Remember a distant post back in 2015? In a post called, The Fear Excitement of Adventure I discussed how my future plans and ambitions were beginning to change. At this point in my life, my childhood view of how my life would pan out was rapidly changing – I no longer knew what I wanted to do with my life…
Although this was a rather positive post and for most of this period I viewed it as a wonderful adventure, trying new things, enjoying great memories and exploring options, there was always something in the back of my mind that said, “Eleanor you need a plan.” Often it was something along the lines of, “don’t waste your life – do something worthwhile!”
I guess my self-pressure to become successful has always been a wonderful thing: I rarely say no to opportunities, I enjoy learning new things and have been able to cherish valuable life experiences. However my definition of success has changed incredibly! There was a time when I thought that being successful meant passing all of my exams, climbing a career ladder, being awarded an OBE (very unlikely but who knows, maybe one day) and simply being admired. In a way, success does still mean this. However the difference, is that all of these things are a result of success and not success in themselves…
I guess what I am trying to say is that some of the most successful people in life are incredibly humble and only do what they do because it makes them happy! They didn’t necessarily do it to be recognised nor did they imagine what they would accomplish previous to doing so.
As I’ve grown older (and I hope a little wiser) I have come to realise that happiness is key! Yes I still strive to take part in as many things as I can. Yes I still study incredibly hard for exams. Yes I still want to go to university. But only because I enjoy learning new things and am passionate about new experiences!
I now have a plan for the next few years of my life and funnily enough I will be going to university after all. However no longer will I be studying art – from now on it’s architecture and I am definitely looking forward to it! Despite this, I know to that going straight to university will not be the most successful step for me. In my opinion, as a young person with no responsibilities or career strings, there is no time like today – I want to see the world, gain experience and also make a positive contribution. I have spent 18 years being showered with love, education and other blessings. It’s time I gave something back.
September will bring another type of success as I embark on a gap year to India, taking part in mission work with BMS World Mission Action Teams. There I will grow as an individual whilst making a positive contribution to the world. Perhaps it does mean postponing my future career by a year – but how much more valuable will this year of personal growth and culture be?!
Success is yours – do with it as you wish!
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.
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?
P.S sorry for any missed posts but as you can see, February is out to get me.
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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?
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.
With 2017 comes a fresh start, renewed goals and exciting opportunities. Where are we heading this year?
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?
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Recently, as a response to my “This Christmas, Knock” post, one of the questions raised was, “why are Christians against gay rights?” Unfortunately, this was submitted anonymously, and no email was left so I couldn’t get back to whoever it was! However, this question challenged me and really got me thinking. I really hope that whoever asked this is currently reading – after some thought I hope I can answer this for you.
Firstly, the question is, are Christians actually against homosexuality?
As followers of Christ, the word made flesh, we live our lives to please God. Part of this, means studying the bible and applying it’s truth to our lives – not to gain righteousness, but to find out more about who God is. We follow the laws within it because we believe that God is much wiser than us and He knows what is best for us. By following, we live our life to the fullest!
The bible is split into the Old Testament and the New. The old lays out hundreds and hundreds of laws (many that will never be lived out today eg: don’t wear clothes of wool and linen woven together Deuteronomy 22:11 – there’s no way I’ll be hunting down rare 100% wool jumpers any time soon!) as well as telling us of life before Jesus. The world was a mess and still is. The old testament shows us just how far the world is from the beauty that God intended it to be.
The Old Testament shows us the need for a New Testament. In the New Testament, Jesus comes, dies and raises to life in order to overcome death and bring grace. This grace allows all who believe in Christ (even just the tiniest bit – Matthew 17:20) to be presented as holy and free from sin! Jesus cancels everything and restores the beauty within us, so that the world may one day be beautiful again!
How does this relate to such a big question in today’s society?
In the bible, we can read the metaphorical image of creation that shows us that God created the world and He intended for men and women to be together – it’s mother nature and how the life cycle works. However, as Adam and Eve ate from the fruit tree, sin entered the world and this picture was distorted. As a result, our world has now become full of sin. However this, “sin,” doesn’t just refer to wrong doing such as, murder, theft and dishonesty. Sin simply refers to anything that separates us from a relationship with God or is separate from God’s original intention for this world.
Therefore, in my opinion, being gay would not class you as a “murderer” when we evaluate the seriousness of the issue. However regardless of the seriousness, since we know that Jesus came to bring equality, we know that in reality nobody is perfect and it doesn’t matter what your “sin” is, because we can all be reconciled to God! Jesus is victorious and He reigns for eternity – we have been wiped clean.
I guess the point I’m trying to make is that God loves everybody unconditionally. It doesn’t matter whether you believe in God or not, whether you’re gay or straight, whether you’ve murdered somebody or been one to stir gossip. As Christians, we believe that we are no longer slaves to laws, but slaves to love and grace! We are free to be who we are, as we walk hand in hand with God!
