Monday, 31 December 2012

Sixty Blessings.

Just under 3 years ago I started counting my blessings with this blog post.  I have got rather out of the habit this last 6 months, so here is a little bit of catching up, as I try and end the year in a way I would like to continue the next one.

840. Cold toes being warmed by my husbands feet.
841. Watching my doggie cuddle up with my daughter in her snugly onesie.
842. Children happy to fuel me with cups of tea.
843. Listening to the sound of the dishwasher being unloaded.
844. Daughter getting 100 percent attendance certificate after her first term in secondary school.
845. New friends made through twitter.
846. The joy of seeing people happy with things I have created.
847. An overgrown front garden.
848. A good harvest for minimal effort from my veg patch.
849. Time to curl my daughter's hair.
850. Hugs with my teenage son.
851. Pretty crochet hooks sitting in a pot.
852. A year of amazing holidays.
853. Time to pray as I swim.
854. Watching our new church service stretch and grow.
855. Hope for 2013.
856. Dark days in front of the television.
857. A country no longer at risk of drought.
858. The opportunities 2012 has given me to stand by those who have been hurting.
859. Not buying any mince pies this year - just making over 70.
860. Watching my children's sense of humour grow and mature.
861. A year full of scrabble games.
862. Learning to sing in the rain.
863. Joy filled cuddles with newborn babies.
864. A special little girl making me feel like a million dollars - just swimming together!
865. Watching the most affectionate little boy I have ever known kissing and hugging all his pre-school teachers at the end of an ordinary session.
866. The start of a new women's group in our church.
867. The joy of seeing new authors being born.
868.  Lovely ideas shared on Pinterest.
869. A simple Christ centred Christmas.
870. A home-made Christmas.
871. Finding good suppliers of fairly traded cotton yarn.
872. My son developing some good healthy friendships and engaging in REAL make believe play.
873. Reading past blog posts and being amazed at where God has taken me.
874. 4 years of blogging - how time has flown.
875. Anticipating who God will put in my path this next year.
876. Watching very sill films on the tv :o)
877. Dear daughter painting my toe nails.
878. Thinking up silly games to play with friends.
879. Finally getting my hair styled shorter.
880. My lovely husband's shopping logic.
881. A  new dress.
882. Blogging friends who daily inspire me.
883. Growing the strength to ignore (and sometimes even pray for!) those who hurt me rather than wanting to seek revenge.
884. Home made coconut ice.
885. Watching the wind blow.
886. A Christmas tree full of beautiful memories.
887. Sofas getting old and saggy.
888. Another year full of home made bread.
889. Hot water on demand.
890. Sitting down as a family and discussing hopes for the next year.
891. A church that is promoting growing faith together as a family - priceless.
892. A spider in the sink reminding me of my children's favourite cartoon when they were little.
893. So many walks along the beach.
894. A dog who can hold onto a full bladder all day to avoid going out in the rain.
895. New ideas to craft with what is in my cupboard rather than purchasing new stuff.
896. E-mail conversations with one of my God-daughters.
897. Counselling advice taken and being regularly put to use.
898. Waking up and finding it was only a dream (nightmare).
899. Watching my 11 year old cuddling her baby toy.
900. Christmas cards/letters, reminding me to make the effort to see old friends.

Just one hundred more to go before I get to my first thousand!  Thank you so much to Ann Voskamp for introducing me to this practise.


       
       
           
           

       

Thursday, 27 December 2012

A Quiet Christmas

 
What does Christmas mean?  Family? Friends? Church? Jesus? Presents? Food? Pretty lights?  Over the years all these things have taken a turn.

This year for me it has been about Stillness.

Our Christmas Eve didn't go to plan, we usually go to the same cinema watch a Christmassy film and then go to the same restaurant.  We arrived at said cinema to discover the film had sold out (we hadn't thought of booking as in previous years films have never been full!).  We ended up having to go to another cinema to watch a different film, that turned out okay, when we came out no restaurants were taking new sittings.  We ended up going home and getting take out pizza, that would have turned out okay, except we rarely have take out pizza and it upset my stomach!  It was nice to see the children excited and I was very surprised when we went in the kitchen before bed and found this
The glass is full of water as she felt Santa needed to watch his weight!


My lovely husband was working on Christmas Day, it has happened in the past but this is the first time the children are aware of it.  This made me totally rethink our day.  Food was definitely not going to feature any importance, we had a special breakfast with lovely fresh pastries before any present opening, but that was the only meal we all at down together for.  For the rest of the day, I put a selection of nibbly food out on the table and we grazed through the rest of the day (the children did eat rather a lot of chocolate).

My mum had gone up to the East Midlands to spend time with my brother and his family (something I had to instigate to get a break).  My niece is physically closer and not in a secure unit this year so we were able to arrange for her to be brought over for a couple of hours.  She didn't want to come to church so we went to the 9.15 service which was lovely.  Sadly we had to leave before the communion to be home in time for our niece.

