Sunday, December 29

Cracking Xmas - In Search of Stars - Stargazers




Ok time for the rest of my readers to have a post addressed to them. I have already done a post for the Christian readers but this one is for those of you who are interested in understanding more about Christianity but you don't want a one sided  approach to the topic.

Firstly to get this started, I am a Christian, but that doesn't mean I have to write a post that is designed to get you to convert so before I even start let me explain why I am doing this. 

I believe that faith is only real when you have found it for yourself. No one can push faith on anyone else, no one can convert anyone no matter what tactics it just doesn't work. If you decide to come to decide Christianity is for you, then I want you to be able to do so knowing that it was your choice no one pushed you into it or scared you into it or the like. I know I have people reading this that have no interest in choosing Christianity as a walk of life but you are interested in knowing more about Christianity in terms of what Christians actually believe and the way in which we think. Some people just genuinely have an interest in understanding other people from all walks of life, some of those people sent me messages asking for this post so here it is. 

Side note, I am very interested in making posts that my readers actually want to read, I will interact with tweets, messages, comments and the questions of my readers to the best of my ability because I want everyone who reads my blog to know they are valued. 

Anyway, getting back on topic






So you want to know about Christianity? 

Well the first thing you need to understand is that you can learn about Christianity regardless of your life choices and views and most of us will actually be more then happy to answer your questions with a fairly open mind and without judging you. It is only the minority of quite frankly religious nuts that let down the rest of us. 

Second thing to know, we are human too. Although are way of doing things may seem strange to you as may are thoughts and convictions, we all have our own minds. Christianity has many different groups within the church structure, all of which have different interpretations and ways of expressing their faith. We all have a very basic foundation in common though which is made up of 3 things.

We all believe in God 
We all have our own way of expressing worship for God and/or serving Him.
We all believe in Jesus as the son of God and that he died on the cross for our sins so we can be reconciled to God. Most of us believe Jesus is now alive, but some groups do not. 

Christianity is like other religions in that all religions have their own practices and ways of living and basic moral framework.

Christianity is not like in other religions in that Christianity is the only religion that believes in only one God and that this God is alive today. The religion of Christianity is dead without the living person of Jesus Christ who we believe we have a relationship with, which sounds strange I know but its about faith. 

Regardless of your faith there is no way of proving faith. You either believe or you don't. Even if there is all the evidence in the world, if someone chooses not to believe in something then they just won't. So faith is a choice and it is the choice to believe in Jesus and the choice to have faith in Christianity aswell as the Christ of the Christianity that is what this life style is about. 

We believe God is a God of love and He loves you. However, if you don't believe in Him that statement will mean nothing to you which is why I am stating it is what we believe not what is the case. 

Many intellectuals were/are also Christian.

Intellect and logic can work with Christianity but it is not something that can be explained only experienced, which is where faith comes in and may seem like the biggest cop out ever, but that really is how it works.

Christianity is about hope, faith love and peace but it is certainly not by any means an easy life choice. 

Throughout history Christians have been persecuted and there is still persecution going on today, although in most cases it is in a far more subtle form. 

The reason that we put up with that though is because we  believe what we experience and have with Jesus in the picture is so amazing that it is worth it no matter what. 

On the flip side of this, we do also believe in the devil, we believe in a spirit world and that there is a war going on.

 I know I am being very brief here but all I aim to do in this post is give you some thoughts to help you get started/continue on your quest to find out more about this religion/faith. If you want to know more about the dark side though, you can find that in my devils tool box series on this blog. 

The bottom line of what we believe is that Jesus is the light that overcomes the darkness of this world, He is the star that leads you home.

At this point I am going to leave it there, although I have only scratched the surface. 

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have,

but until next time.

Take care,

Love Hayley 

xXx 



Cracking Xmas - In Search of Stars - Star Keepers



This post is a real treat for me. I don't think I've ever had a reason to just address my fellow brothers and sister in Christ. If you are reading this and you don't believe in it, then you are very welcome to stick around if you want but for this post I am going to address other believers in Jesus, just like myself. I do call non-believers " the world" in this post, I am sorry if that offends anyone it is not my intention, but I just really want to make this letter that I am about to write be as true to how many believers would speak to each other as possible. 




Dear brothers and sisters,

This is an open letter regarding the issue of relating to what we would call the world when it comes to talking about our faith and/or religion. There are a few things I would really like to bring to your attention, all of which I have learned from experience and are very much my own opinion and observations, but since the bible does say that we as believers are suppose to encourage each other in the faith, I feel justified in sharing my thoughts. 

Firstly, please understand that all of these observations come from a genuine desire to see the kingdom of God grow and a heart of humility and love, but also a genuine concern that so often, we as Christians tend to come across as crazy, heartless or completely miss-guided. As well meaning as we are, many of us fall in to some common traps when attempting to communicate our faith to others. This is very damaging as it usually causes people to write us off and the God we claim to stand for as complete rubbish. Sometimes guys, we just need to get out of the way and let God do the work, He is more then capable of reaching people if He chooses to, and while it is our mission to preach the gospel to all, we must remember that what we carry is very precious and we need to be careful with our conduct for sharing the gospel for it to be effective. 

Here are some common mistakes that we make, I know that I myself have made these mistakes in the past and so again, this comes from a heart that seeks to help further the gospel. I don't claim to know everything but this is what I have learned via life experiences. 

Mistake 1 - Pushing the message
As well meaning as we are, many times because of our frustration that so many of our loved ones, may well be heading to hell, we become self-appointed crusaders and may even make certain people are assignment to get them saved.  This may be done through badgering of  Christian material, questions, insisting the person comes to church with you or by telling the person that what they believe is wrong and treating them like they know nothing. Although it doesn't apply to all of us, the term "bible bashing" had to come from somewhere. 

The truth is, we can not convert anyone, it is only our job to share the gospel, if people wish to explore it, but pushing the message causes people to just put walls up and dismiss what we have to say. In other-words, by doing this, we are helping the devil with his mission and hurting the very God we serve. 

