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Choose to give thanks. Always

This week is the American holiday of Thanksgiving. As a dual British-American citizen, it’s still a holiday I celebrate here in Scotland, and it really is one of my favourite holidays of all.  Because the premise is: things are (or have been) very hard, so you gather together with family, eat good food and lots of it, and you give thanks for it all. For the food, the family and friends and tribe, and all the good things you’ve received or experienced even through the hard times.  T...

November 28, 2020

Accountants, you are creative too.

I believe all humans are creative.  It’s a quality we all have - innately from being humans - no matter what our role or job or how we perceive our fit into society. I believe a creative God created humans, and we reflect that creativity and have these creative qualities from long before we even know anything about ourselves. And as a qualified accountant myself, who then set up a creative agency to support and help accountants, it took me many years to realise those two things were the b...

November 7, 2020

The story I'm telling myself (and how easily it can be the wrong story)

We have to make sense of things. Somehow.  And if things don’t make sense, or don’t fit, our brain will work on putting together the reason, the intentions, the story.  We will literally make up a story in our own head to help us understand. We’ll say “oh, I see, they wrote that email in that way because they’re tired of me asking them for help”, or “ah, I get it, that prospect never replied because they don’t want to work with us”, or “they didn’t invite me to th...

October 22, 2020

Hard things and good things work together

I’ve been thinking this week about the good things we receive through an experience of hard things.  No matter how good the good thing is we receive through what’s hard...it doesn’t magically make the hard things good. Or transform them. Sometimes (most times) they’re bad in and of themselves.  Things like Covid. And lockdown. And back pain. And deaths of people we care about. And depression and addictions and abuse and trauma.  Those are bad, bad things. In themselves the...

October 9, 2020

There's more happening while we wait than waiting

I read this sentence today and needed to pause to think about it for a little while.  "There is more happening while we wait than just waiting."  The author was talking about how frustrating it is to wait. How weary we get, how cranky and frustrated and wishing it would be over - so we can get to where we're going, "go back to normal", start something new, end something old... ...but the waiting has so much in it.  It reminded me of a section of the Dr Seuss book, "Oh, the places ...

September 25, 2020

Consecutive time off > time off in pieces

Hello everyone! I’m back!  Really actually missed writing these Notes, come to think of it. I like the routine and pattern, and I love the thoughtful replies I get and the good conversations it starts.  Being off for three whole weeks, consecutively, has shown me a few things. Chief of which is that taking time off consecutively is SO much more powerful than taking the same amount of time, broken up into pieces.  Now, I know not everyone can take that much time - right now, or a...

September 18, 2020

The books you read

When ‘everything’ started back in March, I sort of naively imagined I’d get lots of reading done. I’d have all this time, I thought. I wouldn’t be traveling, I’d still get my work done at home and then I could just read and read and read. Didn’t happen that way, at all. Matter of fact for a few months I could hardly read anything. I couldn’t concentrate, had too much to think about and process, and was just trying to keep the business going and take care of the team and clie...

August 20, 2020

The movie montage (and why you can't skip it)

You know that part of a film, usually in the middle or about two thirds of the way through, where a lot of hard stuff happens really fast with music playing the whole time?  There is laughing and crying and falling and getting up again and working out and cutting hair and falling over and getting up again and giving up but not really and running and lifting weights and falling and getting up again and everything is at warp speed and then the music swirls together with a little triumph and i...

August 8, 2020

There is no normal (is there?)

I started this sketch with the words: “There is no normal. We are not going back to normal. We never had normal.” And then I thought about it, and realised making sweeping statements isn’t quite what I want to do here.  After all, some people really do want to “go back to normal”. Maybe you’ve even said or thought that in the past few weeks. But today i want to ask the question.  Do we?  Do we, do I, want to “go back to normal”? If so, what does that look like? How...

July 22, 2020

Head. Space.

On Monday, for the first time in four months I was able to go somewhere besides my local walks. Those local walking paths have served me well during lockdown. I got the fresh air, some space, daily processing of all the thoughts. But I missed the freedom to get in the car and go far away - far, far away with the silence of the everlasting hills, to get more space for my head.My head comes with me on the walks, of course, but when I get out into the vastness, it’s like all the swirling tho...

July 7, 2020

What's your thing?

A few months ago I was listening to a podcast called “Do The Thing”, and it stopped me in my tracks within the first few minutes, before she even got to the actual topic.  She did a little intro, welcomed her guest, and then said, “Before we get into it, the first question I ask all of my guests: What’s your thing?” The guest speaker started talking about how her thing was teaching people to heal….and I stopped the podcast and just sat there thinking.  What would I say...

June 27, 2020

On starting things and swearing and taking MY time

I listened to episode one of Brene Brown’s podcast, Unlocking Us, yesterday.  It has taken me - literally, exactly - three months to click play. (The episode is dated 20th March.)  I knew it was going to be good. I have read several of Brene’s books (and watched her TED talks and netflix documentary) and I don’t speak lightly when I say they have contributed to changing my life. (It’s extremely rare if not impossible for any one thing to truly change our lives: it’s always th...

