Crash Landing February

I’m feverish, I’m injured and I’m exhausted. The 3 symptoms of February have made an appearance. For some February is a second fresh start, a time to cut out the post-Christmas comfort food or perhaps a positive end to winter. However for some reason, my kind of February looks more like the crash landing of an immune system and desire for even more comfort food.

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As if by coincidence or some environmental stimulus, I only ever get ill in February. This is by no means an exaggeration. I can go a year without catching a cold or taking a sick day but when I eventually do wake up bed-bound, the calendar always says “February!”

Last year it was a horrendously overdue and destructive cold that left me clawing for breath, energy and even the ability to stand without feeling dizzy. The year before welcomed another flue, the year before that a sick bug and I seem to recall that one February I ended up with a week long spell of tonsillitis… I have also noted very high levels of exhaustion and stress in recent February’s.

What can I say? I just don’t enjoy February! Perhaps the change in weather combined with hard efforts to achieve new years resolutions is what causes it? Maybe my body finally reacts to all the January comfort and Christmas food? Whatever the cause, it’s occurring once more: I have some kind of flue, injured hip reflexes (preventing me from running) and I feel like I’m crawling through the week dependent on caffeine.

It’s only the 7th of February as I write this…

However, as with anything I know that all of this is only temporary and I at least (unlike others) have had some warning given previous February experiences. I press on and often end up dedicating these 28 days of low immunity to rest, recovery and restoration. I take sick days, get early nights and feed my body with as many vitamins as I can!

I hope you’re February is less infectious.

What does your February look like?

Eleanor ♥

P.S sorry for any missed posts but as you can see, February is out to get me.
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Colour Hunting

If I were to elect a couple of words to summarise my creative style, it would most definitely be, “Colour Hunter.” I search for the striking in everything! Vivid light is contagious and just gets all of my creative juices flowing… But what does all of this signify?

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Whether I’m painting, outfit composing or shooting photographs, my eye immediately looks towards the colourful, playful elements. My wardrobe is ordered by hue, images focus upon a primary element and I only ever paint with red, yellow and blue. My psychological world is centred upon highly saturated views.

However, my creative colour-hunting does not simply lie amongst the visuals. The more creativity I find myself pursuing, the brighter things follow. I begin to discover the beauty in the everyday, sound emotion within a piece of music and seek encouragement through words. I just can’t get enough!

What if I were to make an increased effort each day to exert my colourful creativity? To, “find a little bit of colour in such a black and white world,” as the saying goes. Wouldn’t my outlook and mindset be completely revolutionised? My creativity is a unique part of me – what if I used it to make such wonder known to others?

By sharing my originality, I enlighten someone else’s views. Whether visually, emotionally or physically, our creativity can influence the rest of the world…

Everybody is creative – everyone! Perhaps your creativity lies beyond the artistic sort, but the truth of the matter is that we all have the ability to think for ourselves and this in itself is creativity.

What’s your creative style? What do you do you think for? Who do you admire? What tends to stand out to you? All these things determine who you are, what you prioritise and the way you think. And once this is discovered, there’s nothing left to do other than let it flow out towards others.

Whether something simply beautiful such as colour, love or religion, or the more complex theories, ambitions or emotional influences, the things you choose to dwell upon may be shared: using our originality encourages others, promotes diversity and allows us to appreciate the positives.

Share your creativity and bring some colour into your world and the surrounding universe.

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2017 | Where Are We Heading This Year?

With 2017 comes a fresh start, renewed goals and exciting opportunities. Where are we heading this year?

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Firstly, I already have great plans for 2017! As I prepare to finish my A-level studies, I also plan to encounter the extraordinary. Unfortunately I cannot discuss much of this with you just yet, but I can say that I don’t plan to move on towards university just yet and this in itself (from August onward) will bring a whole lot of adventure!

But what goals are we striving towards as a Distinctivemode community? Unlike previous years, we won’t be launching a big year-long project. Although previous years have been incredibly successful, creativity calls for change and with many new opportunities about to rise, I know that the changes 2017 will bring cannot be predicted. I also want to experiment a little more with the content on this platform!

However, there are a few things that I personally hope to achieve, which will come to life through this blog…

Create: creativity is such a big part of my life! As an art student and blogger, creative practise is vital. Unfortunately over the past 2 years, smaller creative practises have been pushed to the side in order to prioritise bigger projects. I miss planning photo shoots, filling sketchbooks and being more experimental with my writing. In 2017 I plan to sketch more, put together photography projects, redecorate, brainstorm ideas, engage in crafts and produce artwork! As part of this goal, I aim to write more songs, and also branch outwards into film: documenting days out, memorable events and other creative visuals.