It was lovely to see her opening her stocking.  The children's stockings were given to the children when they were very small by my sister when she was alive.  The girls have the same ones with an angel on them and my boy has a Santa on his.  We spent most Christmas Days all together, either at hers or at ours.  This is only the second Christmas Day the children can remember not having woken up all together.  I didn't know that my husband was snapping these pictures.
In this one particularly my niece looks so much like my sister it took my breath away.  Her face profile, her body posture, her hair, oh how it makes my heart ache.

A very nice care home worker came a little too early to pick her up as we were having a go at using the girls new pom pom makers, but he very kindly was happy to sit and chat with my husband and son while we finished what we were doing.

After she left, so did dear husband.  We ended up watching a lot of television! My daughter and I did decide to start a project with her pom pom makers though, did you see the wreath in the first photo in this post?  It was full of plastic ornaments, but in common with my door wreath which you can see in my previous post we decided to fill it with pom pom's
My lovely friend in New Zealand came on line later in the evening which meant I had some adult conversation and a bit of scrabble playing.  The day then ended with the extra surprise of my husband getting off work three hours early!  Which was so lovely as we would have all been in bed otherwise.

So all in all it was different.  It was quiet.  It was peaceful.  God was there with us, it feels as though we were able to keep the real meaning of Christmas at the heart of our day.  I am now determined to celebrate the Christmastide season and not just leave Christmas behind now that the 25th has passed by.  I haven't decided what we will do, I know it will be quiet, but I hope we can keep it Christ centred.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Christmas crafting.


I have been having a wonderful time crafting this Christmas, if you click on the two photo's above you can see a little more of what I have been up to.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Another Year Older

Autumn has been hard.  We have had the first anniversary of my dad suddenly dying and the 4th anniversary of my little sister dying.  My mums mental health is raising serious concern, so far we have managed to keep her out of hospital this time.  My nieces troubled behaviour continues, though again Praise God she has not managed to get herself physically moved on again, except for short hospital stays.  My health has as usual been up and down.  My medication is under review and this week have the great joy of hip steroid injections to look forward to!

There are however days of loveliness usually provided by my dear long suffering husband.  My birthday this year was definitely one of them.

After a luxurious lie in we set off for a walk in the beautiful New Forest village of Beaulieu

It was so much fun watching my puppy dog Pippin getting a surprise when the water 'broke' under her feet, though she did seem to enjoy licking the ice!
I spent a long time choosing some delicious chocolate from this chocolate shop and enjoyed watching these little elves busily working away.
 We then retreated to a local hostelry for lunch.
 Pippin very quickly settled down.
Then in the evening after present opening with the children when they had returned from school I got taken for a lovely meal at a local Italian restaurant.  There was even time for some fizz and chocolate while my husband and I watched some funnies on the television afterwards while the children were out at activities.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Big Birthdays.


We had a big birthday in the house last week, my first born has finally reached his long awaited 13th birthday.  I have a teenager in the house once again.
I had to take a quick picture of this as we took him his birthday breakfast in bed, This little sign was on a birthday card from a dear friend last year saying Watch out almost a teenager, as you can see he had popped out of bed while we were downstairs and scribbled out the almost and put A teenager.

Here he is enjoying his breakfast. you might just about make out our flying puppy dog trying to get a little closer to that brekky!

We planned a quiet day, he had already been out a couple of weekends before hand to celebrate with some friends to a theme park without parental supervision for the first time!

It is very strange approaching this age with a young person again.  The last time was when we had my niece living with us, the first birthday she had with us was 13, 10 months after she arrived.  So much has happened since then.  The difference this time is that I have been been there from the beginning with my first born.  From our bed to moses basket, from moses basket to cot, from cot to child's bed, from child's bed to his current single bed.  Hopefully there will be no more beds while he is at our home but many more birthdays still to come.

I am so proud and thankful of all that he has brought into our lives and pray that he will bear with us as we try to navigate through his teenage years with him.

This is the yummy, chocolate, fudge toffee cake that my 11 year old daughter made for him
she has got a little longer to wait, though is quite desperate to get there already!  Hopefully we can help her to wait patiently and enjoy the 17 months she still has before she gets there!





Monday, 15 October 2012

Overcoats.

It has been a difficult month so far.  As a family we have just had the first anniversary of my fathers very sudden unexpected death.  It has got me thinking about grief as it has rather enveloped me more than at any other time since he died.

I was doing some reading a little while ago on the Internet (unfortunately I now cannot find what I read).  However it likened grief to wearing an old tatty overcoat.  This resonated straight away with me as it made me think of my mum.  Since my dad died she has been constantly wearing his old waterproof coat.  It is tatty, it does not do up properly, but it was his.  I did manage to persuade her to purchase herself a new one about 6 months ago however even now she seldom wears it.  However she does occasionally.

It seems to come very easy (natural?) to try and coax people out of their grief.  Just like I did with my mum and her coat.  However grief is something that we need to go through and if you use the metaphor of it being like an overcoat you can take it further.  If you don't wear your overcoat, it stays the same, if you wear it well, it slowly starts to wear out.  This might mean that it gets shabbier but this will encourage you to consider the new overcoat that might some day need to replace it.

