of mine died and I hadn't even known she was ill. I'd not seen her for a couple of years and even with internet we'd not been in touch for as long. When I heard the news she had died I was sad, shocked and I learned a valuable lesson from it that forever changed how I live in relation to people. I don't take opportunities to deepen a relationship for granted. I realize that such moments may not be repeated, so I don't let too much time pass, without keeping a friend informed, or without taking an opportunity to connect.

Just as I learned from that experienced and allowed myself to be changed by it, I hope I'll grow through this year's lesson: to live free of the busyness I've allowed to become a habit and a smokescreen for my inability to be vulnerable.

Welcome to 2015 - the year of living free! I've got no chute, I've got no plan, but plenty of ideas, aspirations and longings. May I surrender these, and wait to see what moments come without unnecessary busyness, and how they will lead me to fulfilled purpose.



END NOTE: For those who haven't known me for long, and perhaps for some who have: You might enjoy my other blog:
Life from the Lighthouse -- all about what God shows me when He talks to me and I listen. New posts monthly on the 1st.





My website for the Self Publishing House is www.LarusPress.com where I blog on wholeness, witness, the Word of God and worship & warfare. Larus Press offers Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.
Or subscribe to the Soaring Post free newsletter, with issues every Thursday.


See you again next Thursday for Part 2 of Living in Free-fall.

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New Beginnings - Part 10: Dealing with Homesickness

Waking yesterday morning - New Year's Eve - I felt broken-hearted. My family and I have spent Christmas in the UK and it has been wonderful visiting relatives. Aware of returning to Spain, I feel hemmed in and sad... I miss Canada. How can being in the UK, where I used to live, make me long for Canada, where I no longer live? And how can thinking of Spain, where there is far more space than in England, make me feel hemmed in?

It isn't just the unpacking that I am not looking forward to, or the indoor winter chill that is Spain, because they have no insulation and houses are built to repel heat. It is the sadness of not yet fitting in - of being loved, yet not quite feeling at home and able to receive - that is difficult. And I realize, this is homesickness.

I've never felt homesick before. Never. Not at summer camp as a child, not when I moved to England, nor when I left England after nearly twenty years. Never. But I do now.

It won't last. At least I hope not, because it isn't a nice feeling, and it certainly is not worthy of my attention for a prolonged period of time. I have experienced many wonderful people and sites, since my move to Spain. But heartache isn't easily healed and isn't repaired with logic or psychology. While I've never experienced it before, I think perhaps homesickness is 'fixed' through recognition, imagination and hope.

1. I recognize my state and accept it.

2. I imagine the good and the difficult - the advantages and the disadvantages - of my previous home.

3. I look forward to how I and my family members will grow in our new life, and hope - trust and believe - that the New is full of promise and growth and joy.

There are so many advantages to living in Spain: We are closer to paternal family members, with whom my son can build deeper and lasting relationships. We are nearer to the older and the younger generations of my husband's family. We have sea and mountains to explore, ministry to employ, work and play to discover. And new people.

Relationship is what really moves humanity. We earn a living, we experience hobbies, but it is relationship with others that really touches our hearts as human beings.

I have been missing the landscape and the people that is my homeland of Canada. I have been celebrating family relationships in the UK this past Christmas, after years of being apart. I have been coping with the thought of returning to a new residence - that is not yet home - chiefly because there are not experiences and relationships that have been deepened over time.

Time heals. And in this case, time will reveal the purpose and the plan and the relationships that will grow in this phase of my life and the lives of my husband and son.

I'd like to know my purpose, and to be working and walking in it. But, will it be through this post, some booklet, or through the young people's novel I yearn to complete? Will it be by using past experience or expertise I shelved a long time ago? Or will it take a shape I do not yet imagine? I don't honestly know.

What does the next chapter hold for me? I am ready to turn the page...

Looking backwards, I am gaining perspective, finally. As I have navigated this move to a new country and the changes experienced by my family and myself, I have travelled a road that was sometimes expansive and beautiful: the sort of road that leads to glory.

Often-times though, the road I've travelled along has been narrow and dark with overcast skies.


But no matter the road, I've always known I am right where I am meant to be.

Now, I see partly, yet more clearly than I have for months. My attitude and my hope helps me to 'walk on water'. With my unpacking on track and my hope and confidence for the future intact, I'm developing a new routine. My feet have some direction as I tread new ground but in comfortable, old shoes.

As we look forward into 2015, may we rise to our challenges, be quick to help others, be certain in our purpose and be joyful in all circumstances.

Best to you for 2015!!