Educate: 2017 will bring college education to a close and already I can look towards the achievements waiting to be secured. However, as 2016 came to an end, I couldn’t help but crave a little more substance. I may have a focused high-level knowledge in a few areas, however a recent encounter inspired me to pay more attention. What do I mean by this? In 2017 I want to widen my knowledge in the following ways: follow world issues and news headlines; learn new, small skills; improve general knowledge; read more classics; read non-fiction texts; study “big questions” and form judgements. My hope is that as I journey towards becoming more “world aware,” this will influence my writing and allow Distincitvemode to become a more current and educated community! Who knows where this will lead us…

Other smaller goals include saving funds for travel, passing exams and continuing to journey in faith.

Lets step into 2017, and journey towards becoming more creative and more world aware!

What are your goals?

Eleanor ♥
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NYE Grace Cherish Go

After snapping 366 photographs, stepping to have a little more grace each day and striving to reach out to others, 2016 has drawn to a close. There are so many things to be thankful for! In this short round up we’ll review 2016 with a happy heart!

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2016 has been a year of Grace, Cherish, Go. Through grace, I’ve been learning to appreciate the small things in life, originally reduce exam stress (big tick for this one!) and discover ways to apply grace to everyday life: having an attitude of gratitude, which personally led to me going vegetarian; dedicating more time to ourselves; practising hospitality and having patience.

2016 has encouraged us to cherish daily memories – those of you who joined me in taking a photograph every day to mark a visual memory, have now collected a beautiful album to look back on! As I flick through my own, I’m constantly reminded of days’ events, personal challenges and the 366+ things I have to be thankful for!

Finally as part of our Go mission, we made an effort to love one another a little more actively. Not only have we been successful in promoting encouragement and taking time to reflect through this site, but as we’ve progressed through 2016, Distinctivemode’s presence and influence has also actively grown. I personally have been invited to share my testimony at various events such as The Insight Event, allowing others to hear of God’s love and see how God is working through this small community! Comissions have come in, the prayer forms have been used and questions have been challenged! Our initial aim of “Go” has accelerated into such an adventure – I have full assurance that this will continue into 2017!

Most of all, I’m thankful for the support and encouragement of all my readers – you keep this community alive! This year of Grace Cherish Go has taken a great deal of commitment and perseverance. There have been times when I’ve questioned whether this project was really reaping benefits, or whether anybody was really listening! But people continued to support Distinctivemode, giving me the spirit to keep on writing! God had a purpose for 2016 and he has fulfilled it in his strength! Thank you for reading and helping to make 2016 so successful!

2016 has been marvellous! Come back on 1st January to see where we are heading next year!

Eleanor ♥

What If We Were Search Engines?

Looking back upon old memories, documents, and images is often rather stimulating. It’s as if those remnants have an intellectual side, not only able to narrate, but also capable of being decisive. Sometimes they are able to sense and select past emotions, throwing them into the present, and programming a response…

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I just spent 5 hours face to face with my laptop screen, sorting, laughing, shying, and deleting. I had 5 years worth of images to re-order, clear, and keep. In fact, the task itself was rather cathartic as I asked myself, does the image have good quality? Does it have sentimental value? Will I ever use that photograph again? What is it’s significance? 

If only, I wonder, we could do this in “the real world.” How often do we reassess our priorities, attitudes, and thoughts? How do we even go about this?

Imagine, for a second, that you’re a search engine; sieving through data and webpages is not an easy task. Say that for instance, someone types in, “news highlights 2013,” lets consider for a moment, what you would select, and order as most significant. First of all, we must realise just how many newspapers are published daily – multiply that by how many individual stories are included in each… How on earth do we, as search engines, filter this down to approximately 15 webpages?

News stories, similar to memories and personal experiences, involve people, emotions, and priorities. Perhaps you’ve been in a newspaper before, and cherished the story because it was significant to you? But we could say the same for everybody else, in every other news bulletin, right? A search engine can’t always afford to be personal.

A search engine filters for: something unique; something that perhaps, marks a historic change; something that should not be forgotten; something that originates to a source. Often, it searches for the positive, yet still includes the negative; looking to the past must give both wisdom and warning.

