Monday, 29 November 2010

Still Counting those blessings.

309.  My youngest taking charge of the dishwasher, even though it only lasted a couple of days.
310.  Flowers from my youngest Godson to cheer me up when a cold arrived most inconveniently.
311.  Blogs that continually inspire me.
312.  Facebook chats which are all I can manage when emotion takes over my voice.
312.  Hot orange squash to sooth my snuffles.
313.  Happy children glad to finish school on a Friday.
314.  The pain of another anniversary passing, helping by reassuring me that my sister will never be forgotten.
315.  Natures frostring on holly bushes.
316.  Piles of paperwork cleared in the house.
317.  Cold and frosty puppy dog walks.
318.  Cuddling up with this one next to me.



”holy

Advent Adventures

Come and see how my Advent Adventures activity morning worked

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

New work blog.

I recently restarted my work blog which had been neglected for about a year here on blogger.  However I have been having a niggling feeling about it for a while.  I am very careful about how I advertise this blog because I have never intended it to be for the eyes of all those closest to me.  In fact it has been a place that I have been able to retreat to.  I also have never wanted to overtly put any restrictions on who can view this blog, if people happen upon it, then I am happy for that to happen, this is how it helps me to keep myself accountable for my thoughts.  However my work blog I have always wanted to be able to shout about - when I have done something that has worked well then I want to tell others,  I have learnt so much and gained so much from other people doing this I wanted to be able to share to.  Up until now however I have not felt able to because of the link to this more personal blog.  Then suddenly the other night the solution appeared - use a different place to start a new work one!

If you are at all interested in what a children and youth pastor might be getting up to then please feel free to come and visit me at


http://lifeofacypastor.wordpress.com

I do intend to carry on blogging here as well, but will try and keep it non-work related! 

xxx.

Monday, 22 November 2010

More Monday Blessings.

298. A week of my husband away to make my heart ache for him like I forget it can.
299. The silence of a hug given away to show repentance.
300. The wise thoughts of another mother.
301. The wagging tail of my puppy as she holds her toy and looks at me, waiting.
302. Blessings at work.
303. Walking into a near silent and empty Cathedral at 9am on a Saturday morning.
304. Getting e-mail issues sorted swiftly.
305. Having children willing to try giving up family presents for Christmas this year following anothers example.
306. New red shoes.
307. The return to work of my kinship care support worker - I hadn't realised how much I need her!
308. Our first big party attended as a family of 5 (it was fancy dress!)!



”holy




”holy

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Remembrance Sunday

When I was 18 years old I was told something by my mother which changed the way I look at war.

My mother was born in Hamburg, Germany is October 1946.  Her mother was German, most of her uncles had been fighting with the Nazi's.  Her father was a British serviceman.  When his term in Germany ended he went back to England leaving his pregnant girlfriend behind.  We have a photograph of this serviceman, it is a family photo, he was obviously well accepted attending the engagements of one of my mums aunts.  He never made contact again.

My poor mum was born and then had a very tragic childhood, suffering the death of her own mother at the age of six, child abuse by step fathers (one of whom was put in prison), and then being adopted by a young aunt with no experience of children whose husband went on to abuse my mother until she left home to get married at 18 years old.

So Remembrance Sunday is not a day that I feel I can focus purely on the soldiers who 'liberated' us.  I have to remember the fallout that occurred to 'normal' citizens in 'normal' families like my own in England, Germany and many other countries.  Lives turned upside down and ripped apart because of War.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Fatigue

                                                                 image courtesy of google images.
 
My ill health has been a very strange journey.  It has brought hard times and good.  I have serum negative rheumatoid arthritis, this basically means that I do not show any rheumatoid factor in my blood but I do have raised inflammation markers in my blood and have had lots of other condition ruled out from tests.  It took a long time to get this diagnosis as a lot of doctors consider it a bit of  'I don't know what it is, so it must be nothing' approach towards it.

It feels as though so far there have been four very different stages that I have gone through.

The first 3 or 4 years (14 years ago) were characterised by severe joint pain that took a long time to get under control.  I could not walk very far, I was working as an occupational therapist and had to take about 5 months off work and there was serious doubt that I could return as my speciality required a lot of physical exertion.  Then with the help of finally finding medication that worked (immuno-suppressants) I started to improve again.

I then had two pregnancies within 2 years which led to a very unsettled time again as I had to stop medication for the last trimester in both and while I was breast feeding.

Following 2 or 3 rough years I then had a period of calm which lasted about 4 or 5 years.  I seemed to be very settled on a cocktail of drugs, immuno-suppressants, anti inflammatories and pain killers.  I would have bad days but also good times that would last months.  This period lasted a long time, so long in fact that I was seriously looking at coming off my medication.  I had been able to get back to work part-time, though in a less physically demanding position and not in the health service.  I was trying to walk to work as much as possible (a good 20 minutes walking briskly) and then it all changed again.

I was aware of increasing pain occurring in my knees, I found riding my bike becoming more and more impossible because of this pain.  After investigations it was found that I had developed osteo-arthritis in my knees as well as rheumatoid. It was decided that I would probably get some benefit from having arthroscopies on both knees and clean and smooth them out.  Unfortunately I was one of a very small percentage of people who did not benefit at all from the operation and in fact it made them worse!  On top of that my rheumatoid arthritis became very active (probably because of the surgery).  This has led to the last two years being extremely slow and painful.  The pain is now feeling more in control, I am on new chemotherapy drugs (another immuno-suppressant), I am managing to stay off pain killers just using an anti-inflammatory.