Love and God bless to you this week. See you next Thursday... AND:




END NOTE: For those who haven't known me for long, and perhaps for some who have: You might enjoy my other blog:
Life from the Lighthouse -- all about what God shows me when He talks to me and I listen. New posts monthly on the 1st.










My website for the Self Publishing House is www.LarusPress.com where I blog on wholeness, witness, the Word of God and worship & warfare. Larus Press offers Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.
Subscribe to our free newsletter, Soaring Post, with issues every Thursday to equip you for your spiritual walk.




See you next Thursday here at A Life Examined.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

A Christmas Promise

A Christmas Promise: 

I promise to look upon each person I meet with open eyes and an open heart.

I commit to kindness and patience to every person in my family.

I hope for a meaningful connection with each colleague I have.

I wish for the best outcome in every disagreement I encounter, where neither party feels intimidated, small or weak.

I thank each of you readers for your lives, and hope for your aspirations to be met, if not precisely how you expected, then in a way that is significant and lasting.

And I pray you have a splendid Christmas Season and a prosperous 2015.

A Christmas Blessing: 

May your heart be light, your hope be deep, your faith be strong and your life be changed as you look upward and outward this Christmas Day.
One Snowy Christmas Day by Sarah Tun

God bless,

Sarah xx

Love and God bless to you this week. See you next Thursday... AND:




END NOTE: For those who haven't known me for long, and perhaps for some who have: You might enjoy my other blog:
Life from the Lighthouse -- all about what God shows me when He talks to me and I listen. New posts monthly on the 1st.










My website for the Self Publishing House is www.LarusPress.com where I blog on wholeness, witness, the Word of God and worship & warfare. Larus Press offers Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.
Subscribe to our free newsletter, Soaring Post, with issues every Thursday to equip you for your spiritual walk.




See you next Thursday here at A Life Examined.


Thursday, 18 December 2014

What is Christmas?

What is Christmas? And, how much is 'too much' at Christmas?

Is there any such thing as 'too much of a good thing?'

For some, Christmas is a joy. For others, it is a duty at best, an annoyance at worst. Commercialism certainly thrives on Christmas and many would say it preys on people's good will, sense of obligation or sentimentality.

As for me, there are elements of Christmas I cherish. I love Christmas Carols. I love the idea of giving and sharing with close friends and family. Cliff Richard has a song called, "Saviour's Day" which for me, says it all. I love the song because it puts the emphasis on Jesus, without the holiday fervour or excess of 'too much' eating, drinking or spending.

There is a great gift of Christmas. And I'm not going to say the cliche of Christ. I think in Christmas there is a primary lesson; it is not about tinsel, nor about children, not even about the baby Jesus.

I think Christmas is about love.

We may not like everyone we meet, but we can choose to love them. We can learn from Jesus what he came and shared about love, so that we can get along better and enjoy life far more all 365 days of the year.

Love came down at Christmas in the package of a baby boy. Love grew up and shared his understanding of what it means to love one another on a massive scale.

If we can learn to love as Jesus taught about love, then we can learn to cope at work when the person in the next cubical is annoying. We can accept the choices other people make, even when we believe their choices are bad choices. We can engage with people we seem to have nothing in common with, knowing we are all part of humanity.

As I celebrate the Season of Christmas this year, I'm going to choose to cope with, accept and engage with others lovingly, knowing we are all imperfect people aiming to protect ourselves and share with others whatever part of us we think is best to offer. This is my choice for this day, and for every day.

I won't drop in at An Examined Life next week because it's Christmas Day. I hope you and yours will enjoy - in your own way - the day and the season, in the fullness of your understanding of what it's all about. From me to you, God bless! Personally, I don't think there is any such thing as too much love in the world, so I'm hoping Christmas - defined in that light - goes to excess for all.


Love and God bless to you this week. See you next Thursday... AND:




END NOTE: For those who haven't known me for long, and perhaps for some who have: You might enjoy my other blog:
Life from the Lighthouse -- all about what God shows me when He talks to me and I listen. New posts monthly on the 1st.










My website for the Self Publishing House is www.LarusPress.com where I blog on wholeness, witness, the Word of God and worship & warfare. Larus Press offers Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.
Subscribe to our free newsletter, Soaring Post, with issues every Thursday to equip you for your spiritual walk.




See you next Thursday here at A Life Examined.



Thursday, 11 December 2014

New Beginnings - Part 9 Home & the Reality of Change

A cloud of reality leads me upward, and I realize: I'm scared. I'm also relieved.

First, the scared part: I'm in a new land which is now my home. I couldn't call it home until now, but now the official documents say I'm here. Until recently, I was caught between two worlds, my homeland of Canada and a new start in Spain. I confess I've considered turning back, going home to what I know and love. The thought, "I've been a tourist, perhaps it's time I went home" went through my mind, and I was serious. But now I'm here, to stay, and with that reality, I admit I'm scared.

