If you’re addicted to personality quizzes, I wrote this for you.

quiz

Fair warning: I have a little bit of a bee in my bonnet today. And it’s something that I’m totally guilty of (which is probably why it bothers me so much. Isn’t that always the way?!?)

So I was bumming about on Facebook, as you do, and I saw yet another one of those quizzes where, in just 15 questions, you can know how introverted you are, how smart you are or how likely you are to bump into George Clooney at your local supermarket … OK, I made that last one up, but you get the idea.

Not only are the answers totally rigged (I know this because, according to Facebook, I have the smartest, most well-travelled, foodie friends on the whole Internet. Sorry chums, we both know you’re good, but you’re not that good!) and a complete waste of time, they’re also more than just a little bit damaging.

Since when did we become so one-dimensional that we can be classified in 15 questions?

I’d probably score minus figures on the introvert test but does that mean I’m simply a loud-mouth who loves nothing more than the sound of her own voice?

OK, sometimes I’m nothing more than a loud-mouth who loves the sound of her own voice, but I also adore peace and quiet and, despite evidence to the contrary, I do stop talking, sometimes! ๐Ÿ˜‰

You are brilliant and wonderful and delightful, just the way you are.

And as tempting as it is to think that just one more personality quiz will give us the answer to who we really are so we can be ‘fixed’ or, if only we knew ourselves a little better and look, this set of answers will tell us how to show up in the world, there is no set of questions on the planet that can give you the definitive answer to who you are and why you are here.

What if, instead, you could choose who you are?

That’s not to suggest that you have to choose to fight against who you were born to be (I was never created to be silent and I have absolutely zero intention of wanting to choose to be otherwise!)

This is about tapping into how you want to show up in the world, who you choose to allow out the door each morning, and accepting that that being is delightful, quirks and foibles and all.

You are God’s masterpiece and poem, his work of art and creation, and he does not need a do over (or yet another personality quiz!) to be reminded of just how wonderful you are.

loveel

Could Tuesday be the new Monday?

Girl Stirring Early Morning Coffee In A Cafe

Do you ever have the kind of weekend where you get to the end of it and it’s like you’ve had no weekend at all? Or, maybe you get part way into the new week and you find yourself feeling totally burned out already?

So, I have this theory …

You know how everyone complains about Monday? Well, not me. I love Mondays! That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy the weekend – of course I do – but I also love Mondays because they’re so full of potential and possibility. Kinda like a mini-New Year’s Day that comes around every seven days.

Maybe you feel a little bit like that too? And so you charge into the new week, full of excitement, raring to go.

And then Tuesday dawns and you’ve totally worn yourself out! Or maybe that’s just me?!? ๐Ÿ˜‰

But if it’s not just me, if you too feel yourself teetering on the edge of burnout, take this as your reminder to allow some fun into your today.

“Fun” is totally subjective of course.

If you’re running on too little sleep, there is no better fun than a nap. If you’ve been sat in front of a computer screen for too long, fun is getting outside in the fresh air. And if you haven’t got caught up on the last episode of Game of Thrones yet, you know what to do! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Seriously though, now is not the time to bend to someone else’s idea of fun. This is about knowing what makes you smile and choosing to do that. Because life’s too short to run it at full speed all the time.

And nope, that doesn’t mean that if you go too fast you’ll get to the end of it quicker (although I guess you might. Stress is bad for you and all that) but it won’t be as delightful as it could be.

And delight gets my vote, every time! ๐Ÿ™‚

Which leaves just one question … what’s the first fun thing you can do right now? Decide, choose, and then do it! Simples ๐Ÿ™‚

loveel

37 reasons to smile

man-person-red-white1

Yesterday marked my 37th birthday and as I was falling asleep the night before, I had an idea, in honour of this momentous number (I’m told by my children that I am now very old!) toย riff on 37 reasons to smile. It started out quite thoughtful and deep (in my pre-sleep swirly brain at least!) but then, after a brilliant day, I woke up this morning simply thankful for all the little things that bring a smile.

This list is neither deep nor particularly thoughtful but that’s entirely the point because, when I started to think about what makes a day wonderful sure, yesterday included presents and cake and flowers and I might not have carrot cake at 11am every single day but, it’s the little things that actually make life wonderful.

And so I give you my personal 37 reasons to smile this week (which was stupidly easy to list out even though it’s only Wednesday!) by way of inspiration.

You might start out your own list thinking it would be really difficult to find that many reasons to smile but, before you know it, you’ll be done! ๐Ÿ˜€

Here’s mine (I’d love to see yours!)

1. Finding craft materials for making fun stuff for El Post. (The envelopes arrived this morning and they are more kingfisher blue than TARDIS blue which I’m slightly gutted about but they’re still cute!)

2. Book babies. (Yes, I shared my birthday with Sandi’s book baby. Cool eh?!?)

3. Kindle. (Seriously, as I was saying to my fella yesterday over coffee and carrot cake, I love, appreciate and am thankful for the opportunities today that weren’t available even five years ago.)

