I'm a Christian, a designer, and a gadget fan who lives in Cheltenham, UK.

This is my blog, a creative outlet to mess around and play with as well as a place that logs my thoughts and inspirations.

Habits of Grace


After my posts and think­ing about dis­cip­line last week, on Sunday I decided to order Habits of Grace by Dav­id Math­is. It arrived yes­ter­day and the study guide that goes with it is set to arrive either tomor­row or Friday.
It’s a book that’s been on my radar for a while both for it’s sub­ject mat­ter, and if I’m being hon­est, it’s design. I’ve res­isted buy­ing it in the past because I’m aware I already have a large pile of books to I’ve yet to read, but hav­ing spent some time in pray­er, read­ing, and think­ing around this sub­ject I decided it was time to get my fin­ger out and order it.
I’m look­ing for­ward to diving in over the next month, all to often it’s easy to start grind­ing things like dis­cip­line in terms of hob­bies and pas­sions. As a Chris­ti­an ground­ing the desire for dis­cip­line and self con­trol in God and my faith is of far great­er import­ance. Doing that is far easi­er to say than it is to do, and so I’m hop­ing that this book, along with build­ing momentum by writ­ing here on my blog will help that muscle of dis­cip­line grow into more areas of my life.

Deep Prayer > Deep Work ›

There’s been a lot of talk on the inter­net circles I fol­low about focus and deep work. They’re thought pro­vok­ing and often res­on­ate with me, but there’s one thing I’ve been strug­gling to recon­cile in it all. The focus of all these dis­cus­sions is usu­ally aimed at put­ting your indi­vidu­al desires first, which does­n’t really jive with my Chris­ti­an beliefs.
Chris Bowl­er, in his excel­lently con­sidered art­icle Deep Pray­er > Deep Work, seems to demon­strate I’m not alone. In doing so he seems to cap­ture exactly how this kind of think­ing should be influ­en­cing my approach to my faith.

But over and over, I come back to the fact that while Newport’s concept of increas­ing our abil­ity to focus is cru­cial to a suc­cess­ful career, it’s even more cru­cial to a suc­cess­ful Chris­ti­an life. One that is lived attuned to the Spir­it. One that is care­fully watch­ing to see where God is work­ing, then ready and will­ing to join him in it. 

Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life on the assump­tion that this world is not idi­ot­ic, neither run by an absent­ee land­lord, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cos­mic can­vas that in due course I shall under­stand with joy as a stroke made by the archi­tect who calls him­self Alpha and Omega. 

10 Res­ol­u­tions for Men­tal Health by John Piper

The One Where I Announce I’m Now Self Employed

There are some posts you dream about writ­ing, posts you’d love to write but nev­er think you actu­ally will. This is one of those posts.
A few weeks ago I wrote a post about change. Chan­ging the way I approached some­thing has lead to excit­ing guid­ance and a big change in my career.
It star­ted with a con­ver­sa­tion with two very good friends of mine. One asked how work was, then fol­lowed it up with a query about what I really wanted to do. The oth­er laughed, asked me a ques­tion, set me a chal­lenge and then held me to it. That ques­tion lead me to writ­ing the last post about a change of approach, a change which, thanks to Gods guid­ance is lead­ing to a leap of faith.
What’s the leap?
On Fri­day 3rd August I worked my last day in full time employ­ment and spent my last day liv­ing in sunny (!?) Slough. The fol­low­ing day I moved to Chel­ten­ham, again. A place I atten­ded uni­ver­sity and a place that I love being in.
With that move came a change of employ­ment. I am no longer a rat run­ning a race, but instead a man work­ing as a busi­ness own­er. I’ve finally taken the leap into self employ­ment. Rely­ing on the Lord to sup­ply me with enough work to put food in my stom­ach and to pay the bills.
For a long time it’s been my ambi­tion to work for myself, even while I was study­ing at Uni I knew ulti­mately I wanted to have my own design stu­dio. It nearly happened straight after Uni after a little encour­age­ment from my tutor, but I knew it was­n’t really the right time. There was a lot I still had to learn, well let’s face it there still is. I’ve now been in full time employ­ment for 5 years. I’ve grown a lot, I’ve changed a lot and I’ve learnt a lot. I’ve exper­i­enced work­ing for a small com­pany and I’ve exper­i­enced work­ing for a lar­ger com­pany. Both were good exper­i­ences that taught me many dif­fer­ent things, but under­neath there was always this desire to have my own com­pany bub­bling away.
I’m delighted to say that has now happened. I’ve had a little hol­i­day, moved to a new (old) place and am at the end of my first week of self employ­ment. It’s excit­ing, a little daunt­ing but feels like the best decision I’ve made. Except that I did­n’t make it, God showed me the door and I pushed it. Now I’ve got to con­tin­ue push­ing doors, keep faith­ful to Him, and work as hard as I can.
In the next couple of weeks I’ll be able to intro­duce you to a new name and a new web­site. Of course this place will still exist and I hope to increase the level of writ­ing, and hope­fully build on some friend­ships that I’ve estab­lished through my blog over the years. It’s an excit­ing adven­ture, I hope you’ll join me on it!

