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Finding the hidden spaces

Last Christmas launches in cinemas today

I have a whiteboard in my office, that over the last few months I have been using as inspiration for goals, dreams and miracles in my life. It seems really basic, but writing up the prayers, intentions and scary leaps of faith that are in my everyday life has been a powerful tool for focus.

I stand in front of my scribbles on this big whiteboard and I pray about what is happening at the moment. In the middle of this white space of words, right now it says two words;

PeaceFULL Christmas.

It has a big circle around it and then I have listed out all the big projects that are taking up space in my mind. It’s like my brain is emptied out on a big piece of paper and somehow it helps me to remember what is important in the midst of a crazy season.

Peaceful and Christmas don’t normally sit together in my vocabulary. Joy and Christmas pair together quite well. But so does exhausted and Christmas as well.

Most years I end up having a disagreement with someone and often it is because of unmet expectations. I am a Christmas junkie, someone who likes to put up my tree early and watch Christmas films each night. With this passion though can come to a sense of control and loss of control that brings my walls crashing down.

Christmas is messy and I am learning that messy can be a trigger for my emotions and the chaos in my mind.

What does a peaceful Christmas look like to you?

Last week I saw the new film “Last Christmas” directed by Paul Feig and co-written by Emma Thompson. There was a whole heap of a family dynamic in this plotline and Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) stars as Kate the main character.

Shes walked the journey of illness for a long time and she has all but given up on happily ever after. She meets a sojourner along the way who is looking for a little bit of Christmas peace as well. His name is Tom and he said one line that held me captive for the rest of the film.

“I seek out the hidden places”

As he danced Kate through London, showing her secret laneways and clues to find inspiration in the midst of our daily lives, he whispers and tells her to “Look Up”.

Proverbs 3:2 says it this way;

“walking in wisdom infuses peace into our lives”

Proverbs 3:17 says;

“Wisdom paves a peaceful path through life.”

Proverbs 15: 18 helps me by suggesting;

“Our words can speak peace into conflicting circumstances.”

The ending of this film is just delightful and reminded me of the power of community at Christmastime. As I walk into this season with 40 days to go to Christmas, I am reminding myself that peace walks hand in hand with wisdom.

I will seek out the hidden places in my heart and continue to look up for strength and fortitude. Taking the time to believe the best in those around me and to look after myself with safety, so that I can reframe the crazy that can surround us sometimes, by remembering that boundaries are an important part of growth and discovery.

Peace I am looking out for you this Christmas.

I am leaning into the wisdom found in remembering that I am not my own, my heart is fully surrendered to Him. Wisdom asks that I take the time to reflect and slow down in the way I respond, to stop in the midst of challenge and look up, seeking out the hidden places within.

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Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional

Recently I’ve been on a journey of reparenting myself. It sounds deep and mysterious, but it has been hard work. Before we go anywhere with this article, I want to put in a strong caveat;

“My childhood was glorious, however, the work of reparenting myself has been necessary”

Boundaries are the elixir of maturity and I have needed to drink of its source greatly over the last year.

My word for 2019 was “Peacefull” but I didn’t realise the battle I would face in holding true to this stake I had planted firmly in the territory of my life.

Growing old is mandatory. Growing up is optional.

Chilli Davis

The act of reparenting ourselves is the capacity to truly dig into the spaces of our heart and lives, to learn with self-awareness the darker parts of ourselves and shine some light in there.

The Bible says in Proverbs 4:6-7, “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”

As I unpack this proverb and the longing for peace in my internal world, I have learnt, there is some major unlearning to do. Reactions to family dynamics, deep hurt carried and boundaries necessary for the new season coming in my life.

What does maturity look like to you?

Maturity across this year has looked like reparenting myself and teaching myself that I am safe. Also, it has meant looking at my friendships and alliances and asking myself whether it is balanced or codependent.

It has been hard work but in showing up to these spaces in my life, I am unwinding the emotional toll of carrying other people’s responsibility for too long and forming safer attachments.

Job says that Wisdom belongs to the aged, and understanding to the old.” (NLT 12:2) However, I look across culture and see so much pain in my age group, emotional difficulty and stress.