What am I scared of? It isn't the new language or new orientation or people. It isn't starting over with relationships to build and places to discover. What it is, is having no control. I'm in free-fall and I'm not usually the paratrooper type. I like planes well enough; to stay in them until they're back on the ground is adventure enough. I'm in a new land and have no idea what I'll do with my time from this moment on. Oh, I'll be a mom and wife and companion to people. I reckon I'll continue to write. But what is in store? I've no idea. And though I'm scared of the unknown and what is beyond my control, I am anticipating the positive. So I am scared, but I'm not afraid to fly.

Now, the relieved part: Here I am, living in Spain, with my family. We've lived in 3 countries within 5 years. I've found it difficult to have time to myself over the past few months of transition - the leaving and the arriving both consuming my focus. I have been saying since arriving in Spain: "I've moved" while in my heart of hearts I've only been in trial mode. Now, with my belongings (red tape finally cleared! - see last week's excerpt if you aren't familiar with the reference point) and my family here, it's hard to imagine moving on - again.

So, I'm at peace with this new situation and after a long transition and a few doubts behind me, I'm relieved.

Apart from becoming acquainted with a new language, I have a lot of adjustments to make and a lot of information to digest. Among these adjustments to my changes in circumstance, I need to know: How will my writing be a part of this new life? I feel like it - as well as I - have been in a holding pattern since October. Now, I'm in my own office again - albeit a new one to me - and I have my space and my time to compose. But is there something else to be focusing on, something more immediate or important to the general pulse of the universe that I must do, to ensure I'm playing my part? Truth is, I don't know. That's what scares me, and intrigues me as well.
Me at Work


You see, I see that I'm not really in control anymore. I realize life has moved me on, and at breakneck speed, to a surprising place. There are few moments in my life when I wasn't 'in control' and now I have a feeling I won't have that control any longer.

I want to continue to write. It is a life pulse for me. But what shall I write? And how shall I convey what I've already learned to others? After all, as a teacher once, it's hard to completely turn my back on something that's inside me. So I write, and I talk about writing. And what else?

My family is settling in. Now, it is perhaps my turn to discover what's here for me.

As Christmas approaches, I'd like to complete this cycle of New Beginnings and look toward the festive season and how all things point to another moment in time, one that is and was and will always be outside of ourselves and yet a part of ourselves. We all need love, joy and peace. For me, Jesus is the reason for this upcoming Season; but whether or not it is for you, this season does offer lots of love and joy and peace in little surprising places and moments and faces. As we come upon this Season, may you embrace every opportunity to enjoy those unexpected places, moments and faces.

Love and God bless to you this week. See you next Thursday... AND:




END NOTE: For those who haven't known me for long, and perhaps for some who have: You might enjoy my other blog:
Life from the Lighthouse -- all about what God shows me when He talks to me and I listen. New posts monthly on the 1st.










My website for the Self Publishing House is www.LarusPress.com where I blog on wholeness, witness, the Word of God and worship & warfare. Larus Press offers Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.
Subscribe to our free newsletter, Soaring Post, with issues every Thursday to equip you for your spiritual walk.




See you next Thursday here at A Life Examined.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

New Beginnings - Part 8 Red Tape

Spain. Land of sunshine, friendly people and... bureaucracy!

I like the reality of administration. It is necessary. It keeps people organized and if someone is trying to get away with something, it helps to keep them accountable... and society safer.

But those in Administration really need to have their thinking caps checked to ensure they are able to cope with their responsibilities, without extremes of megalomania or the propensity to get stuck in a box.

Spain is 'known' for its bureaucracy. I admire their system that so effectively manages to ensure its inhabitants are officially accounted for, so that benefits are available to those deserving, and taxes are paid by those who are required.

But sometimes, be it in Canada, Britain, Spain or worldwide, some Administrators seem to lack common sense.

As I write, my property is in a holding pattern, because a particular Customs official can't seem to grasp the fact that I've moved from Canada, where I lived for the past 4+ years. Perhaps leaving the wide plains of North America, 'land of the free', is unfathomable for him (or her). Or perhaps 15 documents that prove I lived there aren't enough. (Apparently there is a transfer document for residents who depart Spain - but Canada doesn't provide that, and neither do many/most other countries.) Or maybe he or she is seeking a promotion and so thinks that blocking my shipment and charging a duty will earn brownie points.