Mistake 2 - Using Christian Jargon. 
The world is not familiar  with allot of the terms we use when we talk to each other. The average non-believer will look at you like you are from another planet if you start to talk about "being saved" asking Jesus in to your heart" or "being born again" just to name a few. We need to try and speak in terms that the person you are speaking to will understand, however if you really must use typical Christian terminology, please explain it first in simple terms. 

Mistake 3 - Insisting Christianity is a relationship NOT a religion
To us, our relationship with Jesus is very precious and something we want to share with anyone who will listen because we know how amazing life with Jesus in the picture really is, so yes to us it is about relationship. However, the world views Christianity as a religion, partly because of history and partly because that is how it is portrayed by main-stream media, especially when you have people saying that they are a Christian and God hates X,Y,Z which always comes across as very law based and condemning. I know many Christians will not like what I am about to say, but guys we are apart of a religion, church is a religious institution especially in the many strains of denominations, tithing, communion, baptism, marriage and even prayer and fasting are all typical religious acts, some of which are practiced by other religions, not just us, to deny that when talking to the world, is only going to result in them thinking we are closed minded, ignorant  and arrogant. When you explain your relationship with Jesus, do it in the manner of explaining how it enhances those seemingly religious practices to be more about relationship and doing it because of love and walking with a living God as appose to trying to state you believe in God but you don't see yourself a religious. Many people do believe in God, even if they are not a Christian, but the real difference is knowing Christ. Please try to keep that your focus when addressing this issue. 

Mistake 4 - Getting into depth with social issues.
Paul warns about the dangers of getting into fruitless debates with the world. Remember they don't see any better because they have yet to have their eyes opened by Jesus. It is not their fault they don't know any better, the god of this world has blinded many. Politely direct the conversation in a different direction if you get these questions. Saying plainly not talking about that because the person won't understand will make that person think your calling them stupid. It would be better to say, that it's an interesting question but in order to answer that you need to explain the basics first, because the philosophy behind what we believe will not make the blind bit of sense to anyone if you don't first lay the foundations. There is a time and place for addressing these issues but if you don't feel confident that you can do it with a focus on grace and love and without coming across as condemning or judgmental then don't feel like you have to answer these questions. Remember you are only one of many sources this person may have found for finding out more about our faith it is often a team effort that gets people to the point where they decide to consider inviting Jesus into their lives for themselves and this team effort can be spread through the persons life. Don't feel like you have to do everything, just do your part. 

Mistake 5 - Being known by what we believe not who we are.
We as believer need to be known more for what we are for then what we are against. No one wants to listen to people that tell them that can't do this, that and the next thing. God is love, we are his Children so spread the love! 

Above all else, remember you  are a beacon and carry the light to the world in darkness, shine bright.

Take care & God bless

Love Hayley 

xXx






Cracking Xmas - Xmas Day Traditions



So yesterday did not go as planned at all. I know I said there would be one post yesterday and 3 today but that didn't quite work out. Basically I ended up spending allot longer doing research then I had originally intended and by the time that was done I was way too tired to actually log on to my laptop and start writing. You guys know I am all about quality over quantity so I wouldn't post so many posts in such a short time unless I truly felt it is worth while for both myself and my readers to do so.  

That said, I do still think the 4 posts plan are all of some value and so I will still be sticking the schedule, but the only change is there will be a slight difference in how I am going to get these posts up. There will be two more posts today but they are split one post is directed at a very specific type of people and the other is directed at the other kind of people as in this topic I will be discussing here, you really do fall in to one category or the other. Of-course you can read both posts if you want to but as I say the next two posts after this one will be a little different to my usual content. 


The Christmas day tradition I want to look at for this post is the tradition of the Nativity. Here in the U.K it's not uncommon for school children to do a nativity play at Xmas time, carol services by candle light are held at church's all around the country and many people remember Xmas time as the birth of Jesus Christ, light in to the darkness, the Saviour of the world. 


Now although I am a Christian, I am not going to stray into religion or faith at this point. If you are interested in knowing more about the Nativity, there are plenty of films, books and articles out there on the topic, not to mention it is in the bible, a quick internet search will bring up thousands of options. 

What I do want to look at for this post is the heart of the Nativity message which is very relateabale to everyone, from all walks of like and regardless of what you believe. 

That message is simply peace on earth, something that most of the world really wants and secondly good will to all. It is very much apart of human nature to want things to better in your own life and even in the world. We are wired to want to be happy, so therefore regardless of your views on faith and the like, this message is a good one for all of us. 

There is an even deeper meaning in all of this that is often missed and that is the idea of light into the darkness. That idea is something I want to explore in the next two posts but I am going to split it. 

The next few posts will be a mini series within this series. So kind of like a present within the present. The two things I aim to represent in life in general are there is always hope and the life of faith through grace instead of being ruled by often well meaning  but cold and empty religion. 

I am going to call this mini series  In search of Stars 

Here is the basic schedule of these 3 posts so you can decide if any which of them you want to come back to this blog for. 

1 In search of Stars - Star Keepers ( For Followers of Christ Jesus) 
2 In search of Stars - Stargazers ( For The readers that are asking questions for an unbies approach to understanding Christianity)  
3 In search of Stars - Star Dust - 10 common misconceptions about Christianity and resources to continue your search or faith walk ( For everyone) 

The idea of this mini series came from the fact I have readers messaging me with questions and I thought rather then just answer individuals, that this mini-series could help allot more people. 

Coming back to this post topic, I want to leave you with one thing,

Next time you see candle, the lights on a Christmas tree or walk through the glittering streets this season, just remember that those lights are but shadows of what this season is all about. 

The fact light always over comes the darkness. 

Love Hayley

xXx 


Saturday, December 28

2013 Updates.



I know the date says I wrote this back in 2013 but actually, its 2018 when I am writing this quick note. 

I did not insert any posts after July in 2013 because I have decided to use those posts for another project.

They don't fit the theme of what I am/was aiming to do here.

If and when those posts are published else where I will put a link here to let you know.

Take care guys!

Love Hayley

xXx

Friday, December 27

Cracking Xmas - Pre-Xmas Traditions



For the traditions part of this series I am going to stick to what I know, I am from the U.K so even if the tradition comes from another part of the world, I will only mention traditions held in my home land. Also I want to make a note of the fact for the readers that asked, all the art in this series and unless otherwise stated on the other posts on this blog, is original art work by Alex Bax. Links to his Deviant Art and YouTube account can be found in the art section of this blog. 

