Monday, 30 January 2012

New routines.

I find the hardest thing about creating new routines is that in order for something 'new' to happen an old routine must first be disposed of.  It is easy to think that we haven't got a routine for doing something (or not doing something), until you realise there is another way than the one you have been doing (or not).  For me Saturday mornings have been transformed. For a long time I have been really struggling with cooking through the week, however have not been able to recognise any space in my week where I could do a weekly cook-up.  My husband works shifts, they are on a 10 day cycle and so no week is ever the same as the next one.  However it does seem to work (I know there is a mathematical equation that could be used to work this out but really cannot be bothered to even try) that he is often around on a certain day of the week for about 6 weeks, before then not being around at that time for 6 weeks.  Since Christmas he seems to have been around on every Saturday morning.

Saturday mornings have always been chores and laundry day for us all.  The children have their set jobs that they have to carry out before lunch time, I have usually been up to my elbows in dirty washing and then clean washing!  However with hubby home he took on the job of doing the laundry which left me free to cook.  I did have to think things through by Thursday to ensure I could do a shopping list that meant hubby could go and shop for me.  I have now managed to do it for three consecutive weeks.  This Saturday, I didn't have hubby around so managed to do washing AND cooking, admittedly I didn't do all the cooking and so finished that off on Sunday morning, but still - it is getting done. An added bonus to doing this 'cook-up' has been the children's interest in it, they have now decided they are going to take turns to do it with me.  So far they have both had a turn and we have had a great time AND they are learning some new skills to!

This has meant that I have some free time in the evenings and I have been busy with my crochet hook as you can see on my last post.  I have also been adding promises to my ripple promise blanket and doing a spot of reading to.  Here is my latest completed project made from a plastic container that once housed cakes,  along with some more blessings I have seen this week.

700.  An orchid given by a kind friend back in October - still flowering at the end of January.
701.  Left over beads from when my little girl was much smaller.
702.  The relief that washes over when I arrive in my car on our drive.
703.  Picture hanging for my mum.
704.  Hedge trimmers.
705.  Birds in the garden keeping the view ever changing.
706.  Using up rubbish to create something pretty.
707.  Banks of daffodils already in bloom.
708.  Crocuses appearing between paving slabs.
709.  The smell of newly bathed puppy dog.


Sunday, 29 January 2012

A little bit of Crochet.

Inspired by Tina over at the Quiet Home by this post some weeks ago I've made myself a little case to put my crochet needles in. I decided it was as good a time as ever to teach myself a new stitch.  The yarn is left over bits from hats that I have made, I am rather pleased with it.

Can you see what I have got it laid out on?  It's a little peak of my ripple promise blanket.  All the crochet is done now, I am still slowly adding promises though.  It has been such a big job that it definitely deserves a post all of it's own sometime.

Thursday, 26 January 2012


I love this description from wikipedia of what hope is:

Hope is the emotional state, the opposite of which is despair, which promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life.

We went to see more of the new place that our niece is now staying at this morning.  It is a secure forensic psychiatric unit.  We were introduced to her key nurse, her occupational therapist, the family therapist (who we know from a previous placement) and her in house mental health social worker.

This is the end of the line for our niece, there is nowhere more secure that can keep her safe from harming herself.  It is a national unit and is filled with professionals who are very used to the self destructive behaviour that she is displaying.  Since going there 4 weeks ago, her behaviour has probably worsened a little more, there is certainly no improvement.  However we know now from our experiences of the last 6 months that this is because she is testing boundaries.  So far she has managed to test boundaries to the point where she has been moved on to another placement.  This time there is no where for her to move on to.  

We were asked how we were feeling about her being there.  The only response we could give was hopeful.  I certainly did not feel this while she was at the last placement.  And what else could we answer?  I do not wish to feel despair.

Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Trusting God to watch over this dear 14 year old is so difficult, however having no hope would be even more difficult.

Two days ago we had my grandma's funeral.  We were inside the crematorium for approximately 2 1/2 minutes.  Hardly time to sit down before we were standing up and leaving.  There were three of us present, my mum, my brother and me - all the 'family' that she had left.  There were no friends, no fond memories expressed, no expressions of legacy that will keep her to mind.  Maybe that is what happens when you loose hope?  You become lost in the world.

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Through the Eyes of my daughter.

My 11 year old daughter has had the camera out, these pictures of hers capture some real blessings.

