I have found it very interesting to see how people have been responding this week to my new car. Those folks who know me well also know that I have needed to replace my old corsa for at least 18 months now.
I had my corsa from new (my first ever new car) after I had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I could no longer drive my old fiesta which was manual and did not have power steering. So my corsa was purchased, it was automatic and a kind acquaintance from church who had a firm that did alterations for Motability put a steering ball on it so I could drive with minimal use of my wrists. Having that car meant I could fully do my job as an Occupational Therapist again, as I used to have to do lots of home visits which meant I needed to drive. This was all more than 12 years ago.
That little car has been brilliant very rarely has it let me down. However with my deterioration in health this year it got to the point where I could no longer easily get in and out of it. The corsa's health has also been suffering and when I got it through its annual MOT this year it came home with a very long list of recommendations!
So I finally got round to phoning our local garage to ask about a car that I first tried out about 2 years ago. I like Vauxhall cars, I like using the same garage - there is a certain amount of trust that builds up when you use the same folks. I called them and said the time has come, I knew the model that would suit my mobility needs, I knew I needed an automatic, I knew that getting a second hand model was going to be very difficult as not many folks drive small automatic cars.
My knowledge was correct - there was only one used car that this garage had access to on the national database (that's the whole of the UK), that fitted my requirements. Therefore it took very little persuading that this was the one for me. If I had wanted to get a brand new one I would have had to wait at least 4 months for it - that was unrealistic. So my choice was made.
Now back to my title question, How do you Respond? to what you might say, in this instance it is to all the folks who have said to me ' wow it's a bit bright isn't it' or ' nice colour' (not giving away whether they are being sarcastic or not). I will not deny that it is a very different colour, it is very bright, I did have to go down to the garage to see a picture of it to be sure I could handle the colour! However when folks who do not know the whole story as to why I have brought this car make a comment about the colour - it has made me bristle. Get real, there is a story behind this decision as there is with most decisions we all make every day. This experience has certainly made me realise that I need to watch how I respond to the decisions that other people make that have consequences for all to see, especially when I have no idea of the stories that have brought about those decisions.
So now I have had my little rant, I shall try and reply politely to all the comments about the colour of my car - having been driving it for nearly a week now, I love it colour and all (It's also very easy to find in a car park).
Finally our downstairs cloakroom has been decorated! We have now been in our house for 7 and a half years and this is the final room to be decorated. There is a reason we were leaving it. We had grand plans drawn up when we moved here and planning permission gained to put and extension on the house which would have meant this room would have been moved. When we had the kitchen done some 5 years ago we had plumbing put into the Garage which is behind the wall you can see in the photos. This meant they had to take the sink off, I took that opportunity to go and buy a new sink knowing we would eventually want a while suite. It now feels as though we have given up on our planned extension - having had to buy another new car there is not likely to be any money available for a very long time.
We have therefore got it decorated.
We have done it all ourselves, I even managed to lay the tiled floor without being able to get on my knees - quite proud of that! The towel rail on the bottom of the cabinet means that the kids no longer try and shove it behind the radiator every time they have finished with it. The mirror is from here , the cabinet is from Ikea. The poster on the wall of the UK is hopefully going to get some information absorbed into my children's head while they go about their business! The blind means the neighbours no longer have to watch our shadowy figures now the evenings are so dark.
It may be just a downstairs loo - but I am really loving having it looking nice.
It was my mums birthday on Sunday. Her first birthday since her youngest daughter died. To do something very different for her we went to the beach. We couldn't have done this with Sally, her wheelchair would never have coped with the sand. It was a quiet and pensive day because we all knew that someone was missing.
This week is hopefully the last of my official sick leave. I have been off for almost 4 months, that's the longest I have ever had to take off in all my working life. It has been a roller coaster of emotional experiences. From out right relief at having the excuse to focus on my health and my family and that is it. To fear of the future, our finances and feeling trapped with no escape.
It has been very timely to find that Ann Voskamp on her blog Holy Experience has been talking about Resting. This has been another part of my emotional roller coaster in the last few months. The bottom line is I find it incredibly hard to do. I constantly give myself other things to concentrate on, even if that is just silly facebook games (though these have occasionally been a life saver). So this week with gentle reminders from Ann I am taking time to properly rest. I am spending time with God, not constantly wondering what he wants me to do - he gave me a plan last week for returning to work.
This afternoon I took a gentle walk with my husband, we didn't chat about anything in particular but just enjoyed a bit of time holding each others hands and looking at shades of Autumn all around us. This is the sort of resting I am having with God, not constantly chattering or straining to hear, just being with Him, taking time to notice the things He has made and marvel at the seasonal changes He gifted to us.
Returning to work is going to take another period of adjustment - I have no idea how well I am going to do back at work but I do know that it will undoubtedly take a lot of my energy. I am also coming up to the anniversary of my sisters death on November 27th 2008. Work, I am hoping might be a good distraction through this time. Memories and reminders are still so incredibly painful.
For my dear friends who have helped and supported me through this time off I am very grateful. There are many folks who I have not had much (if any) contact with. There are a variety of reasons for this, but I know that those who still consider me a friend will respect the quietness of my friendship at the moment.
If you look very closely you might just be able to pick out a needle and thread and some beads. As I have been sat on the sofa rather a lot in the last few months a very kind friend came round to try and inspire my craftiness. She has introduced me to the world of threaded beading. I was amazed at how simple such an intricate looking craft could be. I was hooked immediately. while we were on holiday during the summer I made bracelets for all my 3 children (even my son wanted one - though he did request it to be all black!) and for my mum. My mum hasn't taken hers off since. It's a simple procedure of counting beads on and then back threading very soothing and therapeutic for me in both body and soul. A bracelet takes me about an hour.
Some weeks ago on deciding that I would make them as presents for children who had birthdays coming up I felt prompted to spend the time that I was making them in prayer. Prayer for the one person whose bracelet I was making. This is not a totally new phenomena for me as I have always enjoyed making cards and praying as you can see here. It was when I started to pray while making the next bracelet that I felt God asking me to pray for 'Blessings' for the person I was making it for. So as every bead went on a blessing was requested, some were specific some were not. This was just the most lovely way to spend an hour. This is the end result:
So I am calling these bracelets, 'Blessings bracelets', I did a rough count up when I had finished to find that in this children's bracelet there were over 365 beads in them - so there is a Blessing for each of the new days in their new year ahead.
Another fact that I really like about these is that I can do them in the colours that I know the children love, I know that means that a lot of girls are going to want pinks, but as with the one above as they get a little older their tastes do become a little more sophisticated.
Below are a small collection of adult bracelets that I made during the summer that have yet to find homes. I had an interesting conversation with my husband a little while ago when we were pondering answerable questions that we would like to ask God. One of these was 'Can you ask God for something in arrears - as in when the time you want it has already passed'. We decided that if He is Omnipotent then you must be able to as he lives outside of time! So with that in mind I have prayed over these bracelets and would love to give them away.
The first 4 people to email me their addresses can receive their 'Blessings bracelets' absolutely free, a gift from me to you.