Thursday, 22 December 2016

Delight & Be Dependent




Last month I met up with my wonderful friend Annie for a day out in St Andrews.  We had such a good catch up and of course, we talked about boys.  The last time I saw Annie (almost a year ago) I had a pathetic crush that I was convinced was such a big deal and I was acting like an idiot around him.  But now I can't even remember who I had a crush on or why I had even liked this boy. 
Since said crush I haven't really liked a guy, and it's been wonderful.  There was a stage when I thought I liked someone but I'm realising I just liked the idea of a relationship, not actually him. 



Me and Annie talked about my stupid crushes and how I want to leave all that behind, and I've recently been talking to one of my friends about being single and how that's affecting me at the moment. 

Like many other girls I dream of the day that I meet the guy that God wants me to be with.  I pray about him, I think about him, and I feel very lonely sometimes because I'm yet to meet him.  And I'm getting impatient. 

But God's telling me something different.  He's telling me to wait.  He's telling me to be patient.  He's telling me to trust Him.  He's telling me to fully depend on Him before I even think about depending on a guy.  And for the first time ever when it comes to this, I'm listening to God.  I'm not ready and I'm finally accepting that from Him because the waiting is part of His plan. 




I'm trying my best to grow in my faith and deepen my relationship with my God first, because if that isn't right then nothing else will be.  But, being patient is tough and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in feeling this way girls.  When we've been longing for something and praying for something for so long and God's reply is to be patient, we can sometimes feel a bit deflated. 

But girls, the waiting is so worth it.  I'm slowly trusting God with more of my heart, leaning on Him more, and learning what it means to fully depend on Him.  Girls, I can't even explain to you how amazing it feels.  Knowing that I'm growing closer to God and that He's working in me for when I do meet the guy He has for me is wonderful.  I'm learning to accept that He is in control, His timing is perfect, and I should fully depend on Him. 

Just think about that for a moment girls.  God has a plan for you.  He knows what He wants you to do with your life, who He wants you to meet, the people you'll impact and the many ways you can serve Him.  He knows the deepest desires of your heart as well as the little things in life that drive you mad but you don't know why.  He knows who He wants you to marry, or if He even wants you to get married.  He has a unique plan for you, we just need to learn what it means for us each to depend on Him. 



I want to depend on Him and have His will for me, whatever that may be, at the centre of my heart.  I want to live for Him however I can and I want to say that I fully trust Him and depend on Him and the amazing plan that He has for me as His daughter. 



Carolyn 
x



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Friday, 9 December 2016

Apple & Raspberry Crumble Tray Bake | The Baking Diaries



One of my favourite things about winter is that I can cosy up in the kitchen, blast my Christmas music and bake to my hearts content.  I spent the best part of last Saturday in the kitchen making some tray bakes for my friends baptism last weekend.  They were both new recipes that I haven't tried before so I thought I'd share one of them with you.  The BBC are my go to for recipes, I will happily spend a few hours pouring over their easy cook and good food magazines. 

Apple crumble is one of my favourite desserts, my mum made it a lot when I was little and has made a few variations of it which I love to try.  When I found the BBC tray bake version of apple and raspberry crumble I knew I wanted to give it a go, but with a few little changes. 




Ingredients for the base:

1 bramley apple, peeled & diced
100g of butter (softened)
175g of golden caster sugar
1 egg
280g of self raising flour
125ml of milk
200g of fresh raspberries

Ingredients for the crumble:

50g of butter (diced)
85g of self-raising flour
100g of golden caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
3tbsp of oats
1tsp of cinnamon





Method:

1. First thing you need to do is pre-heat your oven to 180C (or gas mark 4) and make sure you have a shelf on the second level of your oven.  Then grease a 20cm x 30xm baking tin and line it with greaseproof paper.  I find it helps to have little bit of paper over the top of the tin and then cut down to the corners so taking it out the tin is easier. 

2.  Peel and core your bramley apple, then dice it into small cubes.  Add them to a saucepan with about two tablespoons of water, and a sprinkling of brown sugar.  Cook for a few minutes while stirring occasionally. 

3.  Whilst the apples are cooking you can make your crumble topping.  Dice your butter into small cubes and rub in the flour.  Stir in the golden caster sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon and 1 table spoon of the oats. 

4.  Set aside your crumble mixture so you can make your base.  In a separate bowl cream together your butter and sugar till it's light and fluffy in consistency.  Add the egg to the mixture and beat in well.  Then stir in the milk and flour until all the ingredients are well combined.  Your mixture should resemble a doughy cake mixture.

5.  Slowly stir in the apples to your base mixture ensuring that they're spread evenly amongst the mixture.  Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tray and then place the raspberries evenly over the mixture.

6.  Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the tray bake and then sprinkle over the other 2 tablespoons of oats.  Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until it is crisp and golden on the top. 

7.  Leave in the tray, on a cooling rack and cut whilst slightly warm.  Once your tray bake has cooled you can remove it from the tray for serving. 