I remember once years ago (in Canada), when I had changed my name and sought to get a government social insurance card changed, the administrator had difficulty restraining herself from charging me. The rules stipulated that there was no charge for a legal name change. I'd changed my first name, legally; however, the woman at the desk couldn't reconcile her concept of a name change - so narrow as to include only a sir name through marriage - when I'd changed my Christian name by choice. She just couldn't widen her scope beyond her assumptions. Eventually, I invited her to call her superior, who was a more flexible thinker, and I had my card revised to incorporate my new name, free of charge.

We all experience red tape from time to time. It can be annoying and inconvenient. It's important not to let our frustrations out on the person behind the desk who is, after all, only trying to do his job.

Yet, when the individual is incompetent, we'd like to draw the line, wouldn't we? How do we cope when we don't experience 'fair play'?

The key is grace.

We all make mistakes. Patience, kindness, giving the benefit of the doubt is what we want when we make a mistake. Likewise, it's what we need to offer when we know we're right but have to wait for the other person to 'see the light', even when it is at our expense and inconvenience.

I'm telling myself this because it's getting more and more difficult for me to live this out at the present time.

Is my shipment going to be released tomorrow? Or will I be denied my goods again and be asked to offer further documents, charged for delays I didn't cause, and shuffle my schedule yet again? I don't know. But I do know shouting down a phone won't get me any closer to getting what I want.

I do ask myself "Why?" Why am I being forced the expense and inconvenience of waiting? Why is my documentation not being taken at face value when others before me have had theirs accepted? Why don't Customs officials have a better grasp of international bureaucracy so they don't ask of someone from another nation documentation that doesn't exist?

To be honest, I don't think the "Why" has as much to do with the Customs agent as it has to do with me. I think this experience is the opportunity for me to stretch my grace muscles. I'm getting a workout, that's for sure. Let's see how I manage tomorrow.

Until next week... and I'll let you know how things have panned out at the Customs office here in Spain.






Love and God bless to you this week. See you next Thursday... AND:




END NOTE: For those who haven't known me for long, and perhaps for some who have: You might enjoy my other blog:
Life from the Lighthouse -- all about what God shows me when He talks to me and I listen. New posts monthly on the 1st.










My website for the Self Publishing House is www.LarusPress.com where I blog on wholeness, witness, the Word of God and worship & warfare. Larus Press offers Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.
Subscribe to our free newsletter, Soaring Post, with issues every Thursday to equip you for your spiritual walk.




See you next Thursday here at A Life Examined.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

New Beginnings - Part 7 Loneliness

Moving has an inevitable aspect to it: loneliness.

J fishing by Alan Tun


I observe my son, who is happy enough at his new school; however, he shows signs of being lonely and he's not made a connection with any special friend yet. While he, at age nine, is not old enough to grasp the content of this discussion, I'd like to share some strategy to overcoming loneliness, or at least that sense of 'aloneness' which arises every now and then in life.

Moving to a new place isn't the only time we may encounter loneliness. We may feel lonely when we hold sole responsibility, or when we experience a poignant moment in our lives, but have no one to share it with. Whether the season is a challenging one or a victorious one, in life's ebb and flow, we all fair better when we have others with whom to share the significant moments.

So, how do we get through those times when we feel lonely?

We can keep busy, but that only masks the problem, rather than solving it.

I find I feel lonely when I've got no one with whom to share my thoughts, so I overcome by writing. Whether I am writing to myself, my God, or my journal, I am taking the ideas and impressions that are inside me and putting them outside of myself. The specific audience is less important to me than the communication. For me, the inability to express my thoughts is what makes me feel lonely, so finding a way to express myself takes away much of the isolation.

Maybe that's why so many people blog! Is that what is at the heart of the billions on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest? In our need to find a way to express ourselves we take our opportunities though the forums provided.

Creative expression of any kind is a way forward through 'Alone Seasons'. I see it in paintings, sculpture, dance, stories. I think it was Earnest Hemmingway who wrote 'the' shortest story:
"For Sale: One Pair of Baby Shoes, Never Been Worn."
That would have been a very lonely moment for the character who lived that ad.

A sense of isolation can be with us, whether surrounded by friends or by strangers. When we are aware of it, I think we need to face that sense head on. There is an emptiness inside each of us that, until recognized and addressed, will effect our decisions and behaviour. No one feels completely fulfilled, accepted, peaceful, understood, heard all of the time. Those 'empty' moments are also opportunities. They are moments that give us time to reflect on, to take stock of who we are: our character, our attitudes, our ambitions and our purpose. I believe that if we never look inside we never really grow, and so I think those moments of solitude - aka loneliness - are an essential part of life.