June 20, 2020

Distancing from my own head

Last weekend a friend came round and we just sat out on the back deck all afternoon. Talking, watching the breezes move the trees, eating lunch, listening to music.  We were talking about things we miss, and one of my greatest ones is travel. Not the constant travel - I'm getting my eyes opened to the fact I was rushing too much, going too many places too fast, more “work travel” than I had energy for. But I do miss the freedom to be able to go somewhere when I take the notion. Particul...

June 13, 2020

The comparison game: do I ever win it?

The comparison game.  Sort of the least-fun game ever.  It has become very real to me in the past few weeks and months. It’s always been real: I’ve always struggled with feeling ‘less than’ in my areas of perceived weakness. Or fear. Or confusion.  But at this time all our fears and confusions and weaknesses are being enhanced a bit. Or blown into greater proportion. Or I’m just having to face it more, since there are fewer distractions.  I’m being forced to get t...

June 6, 2020

I'll do it when I have ... time?

"I'll do it when I have time."Okay so we've all had THIS excuse blown out of the water and revealed for the excuse it always was.Because unless you're a care worker for your country's health service, the fact is we all have a little more time here and there (and some people have a lot).Even those of you with kids at home have (at least those I've been talking to) started to settle into a bit of a routine, and you're getting work done as best you can.But you're not traveling. Or going to events. ...

May 23, 2020

It may not be okay: but comfort is coming

There’s a lot of “it’s going to be okay” messages going around. In one sense, there’s truth in it. There have been crises before - of differing natures and time periods than this one, with different repercussions - and the world and its humanity are still here. So it’s very likely we - the communal, global we - will be “okay” in that we continue on. But that’s not what ‘okay’ really means, to each of us individually. It’s certainly not what it means to me. ...

May 8, 2020

the 2020 club

Dear Covid-19,  We accept the fact that we’ve had to sacrifice a whole month in lockdown for whatever it is we did wrong, but we think you’re crazy for making us believe who you think we are. You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions.  But what we found out, is that each one of us is a  Brain, motivated and hardworking and coming up with new business ideas Athlete,getting out for exercise and pushing ourselves to new limit...

April 24, 2020

Put on your own mask first

“Please remember to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.”  I’ve heard that when flying (back in THOSE days) more times than I can count.  It makes good sense.  No point trying to save others (particularly those smaller or younger than you, or who might be in trouble in some way) if you’re struggling yourself.  Of course, it does feel a little backwards - selfish, even. Surely you need to think of others first. Be selfless, sacrificial. Surely in the mi...

April 11, 2020

True positives and false positives

Positivity is a good thing. It’s a beautiful thing, and it’s something I seek to live out. It’s even one of the six internal values of my company. In the midst of a really difficult time, staying positive can be even harder...not simply because of the tough things in life. (It requires discipline, even in the simplest and best of times.) It’s hard because I want to be honest, too. My two “life values” that are personal to me (thanks Brene Brown) are freedom, and honesty. And right no...

April 4, 2020

I don't know.

I was trying to think of what to share with my Karen's Notes list today.  And the truth is, i don’t know.  I’ve never pretended to have all the answers - these notes simply share what I’m thinking and how I’m feeling and I hope they help encourage a few.  But after considering this topic and that topic, and thinking “no I already wrote about that” or “everyone in the world is writing about that” or “that’s not what I want to say”, I sat down and admitted I do...

March 28, 2020

So, how's YOUR day?

On Friday, my nephew went into emergency brain surgery for fluid on the brain.  It’s been an exhausting, difficult, confusing, emotional time so far (for the family there by his side and for me being far away). There’s tons we don’t know yet and very likely a long road ahead: but here’s the point.  In amongst tests and ambulances and doctors - so, so, so many doctors, I think 32 at last count - my sister said that to every single doctor or nurse who came to help him and ask que...

February 17, 2020

Handel’s Messiah: sketchnoted

It’s coming on towards Christmas, and one of the traditions I’ve always loved is listening to Handel’s Messiah.  Beautiful music. Meaningful music, drawn from the oldest Book of them all. And a feeling of being swept into glory.  My family would often go together to listen to it sometime before Christmas. My parents found this local organisation who performed it, and every year they had a new T-shirt you could buy. My dad was a collector of tshirts of all kinds, and these ones of...

November 25, 2019

Rest takes practice

Whether you've never been a person who rests well, or you have gotten out of the habit, being comfortable with rest will not come easily. It involves silence. And solitude. And quiet. And perhaps some introspection. None of which come easily to most of us. But the main reason is that we have built ourselves a groove of 'busy-ness'. And like any other new habit, or change in life, it takes practice until we begin to settle in and even enjoy it. This is a hard concept for me. Just as work...

July 18, 2016

Rest: Start with solitude, discipline, and boredom

One of the elements of true rest is solitude – because rest at its heart sees us at our heart, and meets God in His. But one of the results of the modern world, modern technology, and our instant-response generation is that we are not used to solitude. We don't like it, and we don't know what to do with it. "iPhones are killing our discipline, killing our ability for solitude and killing our ability to be bored." (James Victore)...

July 3, 2016

Rest: Rooted in thankfulness

A restful heart is a thankful heart. The person who is truly at rest, and also continues to seek it, is full of gratitude and thankfulness for the situation they find themselves in. This is because true rest is rooted in Jesus Christ Himself, and in an understanding that He is a sovereign King who always is at work for our best. ...

June 27, 2016 Posts 1-25 of 30 | Page next
 

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