I was so pleased with how this tray bake turned out, especially for a recipe I hadn't tried before.  A cake base with a crumble topping is something I hadn't heard of before, but it's so amazing and definitely something I want to try it with different recipes.


Carolyn 
x




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Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Gold In The Darkest Moments #7


It's been far too long since I sat at my laptop and thought about the things in my life that have made me smile recently.  I went through a stage when my Gold In the Darkest Moments posts were my favourite posts to write.  But then life got busy and I was also struggling to think of what to write for these posts.  But after my bible study this morning I realised that it's not just the big things I should be thankful for, I should take the time to share the little things that have made me happy as well. 

I'm currently sitting in my pj's cuddled up on my giant teddy bear (thanks for that Mhairi!), while feeling a little sorry for myself cause I've been choked up with the cold for a little while now and it's making me feel pretty lousy.  But, I'm going to push my icky ill feelings aside so I can share with you some of the things in my life that have made me happy recently. 



1.  My new slippers.
Like I said, you need to be thankful for the little things in life!  I got some lovely new slippers from George by Asda because my old ones had seen much better days.  These slippers are so cosy and after a long day at work I love putting them on and unwinding with a good book.


2.  Delight & Be
Delight & Be is a website and blog for young Christian women who are interested in the creative arts.  From baking, to fashion, to photography, there's something there for everyone!  This site has been so great for me growing in my faith, but also with improving my photography and my writing style.  I'm part of a few of the Delight & Be Facebook groups and I love these girls so much.  They're all so happy to listen to each other, pray for each other, and love each other.  Their hearts for Jesus are so wonderful! 



3.  A day in St Andrews
If you follow me on instagram (a cheeky little hint for you there) then you'll have seen a few of my photos from my recent trip to St Andrews.  I went there for a day to see my wonderful friend Annie who I'll be staying with in Australia next year.  We had such a lovely day together, and although the weather was windy and so, so cold we had such a wonderful time exploring St Andrews.


4.  Cosy nights in. 
It's winter so I'm spending many evenings snuggled up in my pj's, watching movies, listening to Christmas music, and doing Christmas crafts while it's socially acceptable to be snuggled up in my room all evening. 



5.  Frosty mornings. 
I had a lovely walk down to the bus stop the other morning, frost covered the ground and I could see my breathe.  Everything looked so crisp and fresh, it's got me very excited for Christmas!


6.  My mum, dad & sister.
I've been feeling pretty homesick recently so when I chatted to my mum and dad on the phone for quite a long time the other night it made me feel a lot better.  I also stayed with my sister a few weekends ago, it was so nice to properly catch up and go to church together. When I was younger I didn't appreciate my family, but now I'm realising how fortunate I am to be blessed with such an amazing family who make me feel so loved. 



7.  for King & Country
I love finding new music to listen too.  I sometimes struggle to find Christian/worship music that I enjoy but then I happened across for King & Country and I've been listening to them whenever I get the chance.  I absolutely love their newest album "Run Wild. Live Free.  Love Strong" their style of music is unlike anything I've heard from a Christian band and lyrically I think their relevant and raw which is great.  They've also released a Christmas EP this month which is so lovely!




8.  Free To Be Me by Staci Eldredge
I got this book at the beginning of October when I was back home for a couple of days.  I had heard of Staci Eldredge before but hadn't read any of her books but when I saw this at the Faith Mission bookshop I had a feeling it would be good for me.  So far I'm really enjoying it and I've learnt so much from this book, Staci writes in a way that you feel like you're having a chat with her in a coffee shop which I really enjoy. 


9.  Hot Chocolate.
It's the kind of weather that makes me drink countless hot chocolates.  I'll also never refuse marshmallows and whipped cream to go along with it, what can I say, I like to treat myself!



I hope you enjoyed this post, I'm really enjoying looking at my life in a way that I wouldn't otherwise do and appreciating the things that make me happy.  Let me know in the comments what's made you happy this week, I'd love to hear from you all.


This post is part of my Gold In The darkest Moments series, you can read the other posts from this series by clicking here


Carolyn 
x




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Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Delight & Learn To Skate


I love ice skating.  I've been going ice skating since I was really little, I've only ever done it for fun, nothing professional but I still really enjoy it.  Although I really like ice skating, I am so, so bad at it.  I grip the wall of the rink and drag myself around, I shuffle along the ice and if I slip even slightly I freak out. 

I went ice skating a few weeks ago with a couple of my friends and it was really good fun.  We only had half the rink so this meant I could shuffle round the edges quicker than normal!  I went with two of my friends, one of who used to play ice hockey and he's been trained in figure skating, and my other friend had just spent a few months in Canada going skating regularly with experienced skaters.  So it's safe to say I felt a little out of place. 

But, I decided to try and make the most of the two hours we had on the ice by hiring hockey skates for the first time and occasionally letting go of the side for a millisecond.  I was doing pretty well and was quite pleased with myself, until one of my friends decided he'd lean against the side so I'd have to let go of the side to move around him.  I freaked out. 