Some lessons I have been learning in reparenting myself and I am in no way an expert, I believe that psychologists and therapists are a great gift to our society but here are some thoughts that have been resounding;

  1. I am learning to objectively observe my parents and siblings behaviour.
  2. I am learning to objectively observe their relationship dynamics.
  3. I am learning to objectively observe the way that they speak about themselves and others.
  4. I am learning to objectively observe how they respond to my boundaries.
  5. I am learning to objectively observe my trigger responses in the way I react in my relationships.

Money is one of my greatest triggers. Fear rises and the safety systems shut down. When I sit with perspective and insight, I can recalibrate and find a middle ground, but in the midst of a conversation about money all my defence mechanisms repel.

Another area that sends warning signals and earthquake proportional emotions is food. There are parts of my food journey that have been deeply difficult and teaching myself to trust God, rather than “Man” in this journey has been formational.

The journey of reparenting oneself is finding those places of gut response and reframing the messages that we send ourselves about this response internally. Emotional reactions are a learnt behaviour and often we are not even aware of what is happening to us in these moments.

Wisdom, however, knows.

Wisdom is a deep place of knowing and forgiveness.

Wisdom is a chasm of great grace and a canyon of love.

Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.

Proverbs 4:6-7 (NIV)

Wisdom in my life is a God who truly sees every part of my life. He saw my childhood, He walked alongside my teenage years and He was present throughout my young adulthood. Did He stand removed in the midst of my trauma?

No, He did not. He was present and faithful, even though many times this sentence does not make sense.

Did he allow these things to happen to me?

Yes, He did. This, however, is the fulcrum point of free will. He cannot take back the free will he extended to our lives. We are not puppets who are controlled by an almighty being, we are responsible for the hurt we cause daily and the only person we can look to is our own actions, behaviours and ways that we have caused harm.

I am learning to ask forgiveness, mostly from myself. Forgiveness for the moments that I did wrong and the times that I let other people down. Shifting from this place of forgiveness, however, into one of grace and extending myself a space of both good and bad. This is the art of reparenting ourselves.

Saying “it is okay.”

Saying “you are safe.”

Saying “life will go on”

What places of growth can you look back upon this year with hindsight and remind yourself of?

Growth is painful, but the release of the emotional energy that it takes to carry all of the pain inside is priceless.

Wisdom holds me safe, now its time to let it go even deeper.

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My top picks for Christmas Reads this year

My Christmas Book Present List for 2019

Across the year, I set myself a goal to read fifty books. I increased the amount of fiction I was reading as well, replacing all the “Self Help” books, because my poor family couldn’t handle another intervention.

So here I am at the end of this year, and I wanted to write a list of my favourite books from this years reading-list and suggesting them through Book Depository as a great gift idea for the different readers in your world.

Novel Reading Kids:

THE CHRISTMASAURUS
(BUY HERE WITH FREE SHIPPING)

This book was such a favourite of my kids as we read it as a whole family leading into 2019. It is a story about a boy named William Trundle and a dinosaur named the Christmasaurus. They meet one Christmas Eve and have a magical adventure. It’s about friendship and families, sleigh bells and Santa, singing elves and flying reindeer. It’s about discovering your heart’s true desire and learning that the impossible might be possible.

Edgy Novel Reading Mum:

CITY OF GIRLS
(BUY HERE WITH FREE SHIPPING)

Beloved author Elizabeth Gilbert returns to fiction with a unique love story set in the New York City theatre world during the 1940s. Told from the perspective of an older woman as she looks back on her youth with both pleasure and regret (but mostly pleasure). If you have an edgy, novel reading Mum in your life, who needs a little cheese platter, champagne and a great novel, this book is brilliant.

Self Help Leadership Fiend

DARE TO LEAD
(BUY HERE WITH FREE SHIPPING)

I couldn’t compile a list of my favourites without including Brene Brown. Her writing and her leadership teaching are changing the world. This book is perfect for the leader in your life, that is looking for inspiration for their teams and work.