That said, lets have a look at typical western Pre- Xmas Traditions.



I am going to weave varies traditions in and out of this post but mostly I want to look at the one main tradition of Santa and how he relates to stockings.          

I am going to  vaguely highlight the other traditions mentioned and you can see the pictures but as I say, I want to focus on one main pre-Xmas tradition in this post.

There is legend that suggest that origin of the stocking involves St Nicolas himself. The story goes that there was one a poor man who had 3 very
beautiful daughters, he had no money to pay for the weddings of these girls should they ever wish to marry, and so he was worried about what
would happen to them after his death. St Nicolas happened to be passing through, when he heard of the poor mans situation he decided to find a way to help without the poor man and his daughters knowing. When dark of night came St Nicholas threw three bags of gold through an open window. The bags landed in a stocking and when the girls work up the next morning the old man and his daughters were very happy, their fate had been changed in one night.
There are variations of this tale, but this is the basic idea of it. 

When watching Xmas films over the last few days, I had an observation that I want o share with you.

Today the tradition of St Nicholas has developed into the idea that Santa  comes riding on a slay which is pulled by flying reindeer every Xmas Eve to give toys that he and his elves have been working on all year in Santa's workshop in the North Pole to the good little children of the world .
Children traditionally leave cookies and milk as a little thank you on the fire place and sometimes even a carrot for the reindeer. There is something else traditionally hanging on the fire place too though, a Stocking. 

My observation is this, what if that tradition of hanging a stocking at the fire place is a gift to Santa in its self?  What if seeing the stocking hanging there serves as a reminder of why he does what does year in year out?

Think about it, its allot of work and any human would get tired of well-doing after a while, maybe to Santa a Christmas stocking serves as a symbol of hope, the hope that he can make others as happy as he did those three girls and their father when he first got started. 

I know chances are allot of my readers don't believe in Santa anymore, but if you do or you know children that do then it would be a really lovely idea to use a stocking to teach them about hope. 

After all, hope is one of the best gifts anyone can ever give.

I hope you are all enjoying this season if you celebrate it,

Until the next time, take care,

Love Hayley 

xXx 


Cracking Xmas - Update and Thank you!!




I have decided to extend this series for the entire season of Xmas. In the U.K where I am from people don't go back to work properly or school until around the 6th of January so with that in mind, I am going to spread out this series to last that long. Still the same set up, 7 films, 7 traditions and 7 songs but also I want to throw in a few extras. 

I'm going to take a little break from the films and songs and spend a few days looking at traditions of Xmas. To ensure I stick to my schedule, I'm going to share it with my readers because I won't want to let you down and quite honestly, at the moment I am struggling to be consistent with my blog as I have insomnia and it really isn't helping me my creativity at all. Nevertheless, I want to be a woman of my word so this series must go on until it comes to a natural finish. 

Schedule


27th December - Pre-Xmas Traditions. 
28th December - Xmas Day Traditions 
29th December - More In-depth Reading Post 1, 2 & 3 ( Morning, Lunch time, Evening) 
30th December - Back to the Films/songs with Nightmare Before Christmas  V ___________?
 2nd January     - Final Film comparison post ( not sure which two I am going to do yet)
 3rd January     -  Food For Thought Friday - New Year Post Part 1 
 5th January     -   Final Thoughts - New Year Post 2 and Conclusion.

New Series will Start on 10th January 2014. 
I will also be tweaking this blog to make it more reader friendly and hopefully will be launching a Facebook page in the new year to give you another way to follow me should you wish to do so that way. 

So there you go guys, that is what you can expect from this blog for the next few weeks. If you have any questions or feedback feel free to contact me via any of my social network links which you will find on the right hand side of this blog. Also I want to include my readers in the content of next year's post topics and the like so if you have any suggestions, Twitter is the best place to let me know using the hash-tag #pandasandpens 

Before I wrap this post up, I do want to say a big thank you to all of my readers, where-ever you follow me. I am aware of how many of you there are and I am so grateful and feel blessed to have people listening to what I have to say. Numbers don't really matter much to me, but my readers certainly do so again thank you so much and please do feel free to message me or contact me if there is something you want to see on this blog in the future.

Untill next time, 

Take care love Hayley

xXx 




Sunday, December 22

Rise of the Guardians - Cracking Xmas

Rise of The Guardians ( 2012) 


An animation with Chris Pine, Alec Baldwin and Hugh Jackman, Rise of the Guardians follows the story of Jack Frost and the other guardians and how they deal with what is essentially  the boogie man
In this family friendly tale of adventure, we meet many interesting characters and learn a little more of what Christmas is all about.

What Stands out.

North asks Jack Frost as one part of the film what his center is revealing to us that his is wonder.
Since North is St Nick himself, its safe to get from this that what Santa stands for is wonder and joy but where does this wonder and joy come from? Finding that will be the next stage in our quest.

Song of the Post

The Christmas song ( Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, as it is commonly known) written in 1944 by  Mel  Torme' and Bob Wells.


In honer of Jack Frost it just had to be this old classic. It is played every Christmas and my personal favorite version is by Nat King Cole.


What these lyrics mean to me 

The song describes common happenings at Christmas, it shows allot of the wonder of Christmas and is a personal favorite of mine.

Conclusion 

Santa and the Christmas spirit seems to be about wonder, but what is this wonder? For that we will pay a visit to a Christmas favorite of mine by Tim Burton but that is for tomorrows post.

Till then take care,

Love Hayley

xXx

Miracle on 34th Street. V Elf - Cracking Xmas

Miracle on 34th St (1947) V Elf

Miracle on 34th St

Story line


  • Santa is in NYC and ends up being a store Santa for Macy's.
  • He meets Doris,who works in the store and her daughter Susan who doesn't believe in Santa.
  • Santa makes it his mission to help them believe, but like all good films there is a twist in the tale. 


What Stands Out

Santa is portrayed as jolly, helpful,caring and just a little bit odd but this film is clearly about keeping the spirit of Christmas alive.
there is a quot in the film that stands out too

" faith is believing in something even when common sense tells you not to" -

It seams believing in the Christmas spirit, whatever that is takes a little faith and an open mind.