I tried to persuade him to move but he was pretty determined that I was going to let go of the side, after all I had had a death grip on the wall for the best part of an hour.  So, I tried to be brave and let go of the side, but next thing I knew he had grabbed my hands and was helping me to skate round the middle of the rink.  Although I was pretty scared at this point and was digging my nails into his wrists while squealing, I was pretty excited to not be dragging myself round the edge anymore.

But then he let go. 

I was left in the middle of the rink.  By myself.  The girl who cannot skate to save herself was standing in the middle of the ice rink scared beyond belief.  I was freaking out, trying to persuade one of my friends to come and help me out, but they left me in the middle willing me to be brave. 




I've been thinking about this day a lot, and about how so often I'll be heading one way and then God will step in because He wants me to go a different way.  I'll stand there and try to argue with him and I'll be stubborn and think that pulling myself along the edges of life is what I should be doing. 

But God grabs both my hands and pulls me into a big life adventure that I find so terrifying, but He's there holding my hands and guiding me along the whole way.  But a part of me doesn't trust Him, so I let go of His hands and I'm left alone, at least I feel like I am.  But as I struggle around like Bambi on ice He's there the entire time, He's watching over me carefully and if I fall He's the first one there to help me up, just like He has been my entire life.  So why do I still struggle to trust him the most? 


Yep, you heard me right.  My wonderful Father, God and Saviour is the one who I struggle to trust the most.  He's never given me a reason to not trust Him, in fact He's given me so many blessings and reasons to trust Him completely.  Yet, I'm still scared to hand over parts of my life to Him.  I'm scared to stop pulling myself around the edges of the ice rink in the little routine I've developed, I'm scared to let Him take things in a different direction. 

In a recent post I talked about how I've been struggling to trust God, to know that He has a plan for me that is bigger than anything I can imagine.  Although I am doing better at trusting Him and gradually building a stronger relationship with my Father, there's a part of my heart that I'm struggling to give to Him. 

I trust other people far too easily, I allow myself to be vulnerable and open, yet I can't give my heart over to my Father who will care for my heart better than I could ever imagine.  Even better, he will give me a completely new heart to love Him with and serve Him with.  I need to make Him the absolute centre of my heart and try my best to get rid of the things that are pulling me away from Him.  There are so many things in my heart that are taking His place and I want to change this, I want to have a Jesus centred heart. 



The thought of giving my heart completely to God is one that is daunting to me but I've recently learnt that my God is so powerful and magnificent that the thought of not completely giving my heart to Him is ridiculous. 

Yes, even if I completely give my heart to Him there will still be days when I feel like my God's left me alone in the middle of the ice rink, when really He's there the whole time watching over me and taking care of me, I just need to trust him with my heart.



Carolyn 
x




I'd just like to add a little note at the end to say that this post is dedicated to my wonderful friend Laura for putting up with me and my antics, as well as being an absolutely amazing friend and a true sister in Christ to me.


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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Sweater Weather





I am not a fashion blogger.  I've never claimed to be one, and I probably never will.  But it's Autumn which is my favourite season, the leaves are beautifully gold and red, I'm drinking countless hot chocolates a day, and the weather's getting colder each day.  One of my favourite things about Autumn is that I can wrap up in oversized scarves, biker boots, and my favourite sweaters.  So, I enlisted the help of my amazing friend Lawson so I could share some of my favourite sweaters and jumpers with you all. 



New Look Maroon Jumper

I own a lot of maroon and burgundy items of clothing.  Mainly because it reminds me of Autumn, and there was that one time I was told I suited it and now I seem to have fallen in love with the colour.  This jumper is a couple of years old but is still one of my favourite sweaters to grab on a chilly day.  The only downside is that you have to wear a vest-top or t-shirt underneath due to the spaced out way it's been made, although this does mean you're extra toasty! 


Slouched Grey Sweater

I love a sweater that's slightly baggy because it means I can hide my tummy!  I own a lot of dark coloured clothes because it contrasts really nicely with my hair.  When I saw this sweater in New Look I wasn't sure whether to buy it or not, but my mum persuaded me too and I'm so glad she did.  Although the material is a little thinner than I'd like, it's actually quite handy for wearing to work as it means I'm not too warm when I'm inside.  This exact sweater isn't available anymore but you can buy a similar one here.