Therefore, although Christians at times have been presented to be against gay rights, I personally am not. I’d also point out that there are many churches that support gay people, welcome them and love them. I also know Christians who are gay – the LGBT christian community is huge! Whether Christians continue to practise homosexuality however is between them and God, for we must not judge another person’s walk with God – first remove the plank from your own eye so you may see clearly enough to remove the speck from your brother’s eye (Matthew 7:5).
Christ came and died for everyone. Therefore, everyone has the same rights! It saddens me to think that being gay suddenly creates a divide between one and the church – in reality, (Romans 8:38-39) nothing can separate you from the love of God! In my personal opinion, churches that do not support gay people need to reassess their values – yes in the bible, being gay is wrong however no one is perfect and everyone needs grace in some way! We should not allow personal difference, or such an issue take our eyes off whats important: Christ on the cross!
So in answer to your question, I would say that Christians are not against gay rights. There are many things in this world that are “wrong.” But Christ has already put all of this to death on the cross. Now, we are living in Christ’s kingdom! Even if some Christians struggle with this approach, it demonstrates the need for God! Christians don’t know or understand everything – they need God as much as you do! Sometimes we just have to accept in our hearts that opinions will differ, whilst remembering that we all are equal in God’s eyes!
I hope this answers your question and you find what you are looking for. God loves you. He wants to reveal himself to you and take you on an amazing adventure! Will you let him? Run to him with this issue – have faith, and he’ll change your life!
P.S – please do not hesitate to comment below with any further questions relating to this issue, or any other burning questions you have. If wanting them to be confidential, feel free to send them via the contact page, but please leave an email so that the system can get back to you!
What are you thankful for? Go on, what is it? Perhaps (like I) you’re frozen, and find yourself repeating the same knowledgeable answers: food, water, a home… It’s as if we know that we ought to be thankful, even when we don’t feel like it…
Having an attitude of gratitude is so important – it’s a love language to God! As we learn to appreciate and give praise to God for the small things in life, we allow ourselves to truly appreciate and cherish blessings. Rapidly, our perspective changes for the better!
As humans, we suck at gratitude! It’s so easy to find ourselves complaining about things. We wake up, look outside, and it’s raining: How miserable! We walk downstairs and find that there’s no milk left in the fridge: why is today such a bad day? Then the car breaks down: I haven’t got the time, nor the effort to walk today! It all comes crashing down…
But what if, as Christians, we started to look with Christ’s eyes – to truly see how God sees. It’s written all over the book of Psalms: when David was experiencing his greatest times of trial, he still chose to praise God! “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again–my Savior and my God!” Psalm 43:5.
When you wake up and it’s raining: thank you God for blessing us with water! When the milk runs out: God thank you that I am able to grab food from the fridge, and find all that I need at a local store! When the car breaks down: God I praise you for giving me legs, for I know that there are others less fortunate…
Don’t you see? Having gratitude in all situations is incredibly powerful! It completely changes the way we live – wouldn’t it be great if everybody was able to encounter God’s rich blessings in the face of trial? It all starts with gratitude!
This week, God had been challenging me with gratitude. Each day I use to get to the “thank you” part of prayer, and loose focus after mumbling something about, “food, home, family…” I wasn’t actively thankful. However, I’ve been challenged to write down 3 different things to be thankful for each day, and to then pray over them at the end of the week. I’ve also been challenged to start thanking people in my life, for the small things they do – what a great way to encourage others, and praise God at the same time!
One particular change in me this week, relates to an attitude of gratitude surrounding food. I eat a lot (and I mean a lot) of food, and although I do eat healthily, planning meals, and good food have become a huge focus. So much so, that I’m constantly distracted by “what shall I eat later?” and when I do eventually sit down to eat, I eat so quickly that I forget to appreciate it. I’ve been subconsciously looking for satisfaction in food – without having gratitude.
For a while, I have been thinking about changing to a vegetarian diet for reasons including health, cooking interest, and preference. However, the fear of “missing out on the meat-meals I love the most” has been holding me back. Therefore, when I came to realise just how much I needed to refocus upon gratitude, I impulse scrawled on the shopping list: ELEANOR IS GOING VEGETARIAN!
Even now, I cringe at the though of joining some “save the animals” cult – in no way at all am I doing this for the sake of a chicken! But at day 3, I’m battling the struggle, and turning to thankfulness. When I open the fridge door, and spot the ingredients for my dad’s speciality chicken and chorizo paella (my favourite) I force out a, “Lord thank you for granting a Father who cooks so well.” I then remind myself of those in the 3rd world who perhaps, have never eaten a single piece of meat, and question: who am I to deserve such a rich diet more than they do?
I will most likely return to meat in the future, and occasionally indulge with a very thankful heart, but for the next few weeks (or months depending on how I find it), it’s time to cherish this new cooking experience! As we continue with our year of Grace Cherish Go, it’s time to put our faith into action – by stepping up to the challenge of cherishing the small, in our daily lives, for others to see.
Thank you God for vegetables!
What are you thankful for?
P.s. Today’s photograph was taken by Anthony Melendrez – check out his photography here!
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…
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?