My experience of grief is that I have not felt 'able' to wear my overcoat.  It is not attractive, it is drab, it does not make other people feel comfortable when I wear it.  However I am trying to grasp hold of the 'need' to wear it.  Hopefully with time I my overcoat might start to wear out.

It has been far too long since I have written down any blessings, but through these dark days there are still many many blessed moments.

830. Swimming a mile for the first time in one go.
831. Watching a film in a cosy warm house.
832. Sales starting to happen on my Folksy site.
833. Kissing my husband in the rain.
834. Autumn sunlight in the garden.
835. Lovely pumpkins ripening in the garden.
836. A meal with friends with dishes I had prepared and frozen so that I was not too exhausted for their company.
837. Encouraging my youngest to spread her wings and watching her fly on a band weekend away.
839. Godly blogs that bring his word and wisdom when I can't get to church.



Thursday, 27 September 2012

Simple Days

Life is seems to be starting to slow down into a simpler routine than when I was working.  On the whole my days go by at a much more gentle pace.  I am managing to get to the swimming pool three times a week with my mum, and have built up to swimming 1100m each time (that's 44 lengths of our pool) which takes me between 40 and 50 minutes depending on how many lengths I do on my back.  These are the only set activities I presently have.

Tuesday and Thursday are my non swimming days, last Tuesday felt like a break through.  The first day when I felt as though I was able to do all that I wanted to do.  I spent the morning doing some crochet after a quick catch up on facebook, twitter and blogger and checking e-mails.  After lunch I made supper for me and the children (husband was working an afternoon shift) so that it could go in the oven as my daughter has her saxophone lesson from 5.30 to 6pm.  I then did some more crochet, managing to finish off a second pair of wrist warmers/fingerless mittens for one of my God-daughters and one of my nieces.  These were then ready to package up and sent through the post BEFORE their birthdays!

When my children arrived home from school there was time for a catch up with them and we then had notice that my daughters saxophone lesson had been cancelled.  The one activity I had not managed was walking the dog so this gave me the ideal opportunity to go and do that AND to go to the local shop at the same time to get milk which we were running low on and I had noticed!

Supper was ready when I got back, I put bread on to bake in the bread maker and the day was rounded off nicely with a bit of TV with the children. An early bed when my son went up meant I could read the very good book I got on my Kindle last week, you can see what it is here.  I can highly recommend the book, I have been introduced to the author on facebook via another author friend and this is the first book of hers I have read - a very gripping historical tale.

What made this day quite so perfect?  My husband coming in from work at 10.30pm, popping his head around the bedroom door and making a lovely comment about how nice the house smelt as the bread was almost ready for him to take out :o).  Sometimes it really is the simple things.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

My Alter Ego

My alter ego Mrs Craftypants has been very busy this last few weeks, take a look at her latest post over on her blogspot here.

xxxxxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Neglect

                                                    Hengistbury Head, Dorset, August 2012.

I haven't purposely been neglecting my blog, it's just sort of happened!  Over the summer holidays I was purposely trying to spend more time with my family doing things than sitting on my computer.  However there is another little venture that has been taking up any spare time - I have opened a shop on the folksy site - if you are interested in taking a peek you can find it by following this link.  I am still to make a sale yet but trying very hard not to get disheartened.

We did manage to have some very exciting adventures over the summer, including a trip to Paris and Switzerland!  We managed to get to the paralympics in the stadium and watched a GB wheelchair racer get a gold medal!  There have been some days at the beach despite the overall terrible weather we have had.

My niece has now finally been released from the secure forensic psychiatric unit she has been in since the end of December and seems to be settling in her new children's home.  It is about a 60 mile round trip to go and see her but we are trying to maintain regular contact.  She is going to be starting college hopefully in the next few weeks, skipping year 11 of school as she has missed so much, so that will be another great achievement for her.

My mum is still trying to decide whether she wants to stay down in the south or move back to the east midlands.  I would love to be able to help her make this decision but unfortunately it is one she has to make herself.  I will miss her if she goes back, but want her to be where she might find some happiness.

My health continues to be up and down, having all the focus on the paralympics this last few weeks has been difficult.  I find myself feeling very jealous that some people with disabilities are able to find great things to excel in, whereas for me I just see all the obstacles, not just health probs but money ones too!  IU am trying to keep up with my swimming, though this has been difficult over the summer holidays as the pool is so full of children, I have taken the opportunity to take my daughter a few times though.  At the moment I have pulled a muscle in my neck which is very very painful and restricting, probably brought on by tensing my shoulders after walking too much and getting painful legs at the weekend!

So I will try and remedy the neglect that has occurred to this poor old blog and catch up with all my fellow bloggers who I have also been neglecting!  Thanks for bearing with me!

Monday, 23 July 2012

A Book Review

Crying for Help: The Shocking True Story of a Damaged Girl with a Dark Past


My mum passed on a book to me last week, warning me that I might find it a tough subject as it dealt with a damaged young girl in the foster care system.  To be honest I was very surprised that she had been able to read it.  The book in question is Crying For Help by Casey Watson.  I read the whole book in a day.  I am not sure this is testament to a great story or just the fact that I had been bed bound for much of last week.