It's worth remembering that as we continue are search for the meaning of Xmas.

Elf 



  • Will Ferrell plays a human adopted by Santa's elf's.
  • As he gets older he starts to realize he is different and eventually learns he is not an elf after all.
  • On learning this news, he also gets told where his living relative is and sets out on a journey to the human world to find this person.
  • The film is full of comedy as this over-grown elf learns to adapt in the human world but again, there are twists that make this film a fantastic choice for the whole family.


What Stands Out

We don't see much of Santa in this one, but again the Christmas spirit is very much tied up in what Santa stands for. The next logical step would be to find out exactly what Santa stands for as both these films only really hint at things and there is a much a more obvious choice to explain what Santa is all about.


Song of the post

It made sense to choose a song that was about Santa since the two films I just compared are in essence about his world.

Santa Clause is coming to town.
Originally written by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie in 1934

What the lyrics mean  to me 

This is a simple little song but its basic meaning is about being well-behaved so that Santa will see fit to give you what you want for Christmas. There is a hidden message in this song though, and to me that is the value of peace and quite and how good things can be when everyone gets along. 

Conclusion

Through both films and the song it seems that Santa is heavily associated with the Christmas Spirit  but what is exactly Santa stands for? If we find out that then we will find out what the Christmas Spirit is all about and be one step closer to finding the meaning of Christmas.

We will continue on our quest tomorrow but till then take care,

Love Hayley

xXx

Thursday, December 19

Why there is no post for the 18th - Cracking Xmas

I decided to kick off this series with a comparison of two films and then add thoughts on the song at the end,so for that reason, I am going to combine 18/19th posts together into one, which will be up on 19th Dec U.K time. Till then take care love hayley xxxx

Tuesday, December 10

Changes.

I really need to make a few changes on here, the Cracking Christmas Series is just not working. It is annoying and slightly embarrassing to admit that but still, I think apart of being an integrate blogger is admitting when you failed.

I have another idea to run with but first I need to do some changes and reconstruction work on my blog layout and the like, will put it back up and update you on the changes as soon as possible but for now take care and thank you so much for following me on here in the past. I hope you find the changes to your liking, if not then feel free to unfollow or whatever.

Take care

love Hayley

xXx

Sunday, December 1

Sheep! The Role of the Shepherd & Conclusion


In last weeks post, I said that the secret of the simple life is to trust the Shepherd, but how exactly can we know the shepherd can be trusted? Who is this Shepherd anyway?

In this post, I am going to answer both those questions and explain a little more of the role of the Shepherd.

Now, I know that some of my readers will think I am about to get all religious on you. While I am going to mention a higher power, I am also very aware that not all my readers even believe in such things and so I will keep it brief when we come to that part.

In order to answer these questions we first need to take a closer look at sheep and why we as humans need a shepherd just as much as they do.

Sheep have a tendency to wonder off. It's no secret they can be really stupid sometimes, but so can humans. We as humans, have a tendency to want to do our own thing, no one likes to be told what to do so the idea of appealing to a higher power, or a shepherd may seem like the most ridicules idea ever because we tend to think we are fine on our own and want to be in control of our own lives.




The truth is though, we were not designed that way. No matter what you believe in, it's not hard to accept we all need people, we all need relationships of different kinds and I would argue that one of those relationships should be with a higher power greater then yourself that has sight of the big picture and your best interest at heart. I believe that we are all designed with a hole in our lives, even if we have all the things that would indicate success if you are missing the most important relationship of all, a relationship with your Shepherd, then it will all feel rather empty. In contrast, if all you have is a relationship with your Savior , the shepherd of which I speak, everything else falls into place.

I can only really speak on my own personal experience. When we try to do things are own way we can end up hurt, broken, lost and confused. It is a completely human and normal thing to feel lonely even in a crowed of people, but when the Shepherd comes and picks you up and carries you to a safe place then that loneliness disappears.


I wanted to have a post on my blog that relates strongly to my faith in Jesus, but if you have followed me for a while you will know that I don't believe in forcing my views and I certainly don't believe in writing posts that are laden with religion! However, I do also have Christian readers and I myself am a Christian and I wanted that to be something I am open about, even if I don't mention it much.

So then going back to those first questions we started with what is the role of the shepherd?

To look after His sheep, meet their needs, not their greed and to guide the sheep in the direction that is best for them away from the wolves and other dangers that are lurk in wait of a silly little sheep that has strayed off and gotten lost. When a sheep does get lost, the shepherd will leave his flock and go in search of that one sheep. This is a biblical principle but Alice Cooper, Sylvester Sloane, Beyonce, Owl City, Skillet and Brian Welch, can all vouch for the truth in it.

Who is the Shepherd? 
I would say that best shepherd you can have is Jesus Christ, however there are lots of different shepherd figures in our lives and we all have them. Personal fitness coach, fashion guru's, medical professionals, Pastors, teachers or even your boss can be a Shepherd in some form .


It is said that whatever masters you is your God. Be it food, people or something else, just be careful who or what you make the Lord of your Life. Your "Shepherd" is leading you somewhere..are you happy with where you are going?

That concludes everything I wanted to say in this series.

Untill next time, take care

Love Hayley

xXx




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Sunday, November 24

Sheep! An Alternate Approach.

    Sheep design by Alex Bax & Hayley Esther 2013



I'm Welsh, and as such, I have heard allot of jokes and stereotypes about Welsh people and sheep. Usually stereotypes are a negative thing and the "Welsh sheep" stereotypes are no exception However it doesn't have to be. Don't get me wrong, I don't endorse labels, prejudice or racism of any kind. I believe we should treat everyone with an unconditional positive regard no matter what, but the fact is as horrible as they can be, people still label and stereotype other people. People even label themselves and more often then not, we can be are own worse enemies. Some people wear their labels with pride and turn those negative experiences into something positive and that is awesome! It those people that inspire me to write the first part of this post. You see one very common stereotype associated with the Welsh and sheep is that we are a simple people

In the age of technology, advances in science that previous generations could have only dreamed of and being smart is finally considered cool, (mostly) it's easy to understand why being called a simple people or bunch of sheep could be offensive however maybe being simple is not necessarily a bad thing. Before I go any further, I am not speaking on behalf of all Welsh people everywhere, how other people choose to handle stereotypes and labels is entirely up to them. This post is purely my opinion and since I knew that it would come up that I am a Welsh girl writing a series about sheep and there would inevitably be so much scope for the trolls to come out, I decided to hit this issue head on. I didn't choose to write about sheep because I am Welsh, I chose to write about sheep because I can see so many little lessons from them that I thought would make for a good series for this blog, most of which come from the Bible and have noting to do with my being Welsh but if I really must bring that into my blog, then I am going to attempt to reclaim that label of "simple sheep" from a positive perspective.

