1. The cold wintertime night back in Bury/ 2. Leeds Royal Opera House for Matt's Peter Pan with RNB/ 3. Christmas Eve dinner at.. you know where Manchester/ 4. Christmas Day with the family, with the convenient power cut/ 5. Mine and Sam's birthday/ 6. Lucha Libre lunch with Chris/ 7. Morning hike (walk) with the Lays on the first day of the new year/ 8. Lunch time festivities i.e. baby sitting
So that's been my second half of December in parts - I promise the rest of my Italy diaries will be up I've not had any good time to get it all done in one go so it's moving quite slowly, I'll post them under my travel series once done :)
Thought of the day: Priorities, stick to them and don't get sidetracked. Put aside things you have no ability to impact.
Mental strength is like muscle strength -- no one has an unlimited supply. So why waste your power on things you can't control? For some people, it's politics. For others, it's family. For others, it's global warming. Whatever it is, you care, and you want others to care.
Fine. Do what you can do: Vote. Lend a listening ear. Recycle, and reduce your carbon footprint. Do what you can do. Be your own change--but don't try to make everyone else change. (They won't.)
In God we trust,
2014 I've made many mistakes, taken chances, calculated decisions to then jump once again for an oversight. I like to re-phrase it as adjusting, 調整 as it would so perfectly describe. Because diving into different waters and starting anew, as frustrating as it could be, only means trying new things, making new things; "learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing the world". Stepping into the unknown is doubtless one of the most frustrating things when there are as many reasons against as there is for a decision you needed to make, or when there seems not to be anyone to hold your hands or even support you through it. The reward is in itself; those raw, uncut feelings of education, adventure, awareness, achievement. Once you step out, you're thrown into an arena of your own expanse, you live "and more importantly, you're doing something".
I turned 23 this week, besides from feeling the disarray of inescapably being attached to that number, I'm ok, even though I still don't know how I want/ should want life to work out in 5 years time. As long as I'm doing something and I'm being me, I am at peace, I know God handles the rest. And for a right way to start another year, I jumped (rolled) out of bed at an unshameful hour for a good ol' morning hike, got brunch with some old faces (also met new friends) and buckled down for the rest of the day. Never underestimate the influence of willingness and determination, a tireless soul will find its way.
'Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbours and let every new year find you a better (wo)man.' --Benjamin Franklin
2015 is my year, I swear.
In God we trust
I don't usually do this but today I woke up at the luxurious 9th hour of the day - way after the local feathered flocks had made their daily departures. So i'll be multitasking to catch up on some time.. As well as I couldn't think of a title for this and being inspired by Mamie Smith on my morning playlist, no, the title has little relevance... unless I had called it Morning Blues. I want to share a bit of what I'm reading. I have struggled for quite some time every morning, and it wasn't until I had a chance to lye in this morning that I again felt just this plain, unadorned sadness the moment I realised I was awake. It's funny because for a second when I open my eyes, I feel at peace and energised, and then the unlike hits me like a ton of bricks. I feel somewhat defeated and really not wanting to face the day - I don't know why, but what I do know is that these feelings do not belong to me, and I don't have to keep feeling this way.
Here are some things that help me to keep going:
1. Choose how you live. Happy People: don't complain, don't compare, don't compete.
2. Praise Him - constantly and in spite of your feelings - it only lifts and educates you
3. Draw the line. I, hands down have fallen into the disillusion of mistaking humility for what it is. Pronouncing the fact that you are saved and sanctified cannot be done with just knowing it, believe it with your actions and words. Knowing exactly who you are and where you stand is not stepping on anyone else's toes, believe loudly.
"I am accountable to God for the way I control my body under His authority. Paul said he did not “set aside the grace of God”— make it ineffective (Galatians 2:21). The grace of God is absolute and limitless, and the work of salvation through Jesus is complete and finished forever. I am not being saved— I am saved. Salvation is as eternal as God’s throne, but I must put to work or use what God has placed within me. To “work out [my] own salvation” (Philippians 2:12) means that I am responsible for using what He has given me."
In God we trust,
Working on a few photography projects while I'm out here, some outtakes from one of the series about the Puglia coastal lines, and also memories of this beautiful humble boat I spent some time on with the local fishermen :)
In God we trust,
The serene beauty found with each step in the small alleyways and the deep blue boundless sea I have only begun to think back... a flux of perpetual charm, Polignano A Mare is perfect.