Storytelling Writer Friend

YOUR STORY IS YOUR POWER
(BUY HERE WITH FREE SHIPPING)

I read this book this year, and it changed the trajectory of my writing and speaking and helping us come back to the power of our individual stories and the healing nature of storytelling. This book is a brilliant pick for your storytelling writer friends and those wanting to learn more about their story.

Your event organising retreat friend

ON BEING HUMAN
(BUY HERE WITH FREE SHIPPING LINK)

As I travelled through Asia, running a retreat for a fantastic group of people, I would go back to my room and read this book, spellbound at the timing of it landing on my bedside table. This book is all about the power of retreats and events to help you celebrate being human. Jen Pastiloff talks about her gradual hearing loss and the need to learn to listen with her whole body. She is a yoga teacher, so if you get freaked out by this, then this book is not for you. It is a beautiful read and makes you want to run off to the vineyards of Italy and sing loudly with friends.

Novel reading best friend

WHAT ALICE FORGOT
(BUY HERE WITH FREE SHIPPING)

I have read most of Liane Moriarty’s books this year after devouring the television series “Big Little Lies” last year. This book is my favourite book of all of the books I have read this year from this prolific writer. Alice loses her memory amid a divorce and a new life that has awakened before her, begging those around her to go back to who she was before. A quick and easy, fun summer read.

A Christmas Read for everyone

THE SNOWMAN AND HIS SNOWDOG
(BUY HERE FREE SHIPPING)

Each Christmas, this book comes out from our dusty shelves, and we together listen to the soundtrack and get lost in the beauty of its design and story. Billy and his mum have moved into a new house, but Billy isn’t very full of Christmas cheer, as his beloved old dog has passed away. So when the snow falls and Billy starts to build a Snowman, he knows what to do- he makes a Snowdog too! Later that night, something magical happens, taking Billy on the most beautiful Christmas adventure. Be sure to search youtube for this short movie also. It is a delight in our Advent Season.

For The Christmas Lover

THE CHRISTMAS PARTY

(BUY HERE WITH FREE SHIPPING)

I have read four of Karen Swan’s books this year, in this genre of Christmas Romance. Are you still my friend? It has been beautiful to dive into the stories of characters and think a little less. Swim in the lake of words and laughter, drama and discontent. This latest release is just that, simple, fun and a great Christmas present for your novel reading Christmas lover. Reading Christmas novels has become my guilty pleasure over the last few years.

Hope that helps with some simple fun reads this Christmas, bringing back paper over screens and allowing reading to become our favourite past time once again. Happy Reading friends.

Amanda Viviers

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Dishonest weights: the wisdom of the ages

Week one: Wisdom for today.

“The Lord detests the use of dishonest scales, but he delights in accurate weights”

Proverb 11: 1

There is something about the short sentences that make up the chapters of proverbs that hold me captive. Over the last few months, I keep coming back to the book of proverbs, from the Bible, and it has held me safe in a season of much change.

What holds you safe in a world full of vengeance and rage?

It doesn’t take much to switch on the news and be impacted by the emotions of our culture and the injustice that heralds every corner. In the last few months, I have been deeply grieved by a betrayal from a friend.

Then I come back to proverbs, and I remember the power of integrity and the weight of the decisions we make daily, and I breathe deeply once again. Safety has been a reoccurring theme across 2019, and I think it is because I am allowing myself to feel the emotions that surface truly.

The Bible doesn’t tell us that anger is a sin; it redirects us to the consequences of what we do with that anger. Have you ever been betrayed?

It feels excruciating. The proverb I quoted at the beginning of this article goes on to say the following;

“Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”

Proverbs 11: 2

As I look across the vista of social media, I see a landscape of dishonest weights. Photos that don’t show the whole picture and carefully edited words. I am far from innocent, but as I reflect on a year coming to a close, I want to lean into spaces of humility and quiet, rather than platforms shouting out our fame.

Accurate weights.

Wisdom of words.

A balance of impressions.

Safety in friendship is a one-way bridge that we each walk carefully. Holding each other’s stories like a secure bank vault and weighing our decisions carefully. Honesty is good medicine that keeps us safe in the way that we walk together in community.