I would not normally look at books in this genre, mostly because anything that is strictly fictional I would probably end up trying to find faults with.  However this book is based on real experiences that the author has had in her other life as a foster carer for seriously damaged children.

The lack of information coming forward from social services, difficulty with children and adolescent mental health services was all too familiar to the scenario that we went through when we were kinship caring for my niece.  The behaviour of the child in question 'Sophia' was so similar in many many ways to our experience, as was the roller coaster ride of not knowing what could possibly happen next as we lurched from crisis to crisis.

There was one point in the story where I became quite angry with the presumptions the foster carer was making about the child's family.  She had no father, her mother was in a persistent vegetative state and she had lived with her uncle for a while until him and his wife became first time parents of a newborn.  The situation of not being able to really KNOW what had happened to the child in the past because of the state of the mother and lack of social services intervention was very similar to the situation we found ourselves in.  The not knowing for sure whether stories are true, based on truth, or imagined/made up is very difficult.  In the author's case she seemed to believe the stories Sophia told her and judged the family quite severely.  I so felt for the uncle, as the story unfolds it becomes apparent that if a professional struggles with Sophia's problems, how was a first time kinship carer supposed to manage them.   I can just imagine how difficult the decision to hand her over to social services must have been.  This book has confirmed that which I already knew - there will be people who come into contact with my niece who will be judging me in the same way.  That is hard to live with.  Though there is nothing I can do about it so there is really no point dwelling on it.

The book is a great story and it did keep me gripped, however I did not really feel that the writing gave it justice - or maybe that is just me getting my own back having felt judged!  The jury is still out on whether I would read another of her books, I certainly would not rush to get another.

Today I am also continuing to count my blessings with Ann Voskamp:

820.  Better drugs giving me pain relief from my back problem.

821.  Unexpected cards in the post from caring friends.

822.  The delivery of some on-line shopping which has helped me be a little less bored in my bed bound state.

823.  Blue sky!

824. Happy daughter as she finished her primary school years.

825. Reading through a years worth of books and papers from her last year at school.

826. Books to read.

827. A husband that has to put up with far too much.

828. A little pumpkin starting to grow in my veg patch.

829. White roses and Gypsophila growing in my garden reminding me of my wedding flowers.





Sunday, 22 July 2012

It's all so quiet - shhhh shhhh shhhh




The song from bonkers Icelandic singer Bjork is going round in my head this morning as my house is soooooo quiet.

When you can hear a tick from the pendulum of a clock, the sound of your own steady breathing, every creak of the bed or seat you are sitting on you know you have found quietness.

I just love it. 

I know if I go outside it will not be quite so quiet.  There will be bird song and fluttering leaves as the squirrels go about their business in the woods besides us.  There will be the sounds of people jetting off to foreign climbs.  Children playing in gardens around us.  Car doors opening and closing.

It is so tempting to stay curled up in my indoor cocoon.  The sounds in the outdoors I know will make me want to do something.  Especially when the sun has finally come out after so many months of rain.  Yesterday they talked me into a little gardening, a little pegging of washing on the line.  Today my body is telling me too much. 

Will I ever learn to go be amidst the sounds of life and not be tempted to try and join them?

I remarked to my husband this morning as he took the children off to a church service where they will be playing their instruments, that soon he might start getting the sympathetic looks and offerings of casseroles as people think he is bringing up the children alone.

One thing I can do in this quiet however is go through my daughters final year of primary school life.  Over this week the coffee table has become more and more laden with books, folders, pictures and projects.  I will look at every single one.  I will recall the stories she has told me of things that she did on a particular school day and enjoy seeing what she was describing.

I'm sad that I couldn't make it to her leavers assembly where each child gets presented with a bible.  I'm sad that even if she had wanted me to I couldn't have walked to fetch her on her final day at the school she has been at for the last seven years.  The school that first drew us to come and look at houses in this area.  The school that we noticed was right next to a church, I still remember the day that we pulled up into the school/church car park one Sunday morning.  We heard a trombone playing and there and then felt God calling us to a new home.

But dwelling on that makes me melancholy - too many sad things have happened in these last seven years.

For now I shall go and make myself a cup of tea (at least I can move around reasonably pain free at the moment) and settle down with the books and folders, pictures and projects.

xx

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Healing.

Having a chronic health problem like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has led to much pondering on the whole issue of Christian healing.  There is just so much that I do not understand, why does God intervene and heal in some circumstances and not it other ones?  I have learnt over the years to filter out the negative comments that so many people proffer about healing.  Comments such as - if you do not believe enough it won't happen, and - you must have unresolved sins if healing has not taken place - are just not helpful.  Not only are they not helpful but I believe the judgement of humans to make these comments is totally unbiblical too (but then I am no theologian!).

I have to confess that when having a bad RA day I do regularly forget to pray for my body to feel better.  I am so very grateful for all the friends and family around me that do remember!