Usually I give no time to trolls, if they want to waste their time then that is up to them, but on this occasion, it all just fits in so perfectly with where I intend to go with this series anyway that it seemed like the perfect chance to bring a small element of my Welsh pride into my writing. 


On to this weeks Lesson from Sheep...

Sheep don't care what people think and they don't care about yesterday! 

Sheep only care about a few things but what other sheep think about how they what happened yesterday 
certainly doesn't come into it. Sheep live for the day, they just enjoy the lush green grass when they are out on the field and the protection of their Shepherd. Yes they are simple and yes they can be a little silly sometimes, but they don't care about that because all their needs are met by their shepherd.  

Making mistakes is apart of being human and we can all me just as silly as sheep sometimes. We stupidly care about what other people think, so we try to fit in with a certain group. We stupidly try to handle to much on our own and so we end up putting out health at risk. We stupidly try to fill that nagging in our souls with quick fixs, only to find that nothing works because we were all designed for a greater purpose. We stupidly refuse to forgive those that hurt us, and end up bitter and unable to move on from the past. We stupidly do allot of things, so we can be just as stupid as sheep, in that sense, all of humanity can be a bit like a silly sheep sometimes so lets be clear I am not advocating you be a stupid sheep I am only suggesting that maybe learning the lesson of simplicity from sheep may make your life a little easier. 

Let me explain, Sheep live the simple life. They get up, they eat, they play, they sleep and they have not a care in the world and all of this is made possible because they have faith in their shepherd. We will explore a little more of the role of the shepherd in a later post but for now, let me leave you with a few thoughts. 


Sooner or later you have to think about how your life style is impacting your health. Sheep don't care about how they look, there are no magazines telling a sheep how it should look. Don't let the Photoshoped images plastered across the media define how you feel about yourself. You are special because you are the only you there will ever be and that's an excellent reason to be exactly who you are.

Sooner or later you have to say to yourself yes I have a past who doesn't? Brush yourself down and move on from yesterday. Sheep do this simply by sleeping on it, tomorrow is a new day, make it count.

Sooner or later you have to decide what really matters? Working all the hours of the day or spending time with those you care about. Money isn't everything. Sheep don't have a bank account, yet they are happy to enjoy the sun. They don't worry about a thing, and that is really what I am getting at here. 

Ofcourse we have to work, we can't have it literally as easy as sheep but we can learn the lesson to let our worries float away when we close our eyes at night. For me that is really what the simple life is all about and the secret to being free from the stress and worry of the world is simple. Cast your cares on something bigger then yourself, in other words,

Trust the shepherd. 

Love Hayley 

xXx 





Thursday, November 14

Quick update..

I haven't been well as of late, still not. ( ah the joys of winter)  So I am sorry for the lack of quality posts on here as of late but I am doing my best to post as often as I can.

Firstly, just to let you know I've taken down the facebook page. I just wasn't happy with it, I rather have readers that actually care about my posts enough to follow me via bloglovin, twitter or this actual blog directly. I don't like spam, and that is how my facebook page felt so I got rid of it.

Not really much else to say but  hopefully there will be a new quality post up soon, but for now take care

Love Hayley

xXx


Monday, October 21

Update - Sheep Postponed.

Things really did not go to plan with getting the first Sheep post up. I am going to have to postpone this series because at the moment, life is kind of getting in the way. Truthfully I need to spend some time getting myself back on my feet, the devils tool box series was heavy and various other things in my life need to be sorted before I can be as dedicated to this blog as I would like to be. I have no set pattern for posts over the next few weeks. I think its going to just be a few random posts as and when I can. I will try to post once every two weeks at the very least. Sorry I can't do much about that right now and thanks for reading this and my previous posts.

Hopefully things should be back to normal and I should be back posting every week as normal soon, but in the mean time take care.

Love Hayley

Tuesday, October 15

Sheep!


Just a quick introduction....


This new series is all about sheep. I think there are allot of lessons we can learn from them. After the heaviness of the last topic, I wanted to do a series that is light and fluffy. I think it's good to have a balance between heavy topics and topics that just leave you encouraged  when they are done. We will be kicking off this series with the first part on Thursday. 

 Until then take care!

Love Hayley 

xXx

Friday, October 11

The Devils Tool Box - Parting Thoughts


 Although I could carry on with this series for another month, it feels like it's the right time to end it. However I couldn't end this series without first addressing a few key points.

Firstly, It is not always the devils fault when things go wrong. We need to take responsibility for our own actions. Sometimes all it takes for the devil to do is plant an idea in your mind and then you do a good enough job of getting yourself caught up in something without his help..or atleast I do. 

Secondly, there is always hope and if you put a little creativity and work into it, even if you have been caught by one of the devils tools, you can turn it around. Just forgive yourself, learn from it, brush yourself down and move on. I know it's easier said than done but it is possible. 

Finally, no man is an Island, community is important if you hope to withstand the attacks thrown at you via the tools mentioned and even tools not mentioned. 

I could expand on these points, but I'm not going to. I think this series needs a very direct clear ending. The video addressing the key points will likely be up at a later date but for now, lets say goodbye to this series and put a lid on the devils tool box.

Until next time,

Take care,

Love Hayley 

xXx

Tuesday, October 1

blogloving

<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/10870827/?claim=78cjh8mf35h">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

The Devils Tool Box Art Work

I only use art of people I actually trust .I think that it's a good practice to help people you know with their creative dreams as oppose to just buying pictures/music from big companies. Sometimes I do use my own work for art and music but for the most part I don't.
Feel free to check out Artist Profile Link

Thank you Alex for this, it's exactly what I envisioned for this series. 


