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In Her Eyes

Last night after a speaking engagement I stopped a lady and said: “Excuse me, I have I met you before?”.

My heart and life were immersed in her eyes and I couldn’t shake the feeling that we had encountered each other profoundly. She said to me I’m a midwife and my knees buckled slightly.

I smiled and thanked her “yes indeed you were my midwife when I gave birth to my son six years ago.” As I sat and chatted, internally I was trying to shut down my memories.

Breathe in and out.

They flooded as I looked into her eyes remembering that moment after midnight asking without words whether my child in distress would be okay?

The birth of my firstborn Maximus was far from the slow breathing I had expected. After a day of labour and waiting, my husband took me back to the hospital on a whim. As this midwife put the heart rate monitor on my stomach, her face betrayed her emotions as she quickly exited the room.

It was my first pregnancy and experience of birth, so I was slightly confused, but across my experience, I had found hospital staff to have the position of giving as much information as necessary and empathy was far from their calling card.

She ran in with an obstetrician (who was not my own) and quickly shouted that I needed to remove all my jewellery because I would be going straight into surgery. It was her eyes that drew me. If she had not moved that night quickly in February, I would not have my little boy snuggling into my side as I now write.

One of the lessons I am learning in embracing slow is to look into another’s eyes and acknowledge the pain they are facing even if it remains unspoken. We can pick up so much in our everyday worlds by just slowing our eyes to connect deeply with people we meet in our daily lives.

“Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.” Luke 7: 44 (NIV)

This story in Luke takes us to a moment when the disciples were trying to move Jesus on so that they could quickly pass the drama of the story.

Eyes tell a story that no Instagram filter can cover. They are a window into the soul and when we slow to look into the eyes of another the empathy that is available to see is a gift. Have you ever walked the street and not wanted to engage in someone’s story, the first point of reference is never to look them in the eyes.

Eyes engaged. Story entered.

Before this passage in Luke, Jesus had listened to the disciples try and move him on from this woman and her story. Insert “Don’t look, Jesus, you don’t know what she has done.”

“When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is — that she is a sinner.” Luke 7:39 (NIV)

The power of embracing slow is having the time to engage in someone’s story, even when it is awkward. To take a chair and to sit with those present in the midst of suffering. We don’t need to offer answers but just the dignity of looking deep into their lives.

My goal this year as I embrace slow is to look into the eyes of those before me. The barista, checkout operator, the cleaner in the bathroom and those standing to wait at the end of my speaking engagements. It is easy to move quickly through a crowd to remain unnoticed but when we purposefully listen to hear rather than formulating our answer empathy is empowered.

Dear Jesus,

Help me to look into the eyes of strangers and bestow compassion as you did. Help me to slow in my awkward moments to listen as to understand rather than reply. And lastly, teach me how to ask questions that honour the story of those in my presence.

In the name of Jesus

This is a part of a 40-day journey called Embracing Slow. You can find more devotionals in this series here and here

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the art of making slow

Without even thinking I typed fast sourdough recipe into google. I giggled as I saw the results with a blogger writing at the top of the search results.

“There is no fast way to make sourdough”

I had an event that afternoon and making bread was an afterthought but I remembered why I started to learn the art of artisan bread making because it made me slow.

It takes hours. Three simple ingredients but minutes upon minutes of autolysing, resting, growing, moving, changing and waiting for the magic freshness of bread to arise.

A little like humans really. We live in a society that promotes quick success. Overnight reality star explosions, tick, tock “hello and I have arrived.”

Yet the greatest gift to any celebrity is the growth that is crafted in the art of slow. Moments of humility, times of waiting and pounding the pavement after audition after audition finding their voice.

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls.”

Mother Teresa

Each and every time I sink my hands in the sourdough process, I enter the silence. There is something powerful about resting technology in my life and coming back to something that thousands and thousands of women before me have engaged in. The art of making something from scratch. I quieten both my heart and mind surrendering to the practice of simply being.

“Quiet down, far-flung ocean islands. Listen!
    Sit down and rest, everyone. Recover your strength.
Gather around me. Say what’s on your heart.
    Together let’s decide what’s right.”

Isaiah 41: 1-2

Recently I read a scripture that literally stopped me in my tracks. Our culture promotes busyness and striving. The hustle culture has held us captive with the lie that “he who dies with the most stuff wins”. However, I know deep in my heart that is the worst motivation for living a life of purpose. Thessalonians uncovered pure gold when it encouraged me with this.

“to make it your ambition to live quietly and peacefully, and to mind your own affairs and work with your hands, just as we directed you,  so that you will behave properly toward outsiders [exhibiting good character, personal integrity, and moral courage worthy of the respect of the outside world], and be dependent on no one and in need of nothing.”

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

What if our ambition in life was to live a quiet life?

What if purposeful, slow living became our goal?

Dear Jesus,

Help me to embrace the rhythm of silence. When I get lost in the stress and striving that makes my heart beat faster, remind me of the seed that has been planted in my life. The seed that is growing in your grace and timing. Help me to say no when everything in me is saying yes out of obligation. Help me to embrace silence and simplicity as a discipline to hear you more. Help me to discover the beauty of my every day, walking in step with you.