What about all the small, “forgotten” stories? Are they not worth keeping? This question undoubtedly appears time after time – my answer? A search engine knows about all of these, stores them in permanent data logs, and cherishes them in their moment. However, it doesn’t waste energy trying to hoard these onto one readable webpage.

In today’s world, we often find ourselves wanting to experience a little bit of everything. Experience, in all newspaper forms, matters! But how do we prioritise? Does it ever feel like there’s too much to fit onto a day’s webpage?

May I suggest, that we begin to apply the intellectual, impersonal, and cathartic search engine to our daily mindfulness? To begin, could we lay out all of our thoughts, emotions, desires, tasks, and priorities onto paper? Then, carefully erase the scandalous (worries, fears, negativity) and highlight the significant: Which emotion do you want to define today? What can you learn from your thoughts/experiences today? Which tasks will build your character and history? Is there anything on your list that you know you would want to remember in a year or two – anything that you really wont care for later? Do you need to be impersonal, and let someone else feature?

Being strict with our attitudes, priorities, and experiences is not wrong. When we learn to cherish everything on our webpage/notepad, but not hoard all of it, we can live more effectively. Challenge yourself to be cathartic about your present – not just your past!

What is significant about today? What will you be deleting? What’s number one on today’s list?

Eleanor ♥

Why “Down Periods” Really Should Be Labelled “Up.”

Sometimes, life simply slumps, and takes a pause; whether you want to or not, things just seam to go slowly. Perhaps you discover yourself amongst a challenging situation, end up in unplanned rest, or simply just struggle to process things. Often, at this stage it’s easy to label it as a “down period,” but why do we do this? Do we not realise that these times are indeed very positive?

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Three weeks ago, I finished my AS level exams, and since then my body has been on shut down. My mind has struggled to think creatively, my emotions have been all over the place, and I’ve slept like a log… During this, it’s proved difficult to create the content that I usually create (even now I write this at a much slower pace) and to be as pro-active as usual. Again, extrovert has screamed introvert, and I’ve had no option but to simply pause…

Sometimes, just sometimes, the fast pace world can exhaust our lives, without us realising. We question: why do I feel like this? Why isn’t everything working out? What’s wrong with me?

The truth is, that when we feel like this, our body is taking a holiday for us. When bad things come around, and we find ourselves caught in the middle of it, not knowing where to turn, it’s a gracious sign – limbo. Just stand, in the middle of it, neither turning to the right nor the left. Use this time to reflect, to be good to yourself, and to separate yourself from all that’s pulling your strings…

Recently, I’ve found myself caught in the middle of it all – people, decisions, and achievements… All in the blink of an eye, I found myself hibernating, talking myself out of things, and simply just pausing. Do I view this as a downfall? A weakness? Of course not: in the past few weeks, I’ve been so, so good to myself! Although I may have been caught up in a lot of things, unable to make decisions, this pausing has allowed me to grow.

That’s the thing about trial – we may want out of it, but what if we just sat in it? What if we waited to see how it would grow us for the better?

In the past few weeks, I’ve also found myself surrounded by the support of friends; people have prayed for me, talked to me, and mostly just let me know that it’s okay to not know how I feel about certain situations. Boy have I grown – so much so that I’m actually quite proud of myself for the decisions that I have made!

Whether friendships, future decisions, exams, tiredness, or health (the list goes on), it’s okay to want to shut out the world! It’s okay to go on a mind-vacation. As you go slow pace, you’ll discover a lot of things – the positives will come through!

With decisions made, college over for the year, and body recovered, I cannot wait to see where Summer leads! With a happy heart I encourage you all to go take some “me-time,” have a vacation, and stop rushing around!

Eleanor ♥

Six Months | Grace Cherish Go

With June almost over, and a missed month of May, there’s a heck of a lot to catch up on! Where has Grace Cherish Go seen us, and where else will it lead? Not only have I been crazily busy making memories myself, but I’ve been overwhelmed (in a good way) by new connections, the growth of “Go,” and the renewal of Grace…

Grace: At the half way mark, I am thankful to say that in my individual life, this Grace goal (daily stress relief) has been achieved, and is now a compulsory part of my day. Investing time in myself, in the quiet, and switching off has not only brought self-grace, but built my confidence, and softened my heart towards others. By sparing time for myself, I’ve been more productive, more pro-active, and discovered a greater understanding for all those around me. The grace aspect of this year’s project has been a silent one – something that often occurs in the background. However, it’s thriving, and its great to see so many follow in seeking rest, gaining encouragement, and simply pausing in the present! Let’s keep going!