Boston Massachusetts Crewneck Sweater
After seeing a lot of jumpers in store with American university or college logos embossed on the front, I may have wanted to own at least five of my own.  My uncle brought this jumper back from America a few years ago to give to someone but they hadn't wanted it and it had been sitting in his house ever since.  When he offered it to me I may have snatched it out of his hand before he changed his mind.  I find crewneck jumpers so comfortable and this one has a wonderful fleece lining which is perfect for this time of year.  You can buy a similar one here



Carolyn Bell Photography
Carolyn Bell Photography
Carolyn Bell Photography



Grey Primark Cable Knit Jumper
I'm a sucker for good bargains in Primark, I'll go in with the intention of buying one item and leave with two full bags of shopping!  I bought this jumper on one of these occasions and it's one of the times that I don't regret having a little Primark splurge.  The knit on this jumper is quite chunky and I think this adds nice detailing to the entire jumper.  You can buy one similar here


Black Chevron Tape Sweater
New Look is probably my favourite place to go clothes shopping, I always seem to find something that I like there, and their high waisted skinny jeans are the comfiest things I've ever owned.  I bought this sweater a little while ago and I really like it.  Although I don't wear it as often as I'd like because I struggle to find jeans that I like with it, I really do like this jumper.  It's a crewneck style but a little more fitted which I really like as I think it helps to enhance your figure slightly more than a normal crewneck sweater. You can buy this sweater from New Look here.


Oversized Maroon Sweater
Yet another maroon sweater!  It's also knitted!  And it's oversized!  All my favourite things in one amazingly cosy jumper.  I was visiting my sister up north when I bought this jumper and they only had it in a large which I'm now so grateful for.  This is the kind of jumper I can just throw on when I'm feeling too lazy to bother with being fussed about what I'm wearing, although the slits on the side add a nice detailing to give the look a little more effort.  It's also great for layering up in the colder weather and looks great with an oversized scarf.  You can buy a similar jumper here.



I hope you've enjoyed seeing some of the jumpers that are going to be the staples in my Autumn wardrobe this year.  I had a lot of fun having these pictures taken, be sure to check out Lawson's instagram and Facebook page, he is a seriously talented photographer.  Let me know in the comments about some of the items that will be regulars in your wardrobe this Autumn, I'd love to hear from you.


Carolyn 
x


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Sunday, 9 October 2016

Twenty One before Twenty One

In just under a year and a half, I'll be that special old age of 21.  This is a fact I can't quite believe, I'm still trying to adjust to the fact that I won't be a teenager by February next year!  Although this is a little daunting, I also find it a little exciting that I'm going to be 21, even if it's just for an excuse to have party with all my family! 

I saw a post over on VieAvecCharlotte and Blossom of Hope (they both have amazing blogs that you should definitely check out) about the twenty things they'd like to do before they turn twenty.  I think this is a really cool idea that I'd love to do on here, and thought it would be a nice way for you all to find out a little more about me.  I'll admit, some of them might be a little silly, but hopefully I'll chose things that are fun, hope you enjoy the list! 



1.  Go on more road trips. 
I LOVE going on road trips.  I went on one up north recently and it was so good - a joint Spotify playlist, incredible views, and good friends.  I really hope I can go on more road trips over the next year.


2.  Look after my skin. 
My skin is in a pretty bad state, I get spots and blackheads so easily and I've not been doing enough to look after my skin properly.  Also, because I work six days of the week in a kitchen, I'm working in an environment which my skin doesn't like so I need to make more of an effort to take care of my skin correctly. 


3.  Learn how to Dutch braid my hair. 
I cannot braid my own hair to save myself.  I end up just knotting my hair and getting frustrated and impatient with myself.  I really want to take the time to learn how to braid my hair into two Dutch braids. 

4.  Invest more in my blog. 
I've missed my blog so much and I'm really looking forward to getting back into blogging and working on my blog to get it to a place were I'm pleased with it and enjoy it. 


5.  Photograph more, and actually get around to editing my photographs!
I love photography, any chance I have to use my camera I will take - although I do have a habit of taking far too many photos.  I really want to put more effort into my photography and really learn about the editing process and how to get the finish I'd like. 


6.  See more of Europe. 
I've visited a few different countries in mainland Europe but I would love to visit more, as well as go back to some countries like Belgium, Portugal and France. 


7.  Complete a cake decorating course.
One of my favourite hobbies (although it's also my job) is baking and I'd love to learn more about professional cake decorating.  I'd really like to take a course so I can learn from someone with experience and have some skills to build on.


8.  Spend more time with my family. 
I love my family so dearly, but since I moved away I haven't seen them as often as I'd like and it's starting to make me homesick.  I really want to try and see my family more during the time off that I have rather than lazing around not doing much. 
 

9.  Play my ukulele more often. 
I've had my ukulele for quite a while now and before summer I was finally getting into a routine of playing it often, and a good friend had been teaching me a lot as well.  But then during summer I cut of part of my fingertip (yes, it was as sore as it sounds!) and so I wasn't able to play.  But now that my finger's almost healed properly I'd really like to get back into playing my ukulele and trying to learn it properly. 


10.  Get up early to watch a sunrise.
I just think this would be a really beautiful experience. 


11.  Visit London again. 
I adore London as a city, the architecture is incredible and I would love to visit again and take thousands of photos. 


12.  Try my hand at video making.
I have the equipment to make videos, I've just never really tried except helping to make some events videos for my work.  I'd really like to give video making a try, especially when I'm in Australia next year because I think having a video diary to look back on would be really nice. 