Monday, September 23

The Devil's Tool Box - When The Tools Work Together Part 2


How I Got Free                                                                       


I don't think I would have ever gotten free if I hadn't gone on holiday for a few days. It was only when I was not able to have access to anything relating to end times or conspiracies because the people I was with would just not allow it and I had made a decision that I was miserable and surely the rest of the world won't mind if I take a break from this stuff for a while and have some fun. 

After I had been on holiday for a few days, my mind started to clear and finally my closest family and friends were able to talk to me about the damage the obsession was doing to me and causing and I actually listened.

Prior to this I wouldn't listen because one of the things you get taught in the " truth movement" is that people are blind and just want you to be like a dumb sheep just like them because they are too chicken and selfish to open their eyes. In actual fact, the arrogance in such a statement embodies the essence of the very thing that got the devil thrown out of heaven in the first place...pride the first tool to enter the tool box. 

Before looking at my tips for getting free, it's important that you understand that you have to make peace with the fact you will still have questions and that is a normal part of being a human being. We all have questions, but that is okay. Maybe some of what you have read or watched in regards to the end times is true, maybe it isn't. It doesn't really matter either way.  If you're serious about wanting to break free you have to be willing to accept and make peace with that. 

My Tips For Getting Free 

Disclaimer
The following  tips relate specifically to end time obsession but can apply to other types of obsession also. I am not a medical professional so I don't claim that these are anymore than personal opinion based on life experience. I still believe that if you feel it is necessary to get professional help then that is always the first cause of action. However my tips are more geared towards the average person that has just lost their way a little. 

1. Acknowledge - see it for what it is and acknowledge that you can't get free of this on your own, to yourself and God if you believe in Him.

2. Accountability - tell a trusted friend or family member what has been going on and ask for their help to break free and stay free. 

3. Apologise -  If it is possible to make peace with those you have hurt as a result of this in a safe way, do it. It requires eating humble pie but it will make you feel allot better, you will find out who your real friends are and especially if you're a Christian it's best to be a peacemaker. 

4. Amendment - Amend your day to day life to not include the end times obsession stuff but make sure you find something productive to replace it, a trusted friend would be a great help in working out what activities are best to add to your life for you personally. 

5. Avoid - Do not even think about praying, reading, watching or talking about anything to do with the end times or conspiracy for a while. You are on cold turkey for the sake of your health and future. For those of you thinking that you should pray about it. You are not the only person praying about the issues related to the end times, there are others who can carry that responsibility for a while and right now you need to get yourself ready so God can use you to do whatever it is he has in mind your life personally. Remember Jeremiah 29 V11 

6. Accept -This is most important, you need to accept that we all make mistakes and you can move on from this. Also, it would be an awesome idea to accept the grace of God which is more than sufficient for you. Don't guilt trip,but rather rest in the fact it's in the past and you got out and now good things are in your future. Better yet make Jesus the Lord and Saviour of your life and let Him teach you how to break free.

I know this has been a little different but I hope this helps others who like me were stuck. 

Until next time, 

Take it easy! 

Love Hayley 

xXx 

Sunday, September 22

The Devil's Tool Box - When The Tools Work Together Prt 1

                                                               

(This post may contain faith based content )
                         
Introduction 
I want to draw attention to this topic because I feel like it's a subject that often just gets brushed under the carpet. It's going to take eating allot of humble pie on my part, but I know I owe my readers and family and friends an explanation as to what has been driving me the past few months. This does link in with the devils tool box series brilliantly so I will give the bottom line and some tips in the next post but for this post, I'm just going to draw from experience here. I am going to talk about this from a faith viewpoint, because for me that is how I fell into this trap, but I know that principles and tactics can relate to a wide range of situations, not just end time obsession/ rapture fever.

My Story - How I got Caught by the Devils Tools 
I was privileged enough to attend a Christian school in my early teens. It was there that I got my first taste for this thing called "end times prophecy" I used to read allot in school,  I started to read books about end times prophecy because someone in school had introduced me to the left behind books by Tim Lahey and I wanted to know how much of the books were actually based on truth. Back then I did one thing differently that really did make the difference, I checked everything that claimed to be truth against the bible, if it didn't fit then I threw it out and moved on. I got over that phase pretty quickly and didn't pick up end times material again until a few months ago.

The big difference this time was that I had stopped checking things up against the bible on a regular basis because through one thing or another my relationship with God was distorted. I couldn't view Him as a loving father but rather a angry God with a big stick ready to hit me whenever I got out of line. Since I didn't believe God was looking after me, I decided I had to look after myself and since I am a deep thinker, I decided the best way to do that was to increase my knowledge. I was still a Christian but it was about going through the motions of religion and being locked in the cage of legalism.

Since I am a Christian I decided that listening to Christian speakers talk about world events and the like would be a good plan, but unfortunately for me the people I listened to were really wolves in sheeps clothing. One of these speakers mentioned this thing called the Illuminati and since I didn't know much about it I researched it.

Before I knew it I was in too deep, I was desperately trying to break free of this obsession, but  torn between feeling responsible for what I now knew and miserable because I was lost. I found myself falling deeper and deeper into the well of fear, oppression and addiction to knowledge.  I'm not even sure when it happened, but at some point I crossed over from looking at things that are in line with the bible to things that were completely crazy.  It's not just Christians that get obsessed with conspiracies, but people from every walk of life, even those who do not believe in God or a spirit realm at all. The Devil is brilliant at making the poison that is this obsession look like a sweet wrapped in whatever will catch you best. It is so incredibly subtle how it works.

It's a risk to post this on my blog, but as I say I feel this is something that shouldn't be just brushed aside because thousands of people fall prey to the tactics and tools every day. One of the devils favourite tools is taking the truth and twisting it, just a little so that he can inject it with his poison and entrap the mind heart and soul of the individual. 

Life Enslaved 
Once entrapped in end times obsession and/or  conspiracy you become like putty in the devils hands and the puppet master knows exactly how to make you dance to his tune, but think its all you. Now I am not the kind of person to look at mistakes in my life and say the devil made me do it, but in the case of getting trapped in end times obsession and conspiracy, he certainly is at the height of his game and doesn't need much help from you to get you stuck! 