I was challenged again this weekend with my health.  On Friday evening I cooked my first proper 'dinner party' for about 3 years for a couple of friends.  While in the kitchen nearing completion of the cooking I was suddenly aware of a very sharp dizzying pain in my lower back.  It was similar to odd twinges that I have had in the past however they have only ever lasted a few minutes.  By the time I went to bed I was still extremely sore and not able to move much at all.   On Saturday morning I was able to get up and go and see the Olympic torch being paraded through a local town, though I couldn't drive and had to sit down during the wait.  By the time I got back home about 11.30am I was in absolute agony so went to lie down in bed.  None of my normal painkillers were even taking the edge of the pain if anything it was just getting worse and I was starting to get worried about what I had done.

Eventually I ended up going to the out of hours doctor who immediately diagnosed a probably prolapsed lumber disc in my back.  She was very matter of fact gave me strong pain killers and said not to expect it to get better in days it would more likely be weeks!  What joyous news to receive the week before your children break up from school for the summer break!  The pain was so bad after a car ride that my poor husband even had to stop the car on the journey home so that I could throw up - urgh!

Sunday I could not stand for more than about 10 minutes at a time, I was with it enough to try with him and get some prayer support started.  My husband was much enthused by the fact that when they arrived back from church on Sunday evening I had managed to get downstairs and the timing had coincided with him praying with a wonderful prayerful couple at church.  Was this healing prayer actually working?

I so very much hope it is.  The last two days have seen steady improvement of my pain, I am still taking pain killers but the nausea has completely gone and I am able to eat again.  I can also walk a short distance and sit for an hour or so.

If any of you are the praying kind, then I would love to be remembered in your prayers, it would be so good to be able to spend some time doing things with my children this summer and not having to stay in bed!

I know I am a day late this week but will continue to count my blessings:

820. A new craft project which I am loving.

821. Having time and the inclination to read again.

822. Lush greenery everywhere!

823. The opportunity to watch a once in a life time event.

824. Daughter wanting to take care of me.

825. Son giving me an impromptu thank you for a little task I had completed for him.

826. My patient puppy dog staying by my side.

827. Delicious food made from ingredients from my garden.

828. The natural company of friends where time makes no difference.

829. Great school reports for my children.



Monday, 9 July 2012

What are you worth?

I am wondering today if maybe I have cut down my anti-depressant medication to soon.  The blues are still chasing me around.  Is it because I feel stripped bare of all the titles that used to give me the sense of achievement of being somebody who mattered?

One of the things that I unexpectedly got out of my recent counselling was the knowledge of how much I have been raised believing that I am only worth the sum total of what I do.  Even sadder to discover was the realisation that no matter what the sum total was, it's worth was only that which was expected, I was never able to exceed expectations.  Having now had a month of rest since finishing work, my 'worth' is once again feeling challenged.

My lack of physical energy has led me to be rather housebound of late.  I have been getting out to go swimming, a little shopping, a little dog walking and taking my children to groups when my husband is not around, but the rest of the time I have been home.  I have been doing bits of reading, crochet and sewing and have managed to do a little cooking.  How hard it is to accept that this is enough.  Even my usual love of social networking has waned, since everybody seems to be off doing stuff and achieving stuff.  I might add, just as I so often have done in the past.

So what can I learn from now - I suppose it might just be time to start accepting that being 'just' me is fine.  Maybe I need to spend time with my creator believing all that He says about me, that there really is NOTHING that can separate me from His love.

Maybe these are two bible verses that I can hold on to this week:

Matthew 10:29-31 (NIV)

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Continuing to count my blessings this Monday.

810. Peachy sun-kissed clouds in the evenings.

811. The joy of watching the tennis at Wimbledon on the TV.

812. Having other people praise the achievements of your children.

813. Purple pink flowers poking high so that I can see them through my window from my comfy seat.

814. Honesty even when it hurts.

815. The three stones in my engagement ring which remind me that He is always in the middle of our relationship.

816. Memories of a red dress.

817. Being encouraged to say 'no' when I needed to.

818. The simpleness of each day.

819. The blanket which keeps my toes warm on these very cold summer days!




Monday, 2 July 2012

Blessings.

I've been feeling a little low over the weekend and can think of no better way of lifting my spirits than remembering the little things that I have been blessed with this last week:

800. Neighbours dog barking much less.

801. Spending time with friends.

802. News of a couple getting engaged.

803. Generous friends.

804. Having the time to help when we are asked to.

805. Having the time to rest when I need to.

806. Pain relief.

807. Chats on twitter when I am home alone.

808. Being able to make a simple healthy meal that the family devour and enjoy.

809. The sound of the rain in the night when I am tucked up nice and cosy.

Now I must get on with the task of filling in forms for secondary school for my 11 year old daughter.  How fast time has flown, she has her induction day tomorrow and I can see that she is quite nervous about it.  I can't believe that it is only a year since I was feeling the same way about my son moving on!  He is thriving in this new environment and I am so praying that my less academic daughter might do to.



Saturday, 30 June 2012

Crafty News

Have you noticed I appear to have stopped crafting?  Teehee, I haven't really, I have just given my crafts their very own blog spot, you can find it by clicking the link below.

http://mrsjcraftypants.blogspot.co.uk/

My latest post shows what I have been up to this week.