4. Coffee and carrot cake. ๐Ÿ˜‰

5. Doctor Who. Enough said! ๐Ÿ˜‰

6. The surprise balloons and bunting my eldest daughter put up.

7. My wonderful, daft family wrapping my birthday presents in Hannah Montana paper.

8. Walking in the sunshine.

9. The word lush. ๐Ÿ˜€

10. And the Welsh word for microwave.

11. And butterfly.ย ๐Ÿ™‚

12. The beautiful bath bombs my daughters found for me (including this lush cupcake shaped one) which are now making my office smell amazing.

13. Beautiful flowers from my parents and sister.

14. Delicious feet (thanks to one of my other sisters.)

15. A son who knows me soooo well (and so picked this brilliant Doctor Who swag for me.)

16. Hair straighteners. (Because without them my hair is all over the place but, thanks to them, I could have pretty hair yesterday!)

17. Anticipation. (I can not wait for them to open. I’m learning just how much smell is important to me.)

18. Chocolate birthday cake! (Need I say more?!?)

19. The sun came out (albeit it 24 hours late!)

20. I learnt how to do a French plait in my youngest daughters hair – and it stayed in! (I had short hair as a kid and so my poor daughters have been stuck with boring old (easy!) pony tails for years!)

21. My favourite perfume. (Seeย #17 for why this makes me smile.)

22. Two novels for my new favourite author.ย (This is the lady who inspired me to write what I love most instead of what I think everyone wants from me.)

23. Waking up to a Facebook wall full of birthday messages. (You crazy lot!)

24. Wonderful emails full of happy birthday greetings and inspiration. (You know who you are. Thank you for emailing me yesterday!)

25. Warm caramel crunch for dessert in one of my favourite restaurants. (I had this one time, about four years ago, and have never seen it there since. When I booked the table for dinner I mentioned this to the waiter and bingo! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

26. Delightful new notebooks.

27. Wonderful old (treasured) notebooks. (I can not wait to back and look over this in 2019!)

28. Watching Molly leap around in huge circles when you walk her across a wide open space.

29. Charlie’s cute little paws.

30. Our postman. (It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s raining or sunny, he always greets me with a cheery smile.)

31. My bright yellow car. (It is almost impossible to be grumpy when you drive a bright yellow car!)

32. Freshly ground coffee.

33. Origami. I am totally inspired by this guy on Instagram. (He is just brilliant!) And, after mentioning in a kind of throw away comment to my mother in law that I’d love to learn, I finally can!

34. Far away friends who know me so well.

35. A long-suffering husband who totally spoils me.

36. The opportunity to share this crazy wonderful ride with you.

37. And last, but my no means least, today.

Because it is a gift and I vote we keep our eyes open for all the lovely little things that add up to make it delightful.

And now it over to you my lovely. Start your own list. Record it in some way (because if you keep it in your head it will feel so much less brilliant!) And then, if you’d like to, share it with me. I can’t wait to hear about it. ๐Ÿ™‚

loveel

One super simple way to make every day delightful

delight

I make no secret of the fact that I love Fridays but just last week I noticed something kinda funny … Fridays are both delightful, and I usually get shed loads done. Which, if you think about it, is really weird, because my goal for a Friday is to have fun and schedule as little work stuff as humanly possible.

Sure, there are things that have to get done (yes, I totally almost wrote ‘should’ then – for shame!) but those things always get done, no matter what, so they never see light of day on a to-do list or anything like that. (For the record, I despise to-do lists with a passion, but that’s a story for another time.)

So how is it possible that I could get sooo much done, when I’ve planned so little, and still have it be the best day of the week?ย Read More

The obligatory update (feel free to skip it if you’re not bothered!)

Apologies for the radio silence over the last few weeks. This blog post comes by way of explanation and includes some nice goodies for you so it could be worse, eh? ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s a bit of a long one though so maybe grab a cuppa? ๐Ÿ™‚

It’s been a roller coaster of a month. My big goal for October was to finish and launch The (new look) Itchy Soul and yet by the end of the month (and just a little way into the next one) I’ve done that and then abandoned it again and launched a whole other new thing.

The other new thing is actually the end goal of a website I’ve been pining for, for over two years. It’s a bit of a long story (one that I’d love to tell you) but too much for this postย so click here when you’re ready for that story.

The short version is, Youier.com is finally mine. And as a result of a massive amount of soul-searching, I came to the conclusion that my work over on Heaven and El was actually two different things.Read More

A website two years in the making and you’ve never even heard of it?!?

el-mollyWelcome to Youier, my virtual home, twenty-seven months in the making.

No, no, it’s not that I was being really slow or procrastinating (although that would be really, kinda ironic given my quest!) It’s just that I didn’t own the URL until three and a half weeks ago.