It's a little like Hong Kong (strip back the urban vibes) it is so quite during the day, once you're away from the morning markets and see few groups of old friends hanging out on street corners, enjoying coffee, taking rounds in the courtyards. By night, after shops and restaurants close in the afternoon, they reopen anytime from 16:00, the weekends in particular is flooded with effusive life, out past midnight. It's a whole different world, it reminds me of Midnight in Paris, instead of jumping back in time, it feels like I suddenly, repeatedly, unaware by a seamless transition find myself in another dimension, another character altogether of the small town. Relaxing jazz music and all kinds of ages wander the roads, as the walkways disappear under too many footfalls. I've never been one for the outdoors, but out of everything I enjoy the hiking and running without music - is amazing, just taking in the views and fresh crisp air, is so eye opening and revolutionary. Note to do that in England, suburban trees and houses will do. My third week in right now, I've moved slowly towards the inlands, but first, here are some snaps from the first week.
In God we trust,
I am taking a train from Polignano as I type, the southern sea-side town I have fallen slowly but completely in love with. Before I follow up with a huge post documenting my week, I wanted to take some time to file more honestly where I am at. Photos seem to record only what I advise to be beauty - it's quite hard to capture the rest, all that you naturally push out of the frame that may disturb the perfect shot. I love that, re-telling and creating your version of a juncture in time, but it's a funny thing when you stop and look at the rest.
One of my biggest fears is wasting time and not achieving much. Even when I'm doing things, it hardly feels like I'm achieving anything, and that's something I'm working on. I get so restless just hanging out when I really can be getting on with some work, overbearing. I tend to voluntary/ get pressured to stay when the working day is over leaving no room to be ill-prepared for anything. I guess that's why it was so easy to slip into a lifestyle of constant overtime and with such dramatised pressure all round. It became something I didn’t even know how to surrender to God, my job was just constantly emails, errands, meetings, I struggled to even begin figuring out how this was glorifying Him. It scared me that this could very realistically be the rest of my life, I found it easier and easier to produce work that I didn’t really love or believe in. In spite of feeble attempts to turn my feelings around about this to find reasons to continue, there was a character about it all that I wouldn’t admire in anyone else. This is in no way dismissing anything, God has prepared me and I knew the value of this time of learning about the business as well as shaping a little more patience which is never needed enough… I have only realised that I need to be a go getter and to continue would be to settle. I know that I'll just be going around in circles with the same lessons, so I made a choice to live differently for a little - a real change.
"Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens:
Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one
and calls forth each of them by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing." --Isaiah 40:26
I’ve been needing some help to see properly, the lifestyle here is too good, the genuine emotions of the people, the hearty, loud nature of the Italian culture, the sincerity that has made me realise many things. In London and Manchester I tend to keep my head down, hoping not to bump into anyone, permanently checking off tasks. Just to catch up a little, for about half a year I had been working for a fashion agency as the marketing executive here. It was great in more ways than I had signed up for, but the arts that I love so much have become an accustomed way of money making. The business of fashion was overshadowing the magic and imagination that I admired about it all. It's essentially the reality of it, but it's nevertheless the side that I didn't want to continue expanding from. While I was there, I didn't know how to get out of it, I couldn't and I didn't find truths from the 'right things' that my little world was so sucked into a nasty habit of believing.
Learning to dive deeper. And swim farther, I'm not quitting, I'm not going anywhere, I’m just commanding a little time to recharge. I have been trying to figure out what I’m actually doing with Romans 12, do not confirm any longer to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind and coming across the message translation has given me a fresh, simple way to understand it,
"So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you..."
Obviously this post is about my relation with work and figuring out my passions. There are a few and many things that I want to achieve in terms of my career but the thing I want to share, as generic as it sounds - I'm not just saying anymore, I’m finally truly ok with and without these things. Jesus provides my needs and He directs my wants and desires, it was hard to make this true to myself when work was so commercially and financially driven, which is good! Just not for me I realise. Relinquish your dreams for the only one who can set them in place because the new thing I have learned is that no matter how tightly you hold onto your plans, it will inevitably be taken if it's not for you.
I am blessed to be here to start the next season.
In God we trust,