We can really fail at honesty, can’t we? Perhaps we don’t lie too often, however, we can find ourselves avoiding controversial topics, or situations that should be addressed…
Honesty doesn’t just speak of truthful answers, but also the courage that comes with voice. Sometimes honesty calls us to be open – even when no one is calling. It calls us to be truthful, and participate in honesty…
2 Timothy 2:15 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”
In relation to family, I’ve always been one to breeze past certain situations, and avoid bringing them into conversation – I feel awkward and uncomfortable, and I also fear the outcome. This discomfort is particularly present whenever decisions are dependent.
Until recently, I’ve always kept a lot to myself – but God began to change my heart. When faced with a tough decision, that could have potentially caused a few friendship issues, I was reluctant to get honest. The more I prayed, the more that God humbled me to speak out. He called me to ask my Mum for advice, and enlighten her… I feared what she would say and I felt incredibly awkward…
I’d much rather have fended for myself.
However, once I left my comfort zone and embraced the truth, I found myself falling into freedom. I gained advice, deepened my relationship with my Mum, and no longer feared the outcome of either decision. In that precious moment, the truth and love of Christ came and rested upon me.
Getting honest when uninvited is uncomfortable – but God’s shown me that it’s important. It’s freeing. It allows me to speak against fear. Honesty isn’t just about saving ourselves when questions are thrown, but also, having enough courage and grace to share experiences, feelings, and thoughts without a second motive.
When we grow in truth, we also grow in the love of Christ, and the knowledge of His grace.
Start speaking out, get honest, and don’t just wait to be invited!
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?
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!
The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you! It’s a treasure, a wonderful mystery, and it’s been planted in your heart. God has chosen to reveal himself to all of you and that is such an honour.
Often, the word of God, to those who perhaps don’t have a faith yet, or haven’t encountered God, can sound like a myth. As one who has never known a day without Jesus, this is bizarre to me – How can anyone survive happily without knowing an all loving God, who brings peace amongst fear, and love amongst hate? Our generation is missing the mark – so many people lack understanding when it comes to who God really is, over the mythical religion that He’s stereotyped to rule.
As one with a small seed, whether by having read a single blog post, or having walked with God your whole life, how does this make you feel?
God has planted a seed within us and he has chosen to reveal his love, and his truth to us so that we may live differently in our generation – so we may be set apart in love for others to see. So we may show our understanding.
But if we don’t understand God’s word ourselves, how can we do this? We will never fully know everything there is to know about God (He’s God!) but it’s so important that we realise the importance of growth, the blessings of Christ, and significance of building our understanding. Firstly, we are to see how grounding is so very important.
There are 4 different types of Christians:
- Those who hear God but never grasp the truth – perhaps they read things on line, sit in church, or pray to someone somewhere, but Satan stands in the middle, snatching the word and preventing heart change. Often, this is simply a barrier – an addiction, habit, idol, fear, relationship, worry…. It stands between the word of God, and transformation. The question is: Are you going to let that stand in the way of a life-changing encounter? Take it from me and all the other believers in this world – you’re missing out! Will you let it remain, or will you sort it out? If this is you please use the prayer request form on this site or talk with someone you know.
- Those who get very excited about God, but in all their joy, forget to build foundations – Perhaps, they go to Christian events, see miracles, or listen to a new worship song, and experience a mountain-top moment. But then they never actually respond/apply the word to their lives when they get home. When the “buzz” of new faith begins to fade, they forget all the joy it gave them. Perhaps they get “pumped” about God, but then later feel as though the “boring” going to church, and reading the bible bits aren’t for them… But it’s these fundamental things that root his word within us daily, to strengthen us and take us on adventures with God. Let me tell you – church, and bible reading is far from mundane! Get stuck in and be beautifully transformed! Learn to praise God in the everyday – if your light is distinguished by the first shadow, you can’t be a beacon!
- Those who become consumed by worry and the deceitfulness of wealth – so much so, that it chokes them. For a while (as you all know) I became very worried and consumed about my future, chasing academia and wealth. The worries became a cramp in my head – I thought I was giving it to God, but in reality, my vision was blurred. What I thought was listening and waiting was more like, “yeah that seams OK.” It wasn’t until I got on my knees and gave away my worries, that the word of God was revealed in me. If we are choked by worries, we can’t encounter God, until we admit that struggle. Are you worried about something? Get on your knees and pray to God – use the prayer request form! Perhaps, we will have to sacrifice a few things – but it’s worth it!
- Finally, those with a strong faith, who walk with God for the rest of their lives. We all, can be like this – if we hear God’s word (ensuring we let nothing stand in the way – 1.3.), accept it truthfully, and be committed (2.), we will be successful with Christ. We will produce a crop. The seed of God, planted within us will flourish, as we live prayerfully, listen to what God wants of us, and fix our eyes on that. It’s not easy – perhaps we may have to give up wealth, a relationship, or a dream, but as we do this, God equips us. He goes with us and fulfils his plan for our lives. Which is greater than any dream that doesn’t come true!
What’s your grounding? Is anything preventing the word of God from transforming your life?