Change

For the last few years I’ve been pray­ing about some­thing. I’m sure many of you have as well, but this par­tic­u­lar thing has occu­pied my pray­ers for sev­er­al years. I’ve been pray­ing about it in the same way for pretty much the entire time, ask­ing for guid­ance and dir­ec­tion in rela­tion to the thing. Dur­ing that time the urge to do that thing has grown. One could say its developed into some­thing close to a per­man­ent long­ing, some­thing that left me unsettled because I’m not doing it and I’ve nev­er really known why.
A recent con­ver­sa­tion with a very good friend left me feel­ing chal­lenged. He asked me a ques­tion and laughed at my response because it’s been the same response I’ve giv­en him for the last few years.
My response of course was to ques­tion why he was laugh­ing at me, I guess feel­ing like he was­n’t tak­ing me ser­i­ous. His response was one which caught me off guard. Instead of answer­ing why he was laugh­ing, he simply asked me how I had been pray­ing about this thing. I told him and after a moments pause he respon­ded with a chal­lenge. Why don’t you pray about it in a dif­fer­ent way?
He com­men­ted how that as I have been pray­ing for guid­ance this thing had grown in to a pas­sion and long­ing, that is to say some­thing more than moment­ary desire, then maybe I’d had that guid­ance and it was time to chal­lenge it.
So for the last month I’ve been pray­ing more earn­estly and in a dif­fer­ent man­ner. Instead of request­ing guid­ance about the thing, I’ve been pray­ing: Lord, I think you want me to do this, please show me if I’m wrong.
The res­ults have been breath tak­ing, sur­pris­ing and excit­ing all at once. A change of events has begun that, I believe, God is using to lead me into doing this thing I’ve been pray­ing about for the last few years. I’m a little appre­hens­ive, but the over rid­ing feel­ing is one of excite­ment. This post is not an announce­ment, yet, but maybe more of a watch this space…

That—in spite of everything, no mat­ter what, whatever it cost him—God won’t ever stop lov­ing his chil­dren … with a won­der­ful, Nev­er Stop­ping, Nev­er Giv­ing Up, Unbreak­ing, Always and Forever Love.

Sally Lloyd-Jones on The Gos­pel Coalition.

Gods Love

And keep in mind that hav­ing a daily “quiet time” or “devo­tions,” without com­mun­ing with Jesus, won’t keep your soul alive. Mere read­ing and study­ing won’t do it. By itself, new inform­a­tion about God—glorious as it is—won’t keep our hearts soft and our souls breath­ing. We need the per­son of Jesus him­self whom we find in and through the Scrip­tures. Our souls long for a liv­ing con­nec­tion with the liv­ing God-man. We were made for this.

Dav­id Math­is in Study the Word for More Than Words.