Cherish: This year has been full of personal memories! Some highlights would be speaking at youth events, attending family parties, and lots of travel! I have put together this quick video for those of you who want to see what I’ve been up to!

Go – when I first set out to include more mission work in my life, I never realised how great this would look! Initially, we set out together as a community, with small little RAOK’s in mind, along with the odd conversation… How much more God had in store! In fact, so much so that last month I didn’t even get chance to sit down and write our regular GCG review! What I hoped would be an online project, has accelerated into a present, real world community! I’ve seen God work through this goal, granting me the opportunity to attend the Insight Event, and grow Distinctivemode as a community; I’ve been involved in setting up a college Christian Union, that’s now looking at organising a retreat for student families; found myself attending baptisms after baptisms; and altogether just building relationships with others! If there’s one thing I’d encourage us all to do this July, it would be to strike up new friendships, encourage old ones, and take all the opportunities that come our way!

So that’s us where we are now! I continue to run towards this year of Grace Cherish Go, and encourage all of you to start having Grace for yourself, Cherishing memories with gratitude, and Going out with encouragement!

Eleanor ♥

An Uphill Sprint

6am Wednesday comes, I stir at my alarm clock, and before I’ve even come to my senses, I’m kitted out, hydrated and out the door. Running, breathing, reaching…

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To some, rising one hour early to run a 5.5k route sounds like their worst nightmare but for me, there’s nothing greater. Running is my rhythm; one year after starting out, I can’t imagine life without it. I run Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays – whatever the weather. I need not force myself for I know how great it makes me feel.

Once adrenaline kick starts, your body awakens, and your posture becomes focused, running becomes entirely about mindset. Wednesday 6am routes are my favourite – the neighbourhood is mine. Yet it’s also the hardest…

50% of the trail is uphill, and this takes a powerful mindset. I can either choose to dwell upon the strain in my muscles and quit early by pausing to “stretch,” or I can drive, watch the sunrise, and thank God for the 6am wonders of this world: the birdsong, fresh dew, deserted nature trails, and even the odd pheasant. I don’t even live in the country side!

When you choose to persevere, and fall into the rhythm of a small world, it’s amazing just how much you can conquer. When we are faced with an uphill sprint (that perhaps does make us pant) we have a choice: quit early, or pace it with the sunrise. Go slow, and watch the light of the situation unveil…

In the same way, when we eventually reach the home front, we are able to stand alive, energised and full of life – yes perhaps a little sweaty, but never left feeling defeated nor deflated. Perhaps our legs will ache a little – but this only reminds us of how much we have accomplished. We stand, ready for breakfast, and ready to refuel.

When life reaches 6am Wednesday, we have a choice to make. Focus on the hill climb, or run at it, as you revel in the small delights of sunrise. Feel deflated or know what it’s like to feel alive.

Persevere: focus on the blessings in life, knowing that this precious moment only comes around once a week. Overcome your challenges in order to delight in the sunrise!

What’s your 6am Wednesday challenge?

Eleanor ♥

How to Fail at Failing

Failure – something that today’s culture will often hear. Yes, we may be living in a new generation, of high-percentage university graduation events, and climbing technology but in reality, we still find failures. Weakness. Suffering. And recently, I found myself discovering this important truth…

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A few weeks ago, I failed my driving theory exam – I had never, in my whole life, failed anything before. In fact it still really shames me to talk about it. In my head, it’s something easy to pass, which makes you a complete moron to fail. I’m a little bit frustrated too – I managed to pass all the mock tests that I did! I walked out of that room so angry with myself, that I was silenced…

I wanted to hold onto that silence longer than time would allow, because within 10 minutes I’d told my Dad and was on my way back to college for the best Monday of my life – not. I had the worst day ever. I was tired, still frustrated, confused, and ultimately so upset that I no longer held a track record, of never having failed.

Now I look back, I completely failed at failing. I still do – in fact I’m kind of worried that I’ll fail again next time. It’s as if there’s a mental barrier against all hazard perception videos that exist. Even though I know I can do it, the surprise of failure has knocked me a little bit. It’s put me down in fear.

You see, if we take failure as the end of the world, we will continue to fail. If we revel in our mistakes, we will become so overwhelmed that we no longer remember the truth. I realise this now. Everyone has to fail something. It’s just one of those things. I definitely need to learn how to fail. How to laugh about it, so much that it becomes a joke. I need to learn how to have grace upon myself, at times when I really do need it – amongst my mistakes not around.