13.  Attend a music festival!
For someone who loves attending concerts, I've never actually been to a music festival.  I would love to go to Reading & Leeds one year, or maybe to Warped tour in America. 



14.  Hold a koala. 
I'm going to Australia for a month next year and I just really, really, really, want to hold a koala.


15.  Save up money for my own car. 
I've had my license for a while but I don't have my own car, so I haven't actually driven (except a few times on private property) in over a year now.  This is quite a far fetched hope since the cost of insurance and upkeep for a car is so expensive, but I'd really like to have my own car by the time I'm twenty one. 


16.  Exercise more.
I'm trying to get back into a regular exercise/work out routine because I really miss having one, but I've also put on a little bit of weight recently that I'd quite like to get rid off.  I was hanging out with a good friend of mine last night and we're hoping to start going to a fitness or dance class together which I'm really looking forward too. 


17.  Second shoot at a wedding. 
Again, quite a far fetched hope but I would love to second shoot at a wedding.  I absolutely adore wedding photography and would love to give it a try someday, even if it is just as the second shooter.  I think it would be an amazing experience and a great opportunity to learn about photography. 


18.  Go to more concerts.
I absolutely love going to concerts!  I've been to a total of 6 concerts and I love to make it up to 10 by the time I'm twenty one.  I love the atmosphere at gigs, especially when you're standing - it just makes me so happy.


19.  Photograph a concert or gig from the photographers pit. 
And here we go again with the far fetched hopes but, oh my goodness how amazing would photographing a concert be?!  This would be a bit of a dream come true for me, especially if it was a band that I listen too and love. 


20.  Grow in my faith.
This is by far the most important one to me.  Over the past month or so I've been growing a lot in my faith, learning so much more from my own Bible studies, and keeping a payer journal which is all really helping me.


21.  Be kinder. 
I see kindness as a really important value in peoples personalities.  But I don't think I do enough myself to be kind and to share love in the small things.  I really want to make more of an effort to be kind to those I love as well as people I just happen to meet by chance because I think it's such an important thing.



I hope you've enjoyed finding out about some of the things that I'd like to do before I turn twenty one in just over a years time.  Let me know in the comments about some of the things you'd like to do before your next Birthday, or just things you'd really like to do in general, I'd love to hear from you guys. 


Carolyn 
x


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Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Delight & Trust His Plans


The past week has been quite up and down for me.  I was working a seven day week from Tuesday to Monday, and I was exhausted by Saturday evening.  I visited my friend Sarah during my break on Sunday and told her how I had been feeling distant from God that week and how lost I felt because of it.  We talked for a long time and Jeremiah 29:11-14 came into my head and stuck with me for the rest of the day. 



My God has a plan for me.  And this simple fact is incredible.  I am so undeserving of His love and His care, what have I ever done to deserve this from my creator?  But that's the thing, it's not about what I've done, it's about what Jesus has already done for me and this is something that I forget.  I should be living my life to bring glory to Him because of what He's already done for me, He died and rose again for me, so I should be after His heart and following His plan for me.   

I've realised that I don't want anything else for my life except His plan for me, because anything else feels worthless without Him. 

I need to learn how to live my life for Him on a daily basis.  To do the littlest of things for His glory, whether it's helping to cook a meal for eighty campers, hanging up washing, writing a blog post, taking photographs, talking to my friends, I should be living for Him in everything that I can.  This isn't going to be easy because I'm human so I'm going to make mistakes and have grumpy days, but I need to focus on Him above everything and know that every day is a part of His plan for me. 




If my heart isn't centred on God then I can't follow His plan for me, even if His plan scares me, even if this means travelling to the other side of the world by myself (which I'll be doing next year), even if it's doing something I'd never imagined I would do, then if it's for Him it'll be worth it and the outcome will be for Him. 

But I'll only be able to live for Him if I have a relationship with Him.  I need to learn to listen to God, to talk to Him, and to read His word every day.  To turn to Him with the simplest of things instead of letting my own worries get in the way.  If I turn to Him first when things are getting to me, and I hand my burdens over to Him then following His plan for me will be so much easier if I have Him at the heart of everything I do. 

I've spent so long overcomplicating my faith and trying to make it out to be this big, philosophical, inspiring thing.  When really all it's just God loving me, and me loving Him, learning to trust Him and walk in His light. 



Carolyn 
x



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Monday, 19 September 2016

Delight & Learn To Be Fearless



I'm quite a worrier, I get anxious easily, and I'm scared of the day I never saw.  I will spend hours worrying about situations that are yet to happen or might never happen.  But over the past couple of weeks God's been challenging the worrisome mind-set that I have.   He's telling me to stop being scared, and to trust in Him.  For me this is turning out to be a lot easier said than done, but I am slowly learning. 