For me personally when I become trapped, I stopped moving forward in my life (because what is the point in making a future if its all going to tragically end soon?) I became withdrawn, cutting myself off from the big scary world and under the advice of other people caught too, I even pushed away those things and people that meant the most to me. End times obsession like any other obsession or addiction can ruin your life!

I am not going to go any more into how it affected me personally but what I will say, is this has been the hardest learning curve I have ever encountered and if you are reading this and you're still stuck, get free a.s.a.p because if you don't you could die still stuck and the world will still be spinning on.

In the next post, I will share how I broke free and offer some tips for doing so,

Until then, take it care,

Love Hayley

xXx 



Saturday, September 21

Real Talk - Apology and Changes!

Over the past few weeks, I've had a fair few hard learning curves. Life teaches all of us what we need as and when we need it, it is then up to us what we do with the lesson and if we choose to internalize and act on it or not. If you have been reading my work for a while  then you will know that in the past my posts have been long and I have usually come from the viewpoint that I have something to teach you. Having taken some time away and reflecting on my older posts, I have decided I want to slightly change the direction of this blog and I want to change both those things. 

As you can see,  I have changed the presentation ( which is still under-construction) but that is not the only change needed. I want my blog to still be designed to be used as a personal development tool where possible, but rather than come across with the view point that I have all the answers, I am going to be real with you guys. I don't know everything! I have never intentionally wanted to come across like I think I do, but just to be clear if I have in the past given that impression I am sorry for that. 

From now on I am going to see this blog as an extension of myself. My personal development posts will be posted as and when I learn something new that I feel I want to share. If the subject matter interests you and you can gain something from it, great but if not then that is fine. If you disagree with me on anything that is fine, and I welcome constructive criticism. 

I have been through allot and so therefore I feel like I can offer encouragement and hope in some things and I couldn't forgive myself if I were to stop using my love for writing as a means to potentially help people. However the fact is, that no matter how helpful I think my tips gained from experience or resources I have found are, it's all just my opinion.


Also, I will continue to post faith based posts from time to time, I can't entirely leave my faith out of my blog because it is important to me , but they will be clearly marked. This is because, although I am a Christian I don't want to push my faith I think it's better to live it rather than try and force it on people, especially through my writing. 

Finally, I have realised my writing style is rather wordy so therefore when I finish a series, I am going to make a video just going over the key points of that series which will be both on my YouTube channel and at the end of each series on  this blog. I will also try to cut down my word count on my posts. I realise my readers time is precious and so I will try to get to the point as quickly as possible. 

Bottom Line 

The overall direction of this blog is going to be a little more simple and to the point from now on but with an injection of creativity and more regular posts. If that is something you feel you may be interested in, feel free to stick around.

Love Hayley 

xXx 

Saturday, August 24

The Devils Tool Box - The Hammer of Fear




The next tool the devil likes to use to distract us from moving forward in life is the hammer of fear. Fear can come in many different forms. It can come in the obvious form of worry,anxiety,paranoia or even the not so obvious little worries we get about the smaller things. I'm not going to say too much about this one because if I got in to this topic to deeply, I don't think I would know where to stop, So rather then going in to detail about how fear works and what we can do about it. I'm just going to state the 3 main lessons I have learnt about fear and then give a source list so that if you want to do further study you are aware of some of the resources available. Please note these lessons are about fear in negative sense.


I know that fear can still be good and even protect us sometimes, but I am talking about the unhelpful side of fear in these lessons.

 Lesson 1 - If you give Fear space to grow it will

Fear usually starts out as a thought in your head, the more you think on it the more it grows, before you know it a small worry has turned into something much bigger and in some cases, it can leave you paranoid and terrified, even sometimes for your very life.

 Lesson 2- The best way to get over your fear is to face it

Fear is a tricky one, if you don't deal with it then it holds power over you. There is that age old decision between fight or flight, and in most cases flight is the best option. If you are in danger then yes you should get out of that situation and in that regard, yes flight is the best option. However if your not in danger and the fear is of something else like for example, fear of being rejected for the job so you just don't try in the first place, then that is not helping you in the long run. The main fear that most people have to deal with is the fear of the unknown.I'm not going to elaborate on this point any more but once again I do suggest Susan Jefers Book, Feel The Fear and Do it anyway.

 Lesson 3- Fear is usually just a shadow

Joyce Meyer, a New York Times best seller and excellent teacher, has a very tragic story. She has suffered abuse and in many cases, had the right to be afraid, but she had learnt that Fear is only a shadow and often states that Fear is easily explained by this False Evidence Appearing Real. The fact is, half the things we are afraid of will never actually happen. Our minds are battle Fields and if the devil can get us to be paralysed by fear then he can get us to accept his lies as we looked at in the previous post.

 Lesson 4- Fear never works alone

Fear has a little brother that it likes to take everywhere it goes. This little brother's name is doubt. Together fear and doubt, climb in to your mind and batter your brain with constant chatter of "what if" and "why you can't" they sit there hit your head, just like a hammer hitting a nail.

 Recommended  Resources ( Doubles as the source material for the last few posts)

Joyce Meyer - Battlefield of the Mind
http://www.joycemeyer.org/ProductDetail.aspx?id=000159

Susan Jeffers - Feel the Fear and do it Anyway
http://www.susanjeffers.com/home/detailtemplate.cfm?catID=2234

John 14 : 27 "I am leaving you with a gift--peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don't be troubled or afraid". - Jesus Christ ( NLT) 

Friday, August 9

Another Update??

I have decided that as-well as book reviews and the other things I said I would do in the post explaining what will be happening on each of my three blogs, I am also going to use this blog as a place to put the information I am comfortable sharing about my life.  I know that many times when I am thinking about following someone on a blog, or if I have been reading a certain authors book, I tend to want to know a little more about the author. Therefore, I think it's only fair that I do the same thing for others who may read my work or watch my videos and want to know a little more about me. I will balance out these personal posts with what this blog is actually suppose to be about, books and the world of writing. 