Study the Word for More Than Words

Wecloming 2012 and Setting a Few Targets

It’s that time once again when many people are post­ing reviews of the year just passed. I always enjoy read­ing these posts, see­ing the people I fol­low who have achieved all that or more than they hoped to whilst hop­ing those who did­n’t are able to in the com­ing year. I’m always drawn to writ­ing some­thing myself, and whilst my last year con­tains many high­lights – my trip to Israel, a sum­mer in North Wales and a deep­en­ing of friend­ships that have become increas­ingly valu­able – I always feel some­what hes­it­ant to “review my year”.
I think the heart of that hes­it­ancy lies solely in my feel­ing of a lack of accom­plish­ment. I nev­er feel I’ve achieved any­thing worth writ­ing about or high­light­ing. I call it the curse of the Inter­net. It’s so easy to spend time look­ing and com­par­ing what I’ve done to all the people who have achieved a great deal, all the people who’ve had the guts to sit down work hard and put them­selves out there. I’m always left reel­ing at, what feels like, my com­plete lack of gumption.
I am learn­ing though. Learn­ing to not let that fear of fail­ure or fear of no one noti­cing be the reas­on to stop myself from doing the things I want to. Thats why I’m writ­ing this post, to set out three small tar­gets to try and set me on my way this year. I think they are all achiev­able and am hop­ing they will set me on my way to accom­plish some­thing this year.
In the last year I’ve put weight on. Some people will argue that I needed to, I’ve always been a bit skinny, but in the last year I’ve put on a little too much. I weighed myself over the Christ­mas hol­i­days and well the num­ber at the start was too high. My first mis­sion is to lose a stone in weight by exer­cising more reg­u­larly and cut­ting out those little treats which have snuck into my diet.
The past couple of years has seen my blog fall in to decline, sig­ni­fic­antly. I’ve always enjoyed writ­ing for my blog, but the past couple of years has seen a lot of things change in my life and it did­n’t feel right to be writ­ing about them here. Nor did it seem right to con­tin­ue writ­ing about things which on reflec­tion are quite trivi­al when com­pared to the loss of loved ones. But time is mov­ing on, and I feel that it is time to pick up my pen once again and begin writ­ing for my blog with more reg­u­lar­ity. I real­ise I’ve said this before, and it’s got­ten past Janu­ary, Feb­ru­ary and into March before I’ve really real­ised I’ve not done any­thing I’d hoped to, so I’ve giv­en myself a num­ber to aim for. I’m going to try to write four posts a month. Not four link posts, but four art­icle posts, although I hes­it­ate to call them art­icles. There’ll be no word count, just ori­gin­al con­tent, con­tent I cre­ate because I want to and enjoy it.
The third thing I want to do is a little more open ended and prob­ably some­thing that every­one hopes to do. I’d like to use my time to great­er effect.
I’ve always been a night owl, I like stay­ing up late, the quiet cosi­ness of being up late with a small light on and my book, sketch book or Mac for com­pany feels great. The prob­lem is when you have a nine to five job that kind of beha­viour is not really help­ful. Hit­ting the sack in the early hours of the morn­ing and then rising only a few hours later to go to work is a recipe for dis­aster. Burn­ing the candle at both ends only really has one des­tin­a­tion for me, run­ning myself in to the ground and an onslaught of mouth ulcers. So in order to com­bat this tend­ency to waste my time, I’m resolv­ing to give my self a bed time and get up earli­er. My aim is to be up at six each morn­ing in order to do a half hour of exer­cises, then spend time read­ing my bible, pray­ing and whatever is left can be spent writing.
Re-read­ing that last para­graph makes it feel like a pretty big task, but I think knuck­ling down and doing it will help me to achieve the oth­er two points. More than that though, hav­ing a set time to sit and read my bible without dis­trac­tion will be the biggest bene­fit of all.
I’ve always admired those who are able to get up early and spend some time each morn­ing to do this. While I’m away in North Wales for two weeks every year, I spend time lead­ing a chil­dren’s hol­i­day club. When I’m there, life is so dif­fer­ent to my every­day life that I’m able to eas­ily get up early and spend time each morn­ing read­ing from the word. I’ve become acutely aware in the last few weeks that it’s all down to a mat­ter of atti­tude. I’m so aware of how import­ant it is in those two weeks to devote my time in such a man­ner, that it’s time to change my atti­tude and devote that time every morn­ing rather than in the even­ings when I find it harder to con­cen­trate and often run out of time. It’s some­thing that I enjoy, but often feel a need to do out of duty, yet, when I set time aside I’ve seen the bene­fits in my life and my rela­tion­ship with Jesus. I want to do it more and so this attempt to change my sleep­ing pat­terns is motiv­ated by that desire.
And so with that, please join me in rais­ing my hot black­cur­rent to 2012 and all it has in stall!