My Dad told me, “Well, you’ve got to fail something – it’s not the end of the world. Take it again.” My friend told me, “It’s harder than you think – a lot of people fail first time,” and another said, “Don’t worry about it.”

I initially refused to let any of these words sink in… I was stubborn and I still wanted to be that high achiever – but the thing is, I still am! Perhaps, I will have to try again, and perhaps yes it is a little frustrating but if we learn to slowly accept failure, admit our weaknesses, and persevere, then failure is such a great experience. I’m slowly learning to trust that fact. And I’ve booked my test again…

Be prepared to fail, try not to be frustrated and surround yourself in the graceful words of others. Oh, and pray for my next attempt if you please!

Eleanor ♥

Hello 2016!

It’s a new year, and time for action – New Year is such a great opportunity to reassess life, look towards adventures and reflect upon some great memories. This week, I’ve been preparing for New Year, discovering the things in my life that I want to change, and dreaming about where I want to direct my strengths…

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In some ways, I want to hold onto 2015 – it’s been such a great year. I’ve found it near enough, 100% positive, and accomplished so many things: I’ve attended Spring Harvest (travelling alone for the first time), had the blog featured on YFC’s website, completed my GCSE’s, had the longest summer ever (with so many great travel opportunities), transitioned into a-level studies, shared some brilliant moments with friends, been asked to be Bridesmaid…. There are so many things to talk about – not to mention the fact that God has placed a missions gap year on my heart for 2017! Its fair to say, that when I sat here, writing this last year, saying that “2015 was going to be my year,” I most definitely was right!

However, although my heart yearns for a little bit longer, it’s time to move on and await the many adventures that God will lead me on – even if I don’t really know what they are yet! Last year, I set out to “Give, Save, and Love,” which involved a monthly project, to use my creativity and strengths to give to my community, and to others. As well as this, I aimed to start saving money, and spread love in a world of hate and judgement. I feel that the Give and Love aspect was one of the greatest things this year, and I began to see some of you viewers getting involved also! How great is this? That as a community we can share love, especially amongst the sad times of 2015, including the Paris attacks.

What about 2016? This year my three aims focus upon Grace, Cherish and Go.

Grace. As I began to reflect upon 2015, I realised that over the past 3 months, I’ve been struggling with stress – that’s the thing, you never really notice until you take a break. I guess this next year will be one of the hardest yet – everyone I know has admitted to me that A-levels are extremely difficult, but you just have to keep positive, dedicate yourself to the studies, and give everything you have to the future. One day, these efforts will benefit not just your life, but the lives of others. However, it’s still so important to rest in grace – I experienced my first burn out this month, and it’s time for a reality check. God calls us to take one day at a time, rest in His grace and not worry about the “what if’s.” And so this 2016, I’m determined to do something everyday as stress relief – to find a 5 minute pocket (or longer) to just break, whether it’s seeking God in prayer, journalling, napping, or buying a colouring book and creating art without the pressure of design work! It will be hard, on days when I just want to secure myself with an extra workload, or perhaps just want to climb into bed instead… But I know that it will be worth it. I’m not afraid to accept that I’m living in a stressful period. After all, we’re only human.

Cherish. This aspect of 2016 is something that I’ve dreamt of doing for the past 3 months. As a photography lover, I find myself taking hundreds of photographs, and because of this, they always seem to disappear from my mind! I never get the chance to look back on the memories behind them! Also, finding time to carry out a shoot is proving to be more difficult and so I’m running out of good, precious captured moments. This year, I’m going to take one photo everyday, to mark a memory or moment – I’m going to build up a great photo album, that I can look back on. So that I can cherish memories away from screens and social media, and be more creative! If you follow me on Instagram, I’ll be posting the highlights, but many, I plan to hold onto myself – to not become overly consumed by publishing.

Go. Recently, God has been placing missions on my heart – the kind of home town missions, that involved going into the lives of those around me; by inviting people to church, practically sharing love in order to start conversations, and being a living encouragement. These things could be caring for those who serve – taking missionaries/church leaders for coffee. Or perhaps praying for people in their situations; asking God to send me out. I have no idea where this will lead at all but I plan to share the journey with you – I want to encourage you readers, whether Christians or not, to do something regularly, throughout the year, to show love. To go, and act. Just do something!

And so I look towards 2016, and all the memories it will bring – may you have a blessed new year and continue to come along with me, as we strive towards “Grace, Cherish and Go.”

Have grace on yourself, cherish memories, and go out sharing love.

Eleanor ♥

 

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