Since the start of summer I've felt distant from God until recently when I learnt a very important and difficult but simple lesson.  And that is to give it up.  Whatever it is that you're carrying, that secret you've kept for years, that battle you've been fighting for months, that thing you've been struggling with but you're too proud to ask for help.  Give it up.  Give it over to God, let it go and let Him take care of it.  Because He's your Father and if He can't take care of it, then who can?

I've been stumbling my way through these past few months, and gradually hurting more and more, and feeling sorry for myself in the tough times I've been in.  But then my friend shared James 1:2-4 with me and it was something I needed to hear. 


This was an encouragement because it reminded me that everyone goes through low points in their faith, we're human and we mess up so it's impossible to constantly feel on fire for God.
It was a bit of a slap in the face because being told that the difficulties you're facing are a "sheer joy" isn't really what you want to hear when you're feeling completely hopeless and lost in your faith.
But, this passage was the kick up the butt that I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself, hand my fears over to God and start making more of an effort to face challenges and life in general with Gods love fuelling me rather than my own fear, because I've learnt the hard way that that won't get me anywhere.

When we feel like we're facing a constant battle in our faith, we can sometimes feel like we're hanging by a thread of faith.  That thread of faith is better than no thread at all because faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains.  And although we might only be hanging onto a single thread, God has a stronger thread hanging onto us constantly. The thread of God's love is constantly getting stronger as he does everything He can to bring us closer to Him, even when we feel like this this thread is invisible.  Even on the days when we're crying out to Him in loneliness, He's there watching over us and working in us to make us stronger. 

I'm trying my best to hand my fears, my anxieties and my worries over to God.  Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's not, and sometimes it has crazy outcomes. 

One thing is teaching me through fearlessness is to feel content within myself.  Although I still have days when I look in the mirror and my attention goes straight to my flaws.  But I'm slowly learning to accept my jiggly thighs, flabby tummy, and spotty skin as who God has made me to be, and if I really want to change this then it's up to me to do it.  I'm accepting that I giggle far too easily, and far too loudly.  I'm learning that I talk far too much, and I talk far too quickly.  I'm learning that to love myself I need to fill myself with a love for God, and then everything else, including contentment with who I am, will gradually fall into place.  This doesn't meant that I'm suddenly going to stop worrying, or that I won't face trials, it just means that I'm facing life with God by my side and He's teaching me to be fearless.



I'm learning to say yes to things that scare me and to try my best to not worry about them before they come.  Because God wouldn't make me feel like I should do these things, if He wasn't going to give me the courage and the words to say.  Which is why I'm going to Australia for a month next year (INTERNALLY SCREAMS IN DISBELIEF!!), I'm leading a Bible study tonight that I've only been attending for a few weeks, and I'm trying to tackle my hospital appointments with God instead of by myself. 

I'm slowly but surely learning to trust in God instead of being controlled by my own fear.  It's not easy but the outcome is beautiful because I know it's Gods will and that feels amazing. 


Carolyn
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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Carolyn's Simple Life | The Re-Brand to Stained Glass Stars



So, you might have noticed that Carolyn's Simple Life has changed over the past few days.  It's changed A LOT.  Firstly, I've renamed my blog (internally screams!!!).  I've been thinking about this for a long time and finally decided to take the leap of renaming my blog.  I've been so scared to do this because I don't know how this is going to affect my blog/networking and all those bloggy things but, I outgrew my old name. 

I've been wanting to have a fresh start on my blog without starting all over again, I feel the best way for me to do this is to have a new name, a new design, and hopefully a new motivation for me to get back to posting regularly.   Although in the process of doing this I've managed to lose all my 280 Bloglovin' followers for my blog which has been quite upsetting.

To be completely honest with you guys I'm absolutely petrified to be doing this because my blog means so much to me.  This is my little space online which I've come to know and love, so the thought of letting go of Carolyn's Simple Life is a difficult one.  But, I think it's time for my blog to 'grow up' in a sense and so that's what I'm doing. 

I think back to when I started blogging, I did it because I was lonely and needed a hobby which meant I didn't have to leave the comfort of my bedroom.  If you had told 16 year old me where I would be now I wouldn't have believed you but the fact is that I have done a lot of growing up over the past two years.  I'm not the attention seeking, selfish girl that I was then.  I've moved away from home, I have a full time job that I love, I've grown tremendously in my faith as a Christian, and I have a group of close friends that I love like family.   

I've matured, and I'm ready for my blog to catch up with me now.  Thanks to the amazing people over at pipdig my blog now has a gorgeous template that I think is sleeker and that I'll slowly be personalising over the next few weeks. 

So, why Stained Glass Stars?  Two reasons, the first being the Bible verse that's picture below.  The second being a song called Stained Glass Eyes & Colourful tears which I really like. 



My posts won't be changing, I'll have mostly the same content, I'm just hoping to post on a more regular basis.  If you'd like an idea of some of the posts I'll be working on the you can read my last post

Also, I have anew Bloglovin' address, so please go and follow me on there. 

I'm looking to writing posts that aren't just updates for you guys, I'm so excited to be writing posts for both me and (hopefully) you guys to enjoy.