“Honesty guides good people; dishonesty destroys people.”

Proverbs 11: 3

I learnt a long time ago that we couldn’t change people. The only person we can change is ourselves.

Am I living in integrity?

Am I holding those in my community safe with my decisions?

Am I causing any harm?

Recently I went to Bali and ran a workshop for an amazing group of people, and one of my sessions was on the journaling method called the “Naikan Method of Self- Reflection”. What made this method of self-reflection powerful is it goes against the modern culture of making ourselves, to reflect on what harm we did to the planet and its inhabitants that day.

The Japanese businessman Yoshimoto Ishin who created this method is;

“Naikan is a Japanese word that means ‘looking inside,’ though a more poetic translation might be ‘seeing oneself with the mind’s eye.’ It is a structured method of self-reflection that helps us to understand ourselves, our relationships, and the fundamental nature of human existence.”

Gregg Krech

It begins with the premise that we all think the world and its inhabitants (and God) owes us something. We get to the end of the day feeling disappointed for the things that didn’t go our way and the people that didn’t serve our needs the way we thought they should.

What if we have it the wrong way round?

The Naikan Method calls you to write at the end of each day and to reflect through journaling these three questions;

  1. What have I received today?
  2. What have I given to someone today?
  3. What troubles and difficulties have I caused?

We can only show up to our honesty and the weights with which we make decisions each day. As we become more self-aware of the choices we make and the impact they have on others, only then can humility be a mark upon a culture, that is so self-focused.

Writing is a powerful tool for self-awareness so that we can continue to grow in the amazing gifts we have been given to sow. Releasing the pain of unmet expectations and believing the best for tomorrow.

This week I launched my latest book SEEKING CLARITY, a journaling, retreat Daybook to help you find vision and intentions for 2020. Paperback version $19.95 free shipping in Australia and download version $9.95

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Self Publishing 101

Self Publishing Tips

The landscape for self-publishing has changed significantly over the last decade. My first book Capture: 30 days of inspiration was a fun project that I was super excited about but I was a complete novice.

I have learnt many lessons along the way and today I wanted to bring you a Self Publishing 101 list of tools to help you along the way. Below is a very simple outline of some steps you could take. For a more detailed approach download, SOMEBODY NEEDS YOUR STORY today, a simple downloadable resource designed to help you publish your book.

I have an idea for a book what is the next step?

  1. Create a mindmap of the idea, with as much detail as possible. Mapping out your idea.
  2. One of the greatest gifts you can give your creative self is to make time with a writing mentor like Elaine Fraser or Amanda Viviers to create a book overview and plan.
  3. Non-fiction book plan template
  4. Fiction book plan template
  5. Create a detailed book chapter overview.

I have my plan and outline of my book what is the next step?

Write the book. This will take discipline and courage. I have created this online writing course “WRITE HARD” to help you get in and write your book.

Two tools I use regularly for writing is Grammarly and Scrivner. The main technique I use is the Pomodoro technique.

I have my manuscript now what do I do?

You will now need an editor. My editor is Emma-Lee Hazeldean you can find her services here.

You will need a designer. My book designer is Kellie Book Design and you can find her services here.

You will need an author bioI created a simple step by step process to help you create yours.

Self Publishing Printing

I have really enjoyed using Ingram Spark for my print on demand books. I have found them to be easy to use in the current global printing climate because of postage. They print in-country and send on land. For the month of September 2019, there is a free set up coupon: GETPUBLISHED

Ebook coupon: FREEEBOOK

It is normally $49 per copy. So if you are ready to publish this is a great offer.

Children’s Book Information

Novel and Non-fiction

Business and textbooks

ISBN:

You will need to purchase an ISBN number. I buy mine from here.

National Library Legal Deposit

In Australia you are required by law, to send a copy of your published book to the national library archives. Details can be found here.

Speaking opportunities:

One of the greatest ways you can sell your book is through face to face speaking opportunities. Here is the current recommended rates of pay for freelance writing and speaking opportunities.

This is just the beginning of the book writing and self-publishing process, if you have any more questions, take the time to book a time with a writing mentor.

Yours creatively

Amanda