Take care for now x.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Wet and Wild.

We have had such wet weather in the last few months that I have managed to do very little in my garden.  I thought it was probably time to record just how overgrown it is all looking at the moment.  It is very easy to read blogs and look through Pinterest and feel like everyones gardens are beautiful and perfect.  I have to say that I do feel that mine has a sort of beauty to it at the moment but there is certainly no perfection at the moment.
This is my front patch.  When we bought our house 10 years ago the grass went right up to the front window, I planted 2 evergreen Clematis plants and one everygreen honeysuckle to hide the fence that is immediately outside the window.  As you can see they are now in desperate need of a good cut down.  When/if it all dries out this is one of my my priorities.

As you enter the garden through the side gate this is the first of our beds, the layout is what we inherited with the house, it is all paved with just a few raised bed areas.  The japenese anemones and geraniums are going weld in here.  Eventually I think i am going to have to take this bed right back to basics.  I can see how strange the weather has been by the plant at the back of the bed, this is my pride and joy and the only original plant from the garden, a beautiful bottle brush.  It normally bursts into it's beautiful red flowers at the beginning of June, however there is still no sign of it's tight buds opening.
Behind that bed is my relatively newly planted rose garden.  I have five rose bushes and have added a few alpine plants, 2 Carnation plants (which I got for £1 each!) and some cat mint this year which is finally starting to give it the look that I wanted.

next to this bed which used to be a pond is this seat, it is badly starting to erode and I am desperate to get it pulled out and maybe put another flower bed in here.  The bright purple flowering bowl of flowers are Nemisis, they are an annual however this spot has obviously given them just the conditions they needed to survive through the winter and they are looking (and smelling) absolutely gorgeous again this year.




My veg patch is the one area that has had some new work done to it this year.  My dear husband kindly moved and built up the beds so that I can reach them without any need to bend or kneel.  In the top photo are my lovely sugar snap peas, behind them I have brocolli which is very happy, a couple of pumpkin plants and lots of strawberries.

In the other bed I have (from the front), lettuce, carrots, beetroot, spinach and dwarf beans.  These were all planted quite late but seem to be getting on with growing.

My rhubarb has been spectacular this year even with us rumaging all around it, I also have chives, lemon and normal mint here as well.  In the blue pot is one of my big casulties this year.  My beautiful acer which normally looks gorgeous by now has had a black aphid attack and lost almost all it's leaves.  It will be the first time in 10 years that I do not have it's beautiful reds in the autumn.  I am praying it might survive and come back to life next year.

Can you see all the weeds peeping through the wooden slats and in the ground around the beds - they will get pulled, one day!
I made this bed just a couple of years ago by removing some more of the slabs the adorn the whole garden.  Again this has got overgrown with everything.  My ceanothus has been the best ever this year despite my constanation when dear hubby thought he could prune it last year!  I have added into the centre of this bed some lemon lavender which smells absolutely devine.
My wiggly border has done me proud through the spring with lots of mini daffs, blue bells, and tulips and is now literally bursting at it's seems.  A little tidy up and it will be looking tip top again.
This is my little shady area.  We get the sun all day in the whole of the back garden which makes it very very hot (when the sun comes out).  We bought a gazebo when the children were young (for £25) which we dismantled every autumn, the last couple of years I have been convinced it would not cope with a take down and put up again as it had started to rust very badly.  However despite the rain and wind and winters it is still standing and gives me a couple of shady spots to plant in to.  In the background you can see my Helebores are very very happy.  I put 4 ferns in last year on the other side (the right of the picture), only two seem to have survived, though they are looking good, I quite fancy planting some foxgloves behind them - maybe next year.

We haven't had a lot of produce yet, but here is the first lettuce, sugar snap peas and strawberries of the season - we have had lots of rhubarb much of which we have eaten but the freezer is getting well stocked as well.

How does your garden grow?

Monday, 25 June 2012

Puppy Dogs and Broken Toes.

It is now two weeks and two days since my puppy dog was involved in a 'squirming when held' incident. The result of which was a broken toe - here is a picture of her after she had her leg splinted and bound two weeks ago at the vets
Doesn't she look sad.  I am pleased to say that after a couple of days she got her bounce back and the challenge since then has been to get her to take it easy.  She is not a dog that does anything slowly, she has two types of movement, stop and go go go go go.  She was supposed to go outside for toilet breaks only at the beginning, however we soon discovered (by her standing at the bottom of the drive barking very loudly at the open road and refusing to come back in) that she needed a little more.  A little 10 minute walk around the block has been enough, until the last few days.  Now she is desperate to go for a run, we are keeping her on the lead to stop her from doing this at the vets insistence, however it is so difficult watching her desperation.  I have made her a little sleeve that goes over her plaster for when we are out, which makes her runny hop thing quite amusing to watch, my husband took this video of her yesterday:
video

I am so hoping that when we visit the vets again this Wednesday she may be freed from her restrictions!

790. Bright green leaves against brilliant blue sky.

791. Listening to a church service while sat a distance away in a beautiful garden.

792. His words that pierce through my self preservation and remind me that NOW is a pin prick compared to the eternity He gives me.