Carolyn
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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

New Bloglovin

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Sunday, 28 August 2016

Back to Blogging




I'm finally back at the blogging game after a (very) busy summer and I can't actually tell you how happy this makes me.  This is just going to be a little update post about what I've been up too recently and what I'm hoping to do with my little blog over the upcoming months.  
Last summer I started a new full time (full on) job.  I work at a Christian outdoor activity centre which meant that this summer was chaotic, busy, non-stop, fulfilling, tiring, craziness.   There were points when I felt so drained that I could have slept for days, and there were times when I didn’t want days to end because I just felt so happy and content.  Overall at this stage in my life I can’t see myself doing anything other than this job because I know it’s where God wants me to be, even if there are tough days.  




I've got a lot of plans and ideas for getting back into blogging again, starting with a new design/layout.  Although this might not happen first, it's definitely going to be something I want to get going soon and it'll be a "work in progress" for a few weeks. 

Something I don’t talk about a lot on my blog is the fact that I’m a Christian, but over the past couple of weeks I’ve found myself really growing in my faith and trying really hard to build a better relationship with God.  Something that’s helping this is the online community for creative Christian women called Delight & Be.  Which is why I’m going to try and start a series on here where I talk about my faith, what Bible passages I’ve been reading, and the work that I’m doing to grow in my faith.  I’m going to call the series “Delight &” because I’m trying to learn how to truly delight in my faith. 


There’s so much music I’ve found over the past couple of months that I’m so excited to share with you all, there’s bands I’ve blogged about before, as well as some new ones, and I have a few album dissection posts lined up that I hope you’ll enjoy.   I'm really excited to get back into sharing the music that I love with you guys



Since April I’ve been attending hospital for something quite important that has been affecting me hugely.  I’m not ready to share it on here yet but it is a huge part of my life that I struggle with and I think it’s an important thing to talk about.  Although I’m not ready too, I hope that I’ll be able to blog about it soon as a way to deal with myself, but also to raise awareness and maybe some understanding about it as well. 

It's been too long since I posted something for my Becoming Your Own hero series, I have a mixture of ideas of where this series could go, I even considered ending the series.  But I don't think I'm quite ready for this yet.  A little series I started to coincide with these posts is my Gold In The Darkest moments series which I miss so, so much because it was a way for me to appreciate the little things in my life that make me happy so I'm really excited to start it up again. 


Sorry this post is more information than anything else, hopefully I'll be able to get back into blogging as regularly as I can while still working full time.  I hope you guys have enjoyed this post, I'm looking forward to writing a more 'proper' blog post for you all soon.




Carolyn
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Thursday, 23 June 2016

Gold In The Darkest Moments #6

So, I started this series on my blog with the intention of posting weekly.  That worked out well - just imagine how much sarcasm is dripping from my voice right now considering I haven't posted for this series in quite a while!  The past few weeks have been a complete rollercoaster of emotions but I'm going to pick through it and share some of my happier moments from the past few weeks. 


1.  Talking to a friend.
This seems like a simple thing but I've been talking to a dear friend recently and it's been helping me a lot.  This person is very special to me and I'm so grateful to be able to talk to them openly and know that I'm not being judged.   


2.  With Confidence

If you read my last post then you'll know that one of my favourite bands is Aussie pop punkers With Confidence.  I started listening to them a couple of months ago and now I'm at that stage were I'm listening to them on repeat and I've pre-ordered their debut album.  Their music makes me really happy.


3.  Weddings.

In the space of two weeks I attended two weddings and it was so lovely.  To be able to witness the marriage of my cousin and her now husband, and then that of two of my closest friends was so beautiful.  I still feel so honoured that I was able to be a part of what was such a special day for both these couples.  It also made the fairy-tale lover/romanticist in me cry like a baby and be completely beside myself with pure happiness during both the ceremonies. 


4.   Flowers. 


One of my favourite things to photograph is flowers.  I don't know why but I just love to photograph flowers.  So I ended up taking way too many photos of flowers at the weddings I attended and also on the walks I've been on recently, it's made me really happy.  I've realised that if I ever had the opportunity to photograph The RHS Chelsea Flower Show I might actually cry in excitement. 


5.   Watching Jacks Gap on YouTube. 


Jack and Finn Harries are definitely some of my favourite creators on YouTube.  Their videos are unique and exciting, although they haven't released a video in about 6 months they still have one of my favourite channels on YouTube


Like I said earlier, these past few weeks have been an absolute rollercoaster for me.  There's a few things that I'm struggling with that have been weighing down on my heart immensely, it hurts so much.  But being able to find some gold amongst the black is helping me along.  Let me know in the comments what's made you happy over the past few weeks, I'd love to hear from you. 



Carolyn
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Sunday, 12 June 2016

A Spotlight On: Voldemort by With Confidence

http://www.albumbsearch.com/2016/04/with-confidence-better-weather-album.html

With Confidence are releasing their debut album on the 17th of June and I'm pretty excited for it.  They're one of the biggest upcoming bands in pop punk this year having signed to Hopeless Records at the start of the year, are set to be touring America as part of Warped Tour in the summer, and their debut album is being released within a matter of days. 

