17 April, 2016


For the last week I’ve been challenging myself to actively join in the #growingtolive movement, every day. Each day I wrote down what I’d done to make that day a growing experience, and a few of my thoughts on what I'd done and learned.

Here’s how it started:

We’d gone for a walk that afternoon, and as we were discussing some Bible verses, something prompted me to launch into a passionate rant on making the most of what I called some of our most capable years: 18-25. I said the expectations society puts on them were crazy. Those years were meant to be a training time, a preparation for greater responsibilities. I said it was a time to learn, and a time to give, because that’s the age when you have the most heart to put into things, so put it into something that matters. It wasn’t until I’d finished spewing my opinions that I realized: Oh, hello; I’m talking about myself. I’m that age. What am I doing? How am I making the most of these years?

The same night, I was browsing a few blogs, and came upon Miss Aaliyah’s latest update of the #growingtolivemovement. I was sitting there contemplating how I could take part in it, when I realized these two topics were linked. The moral to my rant earlier was that we need to make the most of these (and all) years of our life. The #growingtolive movement is about making every day count, and using each day to grow – growing to live, and living to grow. (Well, that’s my personal interpretation of it, anyway.)

I decided to challenge myself to a week of growing to live. I purposed to do something every day, mostly something creative, to break the ordinariness of each day, and just grow and enjoy life. I also planned to look into what God says about creativity, and growth.

Day One
I wanted to do something, a creative project, something to stretch myself, and give. But the day got later, I got tireder, there were things I had to do, and the creative extra didn’t happen. But I was thinking – the challenge is about living and growing. Looking back in days to come, what will really matter? I decided that taking my brother to work, taking my mum for an appointment, helping the ladies at the show hang the quilts and needlecraft display, playing scrabble with my brother and sister, and doing music practice was more about growing and living than I could’ve expected. I think the being creative is only a growing experience if other responsibilities are fulfilled, and doing things to stretch ourselves is only living if it’s not taking away from time we should be spending with family. In the end though, I did express myself creatively – I wrote a (very rough) draft for an article.

Day Two
Today I was determined to do something new and creative, something untried. My sister and I went to get the mail, and on the way back I picked a leaf; the biggest, most perfect leaf I could find. Somewhere in the recesses of my memory I thought it was possible to artificially skeletonize leaves. I looked it up, and got a general idea, but I never bothered to look at the details (note to self: it would’ve helped if you did). I picked some more leaves and put them all in a pot with water and bi carb soda and left it boiling for a while – autumn soup as the siblings dubbed it. The autumn soup bubbled away until I inspected a leaf and thought I’d already overdone it. The idea was to get a toothbrush and rub at the leaves, and the green bits would fall off and lovely skeletons would remain. Mostly what happened is I rubbed too rigorously and destroyed the leaf, or I rubbed and barely got anywhere. It really didn’t work, but I still learned something, and I kind of got one half a leaf skeleton. Not to be deterred, I put the water off the leaves into a dish, and soaked some paper in it to dye it, and use it for stationery. That did work. 

Then, if we’re counting creativity, I made some muffins as well. And they were, I mean are, gluten-free, and contain beans. And if that turned you off, they are soft and spongy, and taste nice too.

Probably what I would consider most enriched my day, was taking photos of the stars and moon tonight. I went out and noticed how bright the stars were, and the moon looked pretty – there was only a sliver of it - so I took some photos. Not that photos can ever reflect what it's like to stand under a cloudless sky overflowing with stars.

I’m still thinking: what really turns a day into really good for me? What makes me feel really alive? Creative pursuits are good, and completing a project is a good feeling, but I don’t think that’s a growing to live feeling for me. I want more. What makes me feel alive is giving, talking about God, stretching my imagination in that line. And learning, learning about God, and fascinating facts about life and what makes things happen, and people think the way they do, and why, and how, and how it all links with God and the way He made us. Perhaps this exercise is more about finding what I really enjoy in life. 

Day Three
Today I enhanced my normal day experiences by doing violin practice outside. It was slightly annoying with the sun reflecting off the white pages, and the wind playing with them at times. But it was good; I might do it again. It just makes life more interesting, to borrow a phrase from my younger self. :)

I also managed to take a lot of photos, and I think what my sister and I made for lunch ought to count as well. We had crunchy baked potatoes, onion and zucchini with lentils in gravy, and homemade pita-style garlic and basil bread. It tasted good. 

Tonight, after working out some details while in the shower, I made a little card. It already had a picture on it, and I cut out some words and letters from a magazine and a piece of yellow vellum, and arranged them on the picture. It reads, “Every time I think of you I feel blessed.” 

Day Four
I was in the middle of further investigating our being made in God’s creative image this morning, when plans changed. So, my growing to live, living not just existing, doing what makes my heart sing experiences today would be: watching people at the mall, talking to a friend on the phone, and brainstorming a new idea. 

Day Five
Today it was: going to town, driving with the windows down, doing the groceries, and browsing at the library. It’s weird because I didn’t want to do the shopping, but when I did, I may have even enjoyed it. Seeing and spending time with my grandparents and my music teacher also made the day brighter. 

Day Six
I cooked something for tomorrow’s breakfast – cooked apple, and blackberries, with a meant-to-be-cake-like topping that will hopefully taste delicious - I think that counts.
I also went and took some photos of the sunrise this morning – it was really colourful, and there was fog, which always makes things better.  And I read a book, which shouldn’t count because it took me from things I should’ve been doing, but it’s been so long since I’ve just sat and read a book, and gotten into a story. It was just nice. 