 690. A walk with my family.
 691. The rotten stuff in our lives being washed away.
 692.  Love that knows no boundaries.
 693.  Sunshine.
 694.  Long legged shadows.
 695.  My secure fortress.
 696.  My rock.
 697.  Blue sky and green grass.
 698.  Sea spray on our faces.
 699.  The eyes that saw it all.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

15 Uneventful Days of 2012.

Well I got to 16 days of a new year before anything too negative has happened.  I am now trying to see the new negative as a positive.  Yesterday afternoon I had to go and tell my mother that her mother had died.  She was 92 years old and had been in a state of severe dementia living in a nursing home for the last 3 years.

It was not totally unexpected (92 years is a very good innings).  Personally it is something I have to confess I have been praying to happen for a while.  In one of my very early posts to this blog which you can find here is a very brief sketch of my mums early life.  Over the last three years I have heard more stories and know more facts about the life she had with her the Aunt and Uncle that adopted her.  It is not nice stuff, in fact I can not recall a single 'nice' thing that I have been told.

Mum has often said to me that she would not shed any tears when her mum went.  She didn't when her 'father' died back in 1992.  His funeral was very swift and brief attended only by my mum and her 'mother', no words, no flowers.

However I was still very nervous about delivering the news last night.  My mum was discharged last week from a local (to me) psychiatric unit after a 10 week stay preceded by a breakdown immediately after my father died back in October.  She got the keys to a lovely little detached bungalow last Wednesday.  She is renting it for 6 months to see how she feels about living in the south of England as opposed to the east midlands where she has been for the last 44 years.  Last Sunday my brother brought down most of her possessions from her old house and we spent the day setting up her new one.  There were some tears, it felt odd, a bit like bringing Dad down too (he had made most of the furniture).

You might now see where my nerves were coming from.  Mum is still very fragile, we sat for a couple of hours, not saying much.  Just a few bitter and angry words.  I have spoken with her this morning and she says she was able to sleep last night.  I knew that the coming few weeks were going to be testing for her before yesterdays events happened.  Your prayers for her, my brother and me would be much appreciated.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Loving Yourself.

I was challenged yesterday with the "question do you love yourself?"  When I found it hard to answer I was asked "Are there any times you can think of when you have loved yourself?".  I was completely stumped.

Being the cautious person I am I did not immediately jump in with what immediately came into my head (that is to answer categorically no).  However when I started to contemplate the second question all I could think of were things about be that I love - products of me - gifts and abilities that I have.  Does that mean that if I did not have these abilities then I would not love anything about me?

I have spent some time 'googling' around this subject and looking through my bible to discover that there is very little about loving yourself.  The Bible tells us  that as we were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).  We are also told that God is love (1John 4:8), so does that mean we were made to be love as well?

The only Bible verse that seems to say anything about loving ourselves is where a verse from Leviticus (19:14) is reiterated through the New Testament which says we must love our neighbour as ourselves.  So is the presumption I take from this, the presumption that we were made/created to love ourselves?

Certainly if I consider back to when my children were born, they had no shame, and even when able to express themselves gave no indication that they did not think that they were special and loved and therefore lovable of themselves.  How sad then that when I speak with my 10 year old daughter now, she can real off lots and lots of things that she does like about herself - does this mean that she already does not love herself?

The only other Bible verses that are coming into my head are the ones about how much God loves me, there is Luke 12:7

"Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

and from Psalm 139:13

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb."

For now I think I am just going to hold onto these promises to me from God of how much he loves me and hope and pray that I might just grow to discover either that I do love myself  or at least know that I can.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Looking Backwards and Forwards.

There is nothing like counting your blessings, especially when you start to feel as though nothing good happens.  It has been great spending the Christmas break thinking of all the things that I have learnt or done over the last 12 months.  I know I usually count my blessings by counting the everyday things that happen in life, however today I feel that I need to consider some of the bigger things to.

680.  Learning how to crochet.
681.  Taking a solo trip to meet a new friend in Boston, USA.
682.  Having a fabulous family holiday with the four of us.
683.  Finally getting all the rooms in the house decorated and made by us.
684.  Learning how to say no to significant people.
685.  Learning how to put my children and husband first.
686.  Keeping my job going through very rough times.
687.  Learning how to say yes when help is offered.
688.  Finding new books and resources that have helped me stay close to God.
689.  Sticking with a craft project for months and months (and still continuing) knowing that it will be so worth it in the end.

Chatting with a friend the other day, also made me realise that I am starting 2012 in a very different place to where I started 2011.  It has certainly been a year of challenges but also a year of growth.  I can look forward to 2012 with great anticipation of what new things I will learn, and what skills I might develop.

I have no idea at the moment what shape the next 12 months will take on, but I do know that
"I can do all things through Him who strengthen me"  Philippians 4:13.