I so seem to be entering a different period though - FATIGUE, throughout the last 14 years it has always been there, but never been the main feature.  I am struggling to cope with it because it is sooooo frustrating!  It seems so silly to have to sit down after filling the laundry basket before I have got the energy to go and put it into the washing machine.  In fact instead of completely resting as I should be - I am blogging right now before I go and put the washing on.

The advantage of having all these different periods is that I know now that there is every chance that this won't stay around for too long.  In the mean time I need to take advantage of finding different ways to do/manage things, I need to consider my priorities very seriously.  These are good things to do, as my children are getting older it is also reminding me how much I need to ensure that they become more independent and not dependant on me.

So I might just stop blogging now, take a rest (perfect praying time) and then go and get the washing on!!!!!

Monday, 8 November 2010

Another week gone by.

This last week has been one of highs and lows - some fantastic experiences with my job and some disastrous ones at home.  I am determined not to be beaten by the lows though and continue to count the simple things in life which are such blessings to me:

288. Watching my eldest stick with her first knitting attempts with me.
289. Cuddles from little friends who I have missed while they have been on holiday.
290. Reading a good book in the middle of the night when sleep disappears, torch in hand.
291. Walking our puppy dog with fireworks going off around her and her not flinching at all - in fact she was watching them!!
292. A bath by candlelight.
293. Tears falling when they need to fall.
294. The leafless tree in my front garden, heralding the start of a new season.
295. The promise He gives to me that NOTHING is to big.
296. Cooking a Sunday lunch for my family.
297. A grateful son, doing his birthday thank you notes with no fuss at all.

holy experience

Friday, 5 November 2010

Self-harm

I found this flow chart of the Serenity Prayer posted on Father Simon's Blog .  Having had a lovely lie in this morning trying to finish a great novel that I have been reading for a few weeks.  I got up after the children had all left for school to find my dear husband in a bad mood.  One of the things that was bothering him was the fact that our two girls had assured him last night that they had both cleared their 'floordrobes'.  This morning he had discovered that they hadn't.  On further investigation of the state of their rooms he found a pair of scissors in our Eldest's bed.  She has been known to self-harm in the past before and around the time she came to us 18 months ago.  We have been able to talk about it in the past, she has recently asked me about getting stuff to try and make her scars less obvious.  My husband then tells me that she seems to be continually asking if we are going swimming at the weekends and saying she doesn't want to (not something we do at all regularly).

So - do I add these things up, scissors in bed + talk of not wanting to go swimming + talking about self-harm = self-harming again?

I have spent the last two hours wrangling with this, how am I going to approach it?  I was completely convicted at the youthwork summit a few weeks ago when a speaker for a self-harm charity showed us some videos.  I realise that my attitude to it in the past of being purely an attention seeking, doing it because others are doing it, has not been at all helpful.  Having this attitude made me deal with it in a very strict 'do it and you can't do that' sort of way.  If she is self-harming again can I really do what all the charities advise me to do - just listen and support her to find distractions?

Then I looked at this flow-chart.  My thoughts have been all about what can I do,  I have not stopped once ask God to intervene.  If I am to receive the serenity of knowing I can not resolve this issue for her then I must trust God to do it - so maybe I have finally found the WISDOM I needed this morning.  Thanks be to God! (and to Father Simon for posting that prayer!).

Thursday, 4 November 2010

A Late Walk with Him Wednesday.

Some weeks ago I wrote this blog post  I was writing about my frustrations at why my children do not like going to church.  I was reminded about it when I read this post that a friend had retweeted yesterday.  I am presently reading a little booklet called "Church Growth Through the Full Welcome of Children - The Sssh Free Church by Stephen Kuhrt (snappy title hey!), given to me to read by my boss who fortunately I am able to share my frustrations.  I can't give much of a review on the book at present as I have only read a few bits, but the bits I have read are encouraging.

So I still have no answers as to how to help my children feel comfortable, welcome and fed within the church family for whom I work, however we did this Sunday have a lovely time of Church at Home again.



We all sat around the dining table before lunch, all with our favourite Bibles in front of us.  We took time to worship God taking it in turns going round and round to see how many thank you's and amazement's we could say to God.  We then all read something we wanted to read from our Bibles.  We then talked a bit about confirmation and children taking communion, both things I am presently working on in my job.  The conversations that followed were deep and honest.  Instead of praying out loud at the end at my daughters request we just had a moment of quiet to say prayers in our hearts.

It was one of the most beautiful and moving 'church' experiences I have had in a long while and I know God was with us.

holy experience



Monday, 1 November 2010

Monday monday.

Time to stop and remember some good stuff.

278. Getting husband to his uncles funeral up North, the last of his fathers generation.
279. My parents move going smoothly last week and the children loving their new home on a very quick visit.
280. Friends having the 5 of us into their homes for a couple of nights.
281. Friends younger children to delight in and remind me of another time.
282. Beautiful autumn colours to admire during our road trip.
283. A healthy brother-in-law with a reasonably intact leg after a terrible scare.
284. Enthusiasm for my job still bubbling after the YouthWork Summit over a week ago.
285. My son having a very simple but very happy 11th birthday.
286. Having a family 'dance' all together listening to the pop charts on the TV.
287. Pumpkin carving and pumpkin soup.


href="http://www.aholyexperience.com/"><img alt="holy experience"  src="http://i534.photobucket.com/albums/ee349/GDest07/ann%20voskamp/mondaybutton2.png" title="holy experience"/>