I've got a few ideas to make my  personal life posts more interesting  then just talking about myself in an  rambling post and as I say, I won't over do it. However over this weekend I will be posting some random things for people who want to know a little more about the girl behind the blogs. 

My hope is that those who do decide to read a little more into my life will feel more confident to invest time in my writings, and that if they do that my work will be a blessing to them. I know that sounds kinda tacky or whatever, but I'm a very caring person, it's just apart of my nature, and passions to want to help others do well in life and I know I am not alone in this. 

Anyway, hope you have a great day!

Until the next time, take it easy!! 

Love Hayley 

xXx 



Wednesday, July 24

The Devils Tool Box - The Nails of Acceptance







It may seem strange that I'm starting this series by talking about acceptance as a tool used in the devil's toolbox but it does have a good reason for being the first topic looked at in this teaching. Accepting things, in general, is not a bad thing, in fact, it is important to accept certain things in order to move forward in personal growth and there are things the devil will try to stop us from accepting. However, there are things that if we accept too easily, they will actually stunt our personal growth.

We are going to look at 2 of those things that can cause us to stay stuck by accepting them. In order to explain this, I'm going to start out by looking at it from the viewpoint of the thoughts attached to each of these things, then explain why and how it is dangerous to think this way and how to move from a negative viewpoint to a positive.

What is important to remember is that the devil is a liar and so each of these thoughts is a lie, let's now look at the evidence for that statement, in each of the thoughts we have that keep us nailed where we are in a negative way. 

Let's begin,

Thought that is a Lie 1. Things will never change. - Hopelessness
When things have been the same way for a long time, we often get it stuck in our head that things will never change. This is because it is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when you are in the middle of it. It is very easy to lose hope and just accept that this is our lot in life and nothing is ever going to change so we may as well accept it and deal with it. 

Why is this dangerous? 
This is a dangerous thing to think because it completely limits your mind in terms of thinking of options to getting out of a situation, this can and usually does lead to worry and depression. Depression is like quicksand, it will just suck you in further and further if you allow it to do so. The result of thinking a situation is hopeless is despair. As soon as you hit that lower level of despair, it opens the door for the devil to start whispering more lies to you and you are far more likely to believe them. It is a long journey to get out of depression and despair and one that often involves a roller-coaster of emotions that are very hard to deal with alone. 

How can we change this thought into a positive?
We can change this thought of things will never change into a positive by refusing to believe that this is all life has to offer. The fact is no matter how hopeless a situation may seem, there are always choices even if the only choice you have is to change your attitude towards the situation your in. By choosing to believe that life has more to offer and then committing to doing whatever you can in order to make your life better, one small step at a time, you will start to see little changes. 

The best way to get unstuck when your in a rut, (which is basically another way of staying stuck in the mud or stuck going through the motions) is to change something. Even if the something you change is only small, if the routine is really that much of a pain to you, then even a small change will be welcomed. As you start to make small changes you will start empowering yourself to create the life you want, which in turn will help with convincing yourself that the next statement the devil loves to whisper to you to keep you stuck, is also a lie. 


Thought that is a lie 2. I can't do this because of _______ - Lack of confidence 
If we believe the lie that nothing will ever change, we often also believe that we will never change. This then gives way for this second lie to come in to play. We magnify all the bad points about ourselves and decide that because of all these negative traits, habits or attributes in us, or any number of external circumstances of factors that somehow we are not going to be able to cope with the situation. The truth is, under it all. Fear has us under the thumb. 

Why this is dangerous?
Our natural instinct when it comes to feeling uncomfortable is to avoid the thing making us feel that way and so we stay stuck. Fear keeps us paralyzed and so we wind up overthinking everything and worrying excessively, which has a negative effect on many areas of our lives including our health. In other words, staying stuck can cause so much destruction that is can actually put your life at risk. 

How can we turn this into a positive? 
In my own life, I can honestly say the only way to deal with fear is to face it. I am sure you have heard that before. It is a tried and tested fact that works in a whole host of situations. The best thing to do when it comes to dealing with fear is to educate yourself and then face it. When you educate yourself on something you don't understand or are afraid of it can make you feel more confident to actually face the fear. Sometimes educating yourself is enough, but that is very rare. 

 An amazing, life-changing book I would recommend if you are wanting to learn how to deal with fear is Feel the Fear and do it anyway, by Susan Jeffers. 

There are plenty of resources out there, you need only do your research, however, no amount of research is going to compensate for the freedom that can only come through facing your fear.  Of course, there are things that you don't have face if you don't want to, not all fear is bad and not all fears need to be addressed immediately. The question to ask when deciding if this certain fear needs to be addressed is simply how is this fear affecting my life? If it is affecting you in a negative way and you could actually say that the fear in one way or another is controlling your life or how you feel about yourself then it is probably best to face it and sort it out. 

Disclaimer- Don't be stupid, use your head, don't break the law to face a fear and always remember to stay safe. Remember that professional help is available if you're dealing with an irrational fear that controls you and it never makes you weak to get help if you need it. 

There is a positive side to acceptance that can actually help with moving forward and the devil will do everything to keep you from accepting 5 simple truths because he knows that if you accept them, you will empower yourself to move forward. If you don't accept these three simple truths, you will be equally as stuck as you will be by accepting the negative thoughts already explained. 

5 Truths that we need to accept in order to move forward in life 

1. I may not like where I am now, but I don't have to stay stuck, things can change.
2. I am responsible for my own happiness. Even if I don't have control over my situation, I can still have control over how I react to it. 
3. I am worthy of good things to happen to me. 
4. I don't have to do/face this alone. 
5. My attitude has a direct effect on my result. 

Recap 
  •  The two thoughts that the devil likes to get us to accept in order to keep us from moving forward in life are Things will never change and that you can't do this. 
  • Both of these are not true because of it down to choice. Even if the only thing you have control over is your attitude towards a situation. The devil is a liar. 
  • By making small changes, you will start to gain the confidence you need to believe that you can do anything you need to do and begin to see that you don't have to stay stuck. 
For those of you wanting to know where I get my information to write this, a source list will be available at the end of this series. 

Introducing Alterations - The Art Of Change Mangment

Today guy's I'm just going to jump straight into this. It's been a while since I last put a post out and that's purely jus...

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