793. Balls of beautifully coloured yarn triggering my creative mind.

794. A happy 11 year old returning from a residential trip to London.

795. My cosy ripple blanket keeping my toes warm on very chilly 'summer' evenings.

796. Resurrecting an old flapjack recipe much to the delight of all the family.

797. Surprise fairtrade roses from my hubby.

798. Helpful dog wardens.

799. A light week ahead of me.

Continuing to count my blessings along with Ann Voskamp at



Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Law is an Arse

Something I have felt very tongue tied to talk about on this blog has been my nieces father, this is mainly because I have never wanted to write stuff that is just my opinion and not particularly based on out right facts.  However I was put through a Tribunal process yesterday to try and prevent us having to pay £1000 back to him via the Child Support Agency.  I think my husband has rather succinctly summed up the situation with this statement:

"Since niece's father divorced her mother he has done everything in his power to avoid supporting her financially and emotionally. After marrying his divorce lawyer they fiddled matters so he would pay the bare minimum, and has now moved to Canada where he cannot be traced by the CSA. When niece came to stay with us we should have transferred payments to us, but in between dealing with a traumatised 13 year old who had just lost her mother leading to self-harming and attempts on her own life, a suicidally depressed mum who had lost her daughter, coping with the loss of Jane's sister, and adjusting our own lives and the lives of our younger children to cope with this - it kind of got overlooked. Not that the arrangement was permanent at the time - who knew what was going to happen?  When we did get round to reassessing matters, nieces father kindly pointed out to the CSA that her living arrangements didn't tally and so after a tribunal hearing today we have been ordered to pay it back. It took the lawyers themselves five minutes of rummaging through the books to pinpoint the letter of the law regarding this, so how are we supposed to know any better? How can a father so selfishly despise his daughter? Why are we continually being pounded while we hold up the roof and steady the walls?  The law is an arse."

I could not even speak to the judge at the end of the hearing I was so upset, I have no idea how they are able to so remove themselves.  He had even made comments about how sad the whole situation had been for our family.  We stood no chance, the Child Support Agency were present in the form of a solicitor on video - camera.  A very nice way of them keeping themselves removed from the reality of how unsupportive they have been to this particular child!


My tears subsided after a couple of hours and a little sleep.  I did end up going to the local shop and buying wine and comfort food while my husband lit a fire in the garden for us to sit around.  Fortunately my daughter is away at the moment, she would have been so upset seeing how upset I was and is still too young to fully understand the story.  My son sat in the garden with us and we told him a little bit about why we were both feeling so upset and cross.  The last thing I wanted was for him to think that he might have done something wrong - at 12 years old he listened and was quite amazed that such things can happen.


Dear husband was on a night shift last night so I sat and had some lovely chats on facebook with some close friends and then retired to bed with my puppy dog (this only ever happens when husband is not there!).  I am so thankful that I did get a good sleep, even being woken by very heavy rain at 3.30am reminded me of being refreshed.


At least it is over - this has been hanging over for us for almost exactly 2 years.  The money will be found some how. 


Monday, 18 June 2012

Productivity

I found myself writing this status on facebook the other day:

.......Has had a productive day at last.

As soon as I had written it I felt dismal - I automatically felt as though the rest of my week obviously had not been productive at all.

Was this true?  Of course not!  So what had I done for the rest of last week.  I had blogged, I had managed to scrape through a painful anniversary.  I had done some research on emotional issues.  I had attended a very difficult emotional meeting.  There seems to be a thread here....... my week seemed to be dominated by mentally and emotional laden tasks.  Was there anything productive in going through these issues - of course there was!

I suppose my lesson for the week is to remember that there are at least two types of productivity that I need to consider in my life to get a fair idea of how things are going.  There are the emotional/mental productivity as well as the physically productive activities.

Maybe it is time to count my blessings for this week.

780.  The time to rest.

781.  Roses blooming in the garden.

782.  Veg patch loving all the rain.

783.  Puppy dog loving her medication so no having to force anything into her.

784.  Difficult meeting got through.

785.  Getting creative with my crochet, recycling plastic bags.

786.  The chance to share about counting your blessings at a workshop at our church service for all ages.

787.   Daughter coming and telling me about a spillage on her carpet even though she had managed to erase it all.

788.  A pair of trousers made to fit after an accidental shrinkage.

789. Three loads of washing, washed and dried on the line in one day :o).




Thursday, 14 June 2012

False Memory Syndrome

Did you know that it is possible to truly believe that something has happened to you when in fact it hasn't?  That you might have flashbacks and nightmares that are your mind has created because of other trauma that has occurred?

I have been doing lots of reading about this recently as I am currently having to deal with allegations being made against people I know and love.  Unfortunately it seems that the only way of ever getting to the bottom of false memories is by getting all parties to talk about it to find where the distortions of memory may have occurred.  For my situation this is not possible as there are no mentally reliable people left to talk.

Most of the reading I have done seems to centre on sexual abuse by parents or grandparents, the majority of stories and research also centre around poor therapy where abuse may have been inadvertently suggested.