If you stumbled across this place and you have no idea who I am or my journey over the last five years, you might prefer to read the about page to get yourself acquainted because this post is more about filling in the blanks for people are thinking, ‘why on earth are you starting another brand new website El?!?’

My dad is a pretty good thermostat for what lots of people who know me might be thinking right about now

When I showed him this new site a few days ago his biggest concern seemed to be how you, my lovely reader, would react to ‘yet another website’. I reassured him that you’d cope with it just fine because it’s not like this is the first time I’ve gone ‘tada!’

And when I told him it was Youier.com, he got it, because he knows how long I’ve been building this website in my head.

Because this place, although it looks brand new,ย is 27 months in the making.

Read More

Are you ready to upset the status quo?

status-quo

Do you know how sometimes something happens and it’s like the exact opposite of what you were expecting? Or maybe it’s something that seems so left of field, you wouldn’t have even considered it as an option?

OK, so yeah, that was yesterday.

I was driving toward the (green) traffic lights, on my way to pick the kids up from school when an older lady, probably in her late 70s, decided to cross the road.

To give you a bit of context, this is a road with a pedestrian crossing, except that she didn’t press the button and wait for the green man. She just stepped into the road and proceeded to cross it, incredibly slowly.

Now I would love to tell you that I slowed down and waited patiently, without grumbling in my head about how she should have just waited for the crossing.

I’d love to be able to tell you that but that would be a lie. I did of course slow down and I had no choice but to wait, but I can’t say that I didn’t grumble a little bit! ๐Ÿ˜‰

And then the unexpected happened.

Read More

What if you could pick anything for today?

intentions

Did I ever tell you how much I love putting these posts and the accompanying podcast together each day? Honestly, my dream gig would be writing this each day and having that be my thing.

But I digress. Yes, I know, that happens a lot.

Anyway, the fascinating thing (to me at least) about this stuff is that I never know from one morning to the next what I’m going to write about. It’s kinda fun and keeps things fresh but it has one drawback … if something happens, one of the kids gets poorly or I have to run some unplanned for errand, you know the thing, then this doesn’t go out on time.Read More

How to survive in a culture that celebrates burnout

watchers

watchers

I was reading my friend LaVone’s blog post yesterday and she described herself as a watcher.

If you don’t know LaVonne, she’s a sixty something years young adventurer, travelling around the US in her home on wheels, cutely named ‘LaVanne’. She’s an inspiration and you should hear the stories she has to tell.

But that’s not why I’m mentioning her today.

At the end of her post she said, โ€œI like to watch. Is that so wrong?โ€ and, much like one of the commentators, I wanted to rush and tell her, no, of course it’s not wrong. You’re delightful and wonderful, just the way you are.

Thankfully for us though, LaVonne’s totally at peace with being a watcher. It’s all good ๐Ÿ™‚

But as I was pondering on today and what I might share with you (between you and I, I never know from one day to the next!) it did get me to thinking.

As I write this it’s Monday, a brand new week. I love new things. New weeks. New months. New stuff. New ideas. There is this temptation though to feel like we need to go big with the new.

We give lip service to the importance of rest and stillness but all the while living in a culture that celebrates burnout. Don’t believe me? When was the last time you saw anyone receive an award for sitting still and doing nothing?!?

If we do manage to stop for just a little while we feel like we have to provide an explanation as to why it is we feel justified in so doing. We seem incapable of doing nothing.

But what if we didn’t live like this? What if we stopped pushing and striving and contorting ourselves to fit in? What might that look like?

There’s a time for action and a time to be still, a time to reap and a time to sow, a time for tears and a time to celebrate. There is a time for everything.

But that everything has it’s time means, logically, some of the time we have to stop. Be still. Do nothing. Otherwise it’s all just out of balance.

Does the idea of doing nothing freak you out a little bit? Maybe you fear you’ll getting nothing done? Ruin your life? Waste your days?

But what if you could simply trust that those small, consistent daily actions you’re taking, mixed in with periods of still and quiet nothing, were actually the perfect antidote to theย burnout loving culture that we live in?

God did loads of cool stuff, made the world, and then rested. He didn’t first send a memo explaining that he’d worked jolly hard and now was his time to chill out.ย Instead, he set that day of rest as part of the rules for living for Moses and all the people after him.

We live in a post-Jesus world where much of the rules and guidelines of the Old Testament don’t apply any more (you should see the mixed fabrics I’m wearing today, for example) but some things, if we chose to hang on to them, would be great for us.

And that includes resting. Being still.

And so your challenge for today, if you choose to accept it ๐Ÿ˜‰ is to take 5 minutes today to just be, yes, even though it’s Monday!

Are you ready?
Get to it.
Until tomorrow, keep smiling ๐Ÿ™‚

Love El x

P.S. Remember, if you need some help working small, consistent actions into your day to day life, I have something special for you. It’s The Faith Exploration Lab. Click here to find out more and join us.