Day Seven
Today’s living experience was a sweet one. :) A friend came over, and she had a few-day-old lamb with her. I could hear him baa-ing, and I peeked out the back door to see if I could see him, but no, I couldn’t. All of a sudden his head and neck appeared from the side of the house, and he looked at me and baa-ed – his questioning pitiful baa. I guess that was the end of me. :) Later in the afternoon, I fed him, and then just sat/lay there and talked to him, ruffled him up, and rubbed him. He started to walk away once, but then he turned around, tossed his head, and came running back to me, sliding stop and all. Then he curled up next to my legs, and went to sleep. It started to rain a little so I picked him up and took him to the veranda, and watched him investigate everything. I always thought I had no motherly instincts, but I seemed to have proved that my affection for baby sheep is pretty strong. I forgot to mention that he had a brown nose, and brown spots on his legs, which were too large for him, making him adorably clumsy. :)

So that’s a brief summary of my week of growing to live! (I know you’re doubting the brief bit, but the original document was over three thousand words, so be thankful. :)) I’m glad I did it, because I think I did learn some things, and try a few things I wouldn't normally take time to do. I also spent a lot of time thinking about the spiritual side to this, and hopefully I’ll share some of those thoughts in coming posts. I’m still kind of reeling thinking about the wonderful way God made us, and that all He wants to do is adopt us back into His family.

A special thanks to Aaliyah for beginning this #growingtolive movement, and if you haven’t seen her introductory post, go and read it here! What do you think about the growing to live idea? How do you make each day a growing experience? What makes you feel alive? And, what’s your favourite baby animal? :)

P.s A totally unrelated fact, but the talented and inspiring Janie just hosted me on her blog. You can read my guest post here, if you want to, and she also interviewed me here. While you're there, make sure you read some of her writing too - it's always an encouragement and blessing to me. :)


  1. This made me ridiculously happy. Thank you SO much for doing this. I can't get over what I just read. I am so glad people are taking part in this!

    1. Thank you for putting the idea out there, Aaliyah! And for your sweet comment as well. :)

  2. The pictures are all beautiful, but wow, that night sky is stunning! There's a fair amount of light pollution where I live, so I'm used to just seeing the brightest ones.
    I'm interested in those muffins... :) Were the beans blended? Or mashed? I've had pretty equal amounts bad and good luck with gluten free recipes, so I'm always up for yummy recipes! Actually, all of the food you mentioned has me hungry :)
    I love the idea of this project, and how every day you found some way to be creative. It's inspiring!

    1. Yes, I really enjoy going outside at nighttime and just looking at the stars - there's way more overhead than photos can ever capture...

      I know what you mean with gluten-free cooking - I've had some not-so-brilliant experiences too. :) About the muffins - yes the beans were blended. I softened some dates in milk on the stove, and blended them together with cooked red kidney beans (out of a can), and a vanilla bean. Then I mixed that in with gluten-free flours, carob (similar to chocolate) powder, some liquid sweetener, and bi carb soda. I'd put in carob chips too, except we didn't have any. That's the basic recipe, and it makes a great cake too. To be honest it has one of the best textures I've found in gluten-free cake/muffins. Anyway, let me know if that made sense, or you had any more questions; I'm more than happy to share! And do tell me if you try cooking a cake or muffins with beans! What's one of your favourite gluten-free recipes?

      I'm glad this could inspire you - all the best with whatever projects you undertake, and thank you so much for commenting!

    2. Mm, that recipe sounds really good!! I have a brownie recipe to try that calls for black beans, but I never thought about using kidney beans. A recent gluten-free fail was a muffin that was coarse and fell apart, so I'm encouraged that the texture was so good!
      One of my favorite gluten-free recipes is a simple one for biscuits. It has a really nice hearty taste that goes well with soups.

      Thank you so much for answering my questions -- I'm definitely excited to try baking with beans now! :)

    3. I hope it goes really well for you Mary! Do let me know. :)

  3. I liked reading this. :) and the photos were pretty good too. It's nice to hear what you do from day to day.

    1. Thanks. :) I was debating about whether anyone would really like to hear what I've been doing the last week, so your commenting was encouraging. :)

  4. Your photographs are so pretty! You took them all, right? And reading about the lamb was adorable. :) I can just imagine him running back to you in his cute way. :)

    As for the main point of this post, AMEN. It is so good and beneficial to continually be studying ow God works and how we are t live life more fully, to glorify Him! It is something that makes life for me so much more special and MEANINGFUL! Thanks for this. :)

    1. OOH, forgot to say something about your last picture and about that card! I like that picture before you described what the whole thing say, but more after you did! I hope you don't mind that pinned it! (I pinned the first picture too.)

    2. Thank you - yes I did take them. :) Glad you enjoyed reading about the lamb too. He was so cute. :) Do you have pets?

      Yes! It's encouraging to hear someone else enjoys pondering how God works, and how He wants us to live! It fascinates me...

      And thank you for your kind words about the card! I don't mind at all that you pinned it. In fact, I have another photo which shows the whole card - I'll send it to you on Pinterest!

      Anyway, thanks so much for reading and commenting, Maggie! :)

    3. Yep, we have one very old dog who's a sweetie, and my little brother has a very fat bunny.

      It is encouraging for me too! He is awesome.

      Haha, oh good. I saw the whole thing, and it is so pretty, as I expected from seeing the bottom half!

  5. Nice shots there, especially the first two, and the ones of the lambs, I also have a few lamb shots I have beem meaning to do a post about, though they are my neighbors lambs.

    1. Thanks Clare! I'll be looking forward to seeing your post with photos of the lambs - sheep are my favourite animal. :)

  6. THAT FIRST PHOTO....WOW. *insert heart eyes emoji in here a thousand times *

    1. Haha, thank you Rosi! Isn't our Creator such an artist?!


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