However there is a smaller body of evidence that seems to show that it is possible that people are able to start to recount false memories or flashbacks in order to avoid looking at real trauma.  This is not done on purpose but is a coping mechanism of a damaged person.

I am now tasked with finding a way of living with the information that I have been given.  Reading this article has helped.  This encourages the focus to remain on the person who may be having false memories and remembering that they are occurring for a reason, even if it is not the reason they might believe it to be.  What I am surprised by however is the lack of conversation that has occurred with any professionals that we are involved in to discuss False Memory Syndrome at all.  I have stumbled across it (and the fact that there is a British society of it!) because of deep gnawing feeling and some pretty reliable evidence that suggests these allegations are not true.  I had presumed that they were just lies - but now I can see that there is far more to it than that.

I do not know whether there will ever be a conclusion to the situation that I am in, I have been told not to expect one.  It has made me turn whole heartily to my faith in God, it is a burden far to big to be able to bear alone.

Matthew 11:28  (NIV)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Amen to that! 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Sad Birthdays

Today should have been my Daddy's 67th birthday, but sadly for us, along with my little sister who will remain 36 years old for ever more he will always remain 66 years old. I miss you both x.

video

Monday, 11 June 2012

Throwing the Baby Out with the Bathwater.

Okay okay okay, I have calmed down now and think I may have been a wee bit hasty last week when I said I was going to stop this blog.  With hindsight getting upset by one bad response in one post out of 300 posts was an over reaction.  I am very grateful to all the lovely messages that I have had encouraging me to continue writing.  My husbands particularly struck me, as he says this is sometimes the only way he knows what is going on in my head.  I have to say I think he is correct - this is often my thinking space.  Hopefully I will learn to be a little better at expressing myself without causing the offence that I did.

As it is Monday I thought a good place to start would be to continue counting my blessings with Ann Voskamp over at Holy Experience, it is a practise I thoroughly enjoy:

770.  The freedom to choose when to take offence and when to get over it.

771.  The pause and reflection which has provided me with a new blog - check out Mrs Craftypants!

772.  Pet insurance, the first claim for two years is more than paying for two years of subscriptions.

773.  Our lovely local vet who has gently treated my little doggy for a broken toe!

774.  Flowers in the house to brighten the dull rainy days outside.

775.  Half term holidays with the children, not doing a lot, just enjoying being together.

776.  Getting together with old friends and giving new ones a chance to develop.

777.  Sitting round the fire pit in the garden on our one dry and not to cold evening last week.

778.  Catching up on films recorded months ago off the tv.

779.  Helping my children decide what to spend their birthday and Christmas money/vouchers which they have been saving up.

 



Monday, 4 June 2012

300th post.

It should be a good milestone, but appears to have become a mill stone.  My last post which I have now removed has caused much offence to the person who had blocked me on twitter.  My writing has been described as nasty and vindictive.  So sadly it is time to take a break.  Thank you to all those lovely people who have followed me and supported me as I have 'Tried to find me'.  I am sure I will be back someday and I shall certainly continue to read some of the fabulous blogs from bloggers I have met through this delightful world.

Bye bye for now,  Jane x.
 

Monday, 28 May 2012

My last Monday at work.

Today I went into work and started with morning prayer with the clergy as we always do on a Monday morning.  The difference today being this will be the last time.  I have been really surprised at how difficult finally letting go of my job has been.  I officially do not finish until Thursday, however I have only a couple of things left to do which I shall be doing on Wednesday.  I have had to go through every file on my PC making sure that I have everything in the right place and also that I am not transferring anything onto the memory stick that I should not!  Today I cam across this lovely poem, I do not know where I got it from but I am so glad that I saved it!

I AM

I was regretting the past
and fearing the future.
Suddenly my Lord was speaking:
"My name is I AM"
He paused.
I waited. He continued,
"When you live in the past
with its mistakes and regrets,
it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not I WAS.
When you live in the future,
with its problems and fears,
it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not I WILL BE.
When you live in this moment
it is not hard. I am here,
My name is I AM."

Helen Mallicoat
________________________________________
And God said unto Moses,
I AM THAT I AM:
and He said, Thus shalt
thou say unto the children
of Israel, I AM hath sent
me unto you.
Exodus 3:14

It has been a great reminder of where I should be directing my thoughts.  On that note I will continue counting my blessings with Ann over at Holy Experience this fine Monday evening.

760. Squeaky bath noises from above accompanied by beautiful 11 year old singing.

761. An amazing night away with my hubby, to celebrate our 16th wedding anniversary.

762. Cream tea at eleven o'clock in the morning!

763.  Inspiration from a market stall.

764.  Rested fingers allowing me to do some more crochet.


765.  My step mother in law coming and doing LOTS of weeding in my garden and planting up some new treasures that we found.

766.  The beautiful sunny week we had last week.

767.  Lovely hubby putting our spare bed out in the garden under the gazebo so I could rest without having to hide away in my room.

768.  My daughter coming home with muddy feet.

769.  My son bringing a new friend home to visit.