I welcome solitude. I dislike loneliness. To me, they are simply the flip side of each other. Like sunshine and rain, they have an attractive aspect and an unattractive one. But both are essential to ensure growth to maturity.

My son is experiencing loneliness. I hope he'll learn much in the solitude. I also hope he finds a special friend soon. For both solitude and relationship are essential to life.

Until next Thursday, may you find special moments to enjoy - with a friend and with yourself...for you can be your own best friend.

Love and God bless to you this week. See you next Thursday... AND:




END NOTE: For those who haven't known me for long, and perhaps for some who have: You might enjoy my other blog:
Life from the Lighthouse -- all about what God shows me when He talks to me and I listen. New posts monthly on the 1st.










My website for the Self Publishing House is www.LarusPress.com where I blog on wholeness, witness, the Word of God and worship & warfare. Larus Press offers Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.
Subscribe to our free newsletter, Soaring Post, with issues every Thursday to equip you for your spiritual walk.




See you next Thursday here at A Life Examined.


Thursday, 20 November 2014

New Beginnings - Part 6: What is the ultimate fresh start?

My Wedding Day


In a few days' time I will witness a wedding between two lovely people, as they agree to become one in spirit.

Two most obvious circumstances that represent new life come at birth and at marriage. But new life may also spring from any major change: confirmation, graduation, a new job, or a new home. 'Firsts' mark new beginnings: the first time you buy your own clothes, the first job, the first mortgage, the first baby - these are a few markers of change, responsibility and maturity. Card shops even encourage a new take on tragedies such as divorce, and encourage us to see the beauty and majesty when a loved one dies. Almost any change then, is a spark toward the new - the new being a trigger for positive feelings and hope.

While I'm in the process of experiencing the upheaval and excitement of a transcontinental move, I will pause and gaze at the newlyweds, who are full of hope, anticipation and the challenges of a new life together. I will look forward in my life with its own quirks, and will reflect back on the good fortunes and surprises life has given me. Yet, at such a time as this, nothing quite compares to the enthusiastic confidence between a couple of young adults, about to embark on momentous change: from depending on themselves to depending on each other, trusting in love, and a future full of promise. In whatever life may bring, they will stand together through it all, strong in themselves, but stronger with each other.

Next week I'll be back in Spain, with more thoughts and reflections about change, and how I manage to grapple with New Beginnings.

Love and God bless to you this week. See you next Thursday... AND:




END NOTE: For those who haven't known me for long, and perhaps for some who have: You might enjoy my other blog:
Life from the Lighthouse -- all about what God shows me when He talks to me and I listen. New posts monthly on the 1st.










My website for the Self Publishing House is www.LarusPress.com where I blog on wholeness, witness, the Word of God and worship & warfare. Larus Press offers Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.
Subscribe to our free newsletter, Soaring Post, with issues every Thursday to equip you for your spiritual walk.




See you next Thursday here at A Life Examined.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

New Beginnings - Part 5: Hiatus


Whirlwind Season

Makes me smile:

Wedding wonders

In my pathway to adore.

Visiting homeland

Number 2

Great Britain, great friends

And family too.

Off from Spain, to England I roam

When I'm done

I'll go back home.

Home is a new land

Adventure is near.

Home - where my furniture

Plants me for now.

Feet are stayed

On firm rock of truth:

Never forsaken

I'm looking to hope.

Feet escalating

From sand to sky to roads

Excited and feeling

Joy inside.

For wedding and wonders

Renewed ties galore

Love never-ending

Expression and release.

I'll attend the wedding

And celebrate their joy

Then go back to my new life

Ready to comply

With all of the changes

All new, fresh and real

My idea is "live,

Love, laugh.

And celebrate."

Whatever the countryside,

Language or verse

I'll climb every mountain

To gaze on this earth.

(This week I've returned back to England after a 5 year absence. It's great to be back among family and friends. Returning for the joyous occasion of the wedding of my step daughter, family and friends meet and embrace, and laugh together. It's wonderful. I hope you'll enjoy your occasions this week, be they formal or informal.)


Ready to Celebrate!

Love and God bless to you this week. See you next Thursday... AND:




END NOTE: For those who haven't known me for long, and perhaps for some who have: You might enjoy my other blog:
Life from the Lighthouse -- all about what God shows me when He talks to me and I listen. New posts monthly on the 1st.










My website for the Self Publishing House is www.LarusPress.com where I blog on wholeness, witness, the Word of God and worship & warfare. Larus Press offers Christian-based books, blogs and literature to inspire, encourage, equip and empower your living spirit.
Subscribe to our free newsletter, Soaring Post, with issues every Thursday to equip you for your spiritual walk.




See you next Thursday here at A Life Examined.