They're released a few singles from the album (one of which I wrote about in this post) and during last week they released the official stream for their song Voldemort.  I've been playing it quite a lot so I thought I'd share it with you. 






The song starts of with a kick as the vocals are there from the start, accompanied by shorts burst from the lead guitar and drums.   When the instruments properly kick in during the first verse there's an energy which is tangible.  Lyrically I really like the first verse, especially how they include their upcoming album title "Better Weather" in the lyrics. 

The momentum from the first verse leads straight into the chorus, there's a high energy from all the members of the band.  Lyrically I love how the theme from the first verse continues into the chorus and is till themed around the album name. 

In the transition between the chorus and the second verse I really like the guitar and how smoothly it continues throughout the second verse.  Lyrically the verse begins with a line similar to that of the first verse and I love that they're continued this, and I also really like that they've ended with the same bridge:

"And I know that you're holding out for better weather
And I can't promise you that I'll be round forever
If there's one thing I know it's that we're good together
(If there's one thing I know it's that we're good together)"




The guitar transition between the second verse and final chorus makes a great third verse, it would be incredible to hear live because of the chance it gives for a guitar solo. 
The final chorus is probably my favourite part of the song because of the gang vocals accompanied by the percussion.  If you've been reading my blog for a while then you'll know that I love gang vocals, but what makes this more unique is the additional backing vocals from the lead singer, Jayden Seeley. 

Also, it's a great build up to the final part of the chorus which is filled with high energy from all the band members, I especially love how clear the drum fills come through with this and work alongside the backing vocals.  The song ends with an acoustic guitar piece and what I'm assuming is the recording from after they recorded the gang vocals, which I think is a great touch. 



You can listen to the song on the video above.  I've pre-ordered my copy of Better Weather and I am so excited for it to arrive.  Although With Confidence are a band that are just breaking into the spotlight in alternative music I have pretty high hopes for the album and I'm looking forward to seeing where it takes them. 



Carolyn
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Saturday, 14 May 2016

Gold In The Darkest Moments #5

Yes I know, it isn't a Wednesday but I'm writing a Gold In The Darkest Moments post.  But, I haven't been able to blog in a couple of weeks because having a unique, full time job is pretty time consuming.  I have a day off so I wanted to write a post and share some of the things from the past few weeks that have made me happy. 


 
1.  BBQ at the beach.
Last Monday evening I went out with a bunch of my friends for a BBQ at the beach and it was so lovely.  The weather was great and it was nice to hang out with my closest friends. 


2.  Changing my wardrobe.
If you've been hanging around my blog for a while then you might remember me writing this post.  When I wrote that post my wardrobe mainly consisted of black jeans, black hoodies, and band t-shirts.
I've recently started wearing more dresses, skirts, cardigans, and plain t-shirts.  I've been styling myself on Dodie Clark and Tanya Burr for inspiration.  This has made me really happy and I'm enjoying finding new clothes to wear and having some fun when putting together outfits. 


3. FaceTime with Dani. 
A little while ago my friend Gordy let me hijack his phone so I could FaceTime my friend Dani who lives in Canada.  It was so  nice to talk to her, meet one of her housemates over video, and get excited over how cute her pet cats are.  Dani is one of my best friends and I miss her dearly, but I was so happy to have the chance to actually talk to her. 




4.  Oh Wonder. 
I've started listening to the group Oh Wonder and I love them so much.  I bought their self titled album today, I'm listening to it while typing this post and I'm really enjoying it.  Their music is pretty different to what I normally listen too but I really love it, it's so unique and captivating. 




5.  Chocolate chats.
Sometimes you just need to sit on a big industrial freezer, break open a galaxy bar, and have a good talk with 3 of your closest friends. 


6.  Flip flops!
I bought a pair of flip flops from Primark recently and I've been wearing them as often as I can, it feels so good to be in them!  They are so comfy and it makes me feel very summer-y when I'm wearing flip flops.  Also, a fun thing that myself and the two girls I share an office with have started is 'Flip Flop Fridays' and it's a fun little thing to have together! 



7.  The Selection Series by Kiera Cass 
For quite a while I've wanted to read The Selection series but for some reason I kept putting it off.  I finally bought the first book and got hooked very quickly.  From the ball gowns, to the romance, to the rebels, I've loved this series and have found myself immersing myself in the regal world of The Selection.  Today I bought the book of short stories to accompany the series as well as the fourth book and I'm so excited to start reading them! 



I hope you've enjoyed this update post, if you'd like to read the other posts in my Gold In The Darkest Moments series then click here.  Although I'm struggling with running my blog while having a full time job I'm hoping to find a balance soon and get back into posting regularly.
Let me know in the comments about some of the things that have made you happy over the past week.  Ha



Carolyn
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