Be still my heart


Over these next 40 days, Em Hazeldean and I will be unpacking our wrestle with embracing slow. Through the season of lent which is a call towards the simple and present.

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Disconnecting to Reconnect

The more social media we have, the more we think we’re connecting, yet we are really disconnecting from each other.”


There is a busy epidemic in our society. Social Media, the hustle movement and comparison trick us into believing that busyness equals success.

Have you wondered what it was like to embrace slow?

Has your heart been leaning towards the simple and present over the perfect?

Yesterday I spent most of my day phone free. It was a weighted distraction that had been lifted from my body. There were moments (if I am honest) that a little wave of panic flashed across my mind as I wondered whether anyone had been trying to contact me.

Social Media often makes me very unsocial. Running around online making sure all my pots are boiling. Checking in, answering messages, promoting events and sending out love to those I have never met. Yet those in my present sit, my beloved’s, patiently waiting for me to answer their questions.

Then enters Mary. She kind of annoys me. Okay, she frustrates me a lot. Reminding me that sitting at the edge of what is presently awaiting the gift of my attention. Often it is Jesus.

Luke 10:38-42

“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Often the answer we end up assuming is “It’s all or nothing.” That is it, I am removing all apps and social media from my life. However, I am learning that discipline in the little brings great reward in the end.
How can we love the possibility and technology of the online world but at the same time master it?
I am learning it is a paradox that applies to every part of our lives and learning to slow, take the time to say no and then begin again is the beauty of the human condition. We can be both productive and slow. We can be both successful and rested. We can be both hard working and intentional.
“The mark of a wild heart is living out the paradox of love in our lives. It’s the ability to be tough and tender, excited and scared, brave and afraid- all in the same moment.”
Brene Brown
Accountability from my friends is a great gift in my slowing journey. Having conversations that ask the same questions and don’t finish with awkward silence. Admitting my obsessions and allowing grace to lead me home.
We can be both purposed online but also present.
We can be both effective and slow.
We can take the time to be intentional with our passions but not allow them to take over everything.
We can be tough and tender, excited and scared, brave and afraid.
This is the human heart awaiting the revelation of the God who walks aside and also within.
Dear Jesus,
I ask forgiveness for the times that I have allowed others opinions to overshadow that of yours in my daily life. When busyness has become my hallmark of purpose, rather than sitting at your feet with peace and wonder. Help me to discover the fruit of the spirit in my everyday. And help me to Sabbath often from the things I delight in more than you. Help me embrace slow. 
Over these next 40 days, Em Hazeldean and I will be unpacking our wrestle with embracing slow. Today begins the season of Lent and it is a call towards the simple and present.
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Embracing Slow

Be brave. Be strong. Don’t give up.

Expect God to get here soon.

Psalm 31: 24

It is 3 o’clock in the afternoon and I am still in my pajama’s. Today I declared ground zero for my family and called everyone in sick. It doesn’t happen often but I know when the signs are flaring and my littles needed a free-flowing home day.

I picked up my recent knitting work in progress and found a way through the frustration of winding down. I have just come off the back of speaking five times in four days and my mind was whirling.

I often struggle with the need to please others. Thinking that my meeting a need will be a quick fix to the ache lying beneath. Questioning my life’s meaning, purpose and fulfilment. The lie that whispers in our ear telling us if we do more, be more and have more then we will win the race.

Maybe we are afraid of the mundane because society continually promotes success as “escaping our every day”. Instagram taunts if we have a perfect holiday, body, car, boat or experience then happiness is guaranteed.

What if the everyday ordinary was where the treasure lies?

What if the possibility of happiness and peace is unearthed in the mundane?

When I read Psalm 31 telling me to be brave, be strong and to not give up, I immediately lean towards the hope in my future. However, I am realising that bravery is required most often to say no to that which is distracting and yes to our best practice in the mundane.




Showing Up



The list goes on and on.

How we uncover our character in the mundane is the truest walk of freedom in each and every one of our lives. When we spend our days trying to escape our every day, we will always lean toward striving, hustling and edge towards a place of exhaustion.

Over these next 40 days, Em Hazeldean and I will be unpacking our wrestle with embracing slow. Today begins the season of Lent and it is a call towards the simple and present.

Psalm 31: 3-5

You’re my cave to hide in,
    my cliff to climb.
Be my safe leader,
    be my true mountain guide.
Free me from hidden traps;
    I want to hide in you.
I’ve put my life in your hands.
    You won’t drop me,
    you’ll never let me down.

My desire is when I slow and face my present, remembering the beauty that I find in His presence. A cave of communion, the direction from One who has walked before and my rescuer who is present when no one else is.

Over this journey of devotion, I am limiting my time with technology and leaning my ear towards his soft whisper asking me to walk in His steps and ways.

Dear Lord,

I pray for every person whose eyes flick across these words and I ask you to bring a blessing of hope and life. May our hearts slow to your beat and our ears incline to your voice. Where there is stress, pardon. Where this is hurt, healing. Where there is sadness, comfort. Where there is exhaustion, peace. Help us to find our hope and strength in you. Remembering that everything we face in the mundane is but a whisper in light of eternity.

Embracing Slow