Monday, 27 September 2010

The Gratitude Community

I have had several moments this week when I have had to just stop and listen, when my body has given up and even keeping my eyes open is too much   When not sleeping my ears are still alert (actually I'm a mother and I reckon they don't ever totally turn off!).   It is some of those moments this week that I have heard things that have made my heart swell with gratitude.

235.  The open window from which I can hear 3 children tipping out cars and planes, voicing what they desire to create.
236.  A safe place to physically run away to when the going is too tough.
237.  The hugs from friends that show me how much they care.
238.  Being given the go ahead to launch another evangelistic event for children in our Parish.
239.  Inspiration from fellow bloggers, to create only from stuff I have already.
240.  The infectious excitement of my youngest preparing for her first residential activity holiday with school.
241.  Homework continuing to be completed with very little prompting.
242.  Having a work meeting in Starbucks - that was so much fun!
243.  Watching my big green pumpkin growing in my veg patch turning a luminous orange in the darker evening.s
244.  Central Heating which works with the first switch on of the autumn.
245.  A big bag of sticks gathered from our chimney, from the crows failing to make a nest on our chimney pot in the spring - nice and dry and ready for a small bonfire one fine night.
246.  Ann Voskamp - getting me to write down these blessings, is making my heart swell, thank you x.


Friday, 24 September 2010

When you can't do anything right!

                                                                       Picture from google images.

I have had a horrible week this week, I seem to be falling out with everybody!  Yesterday for the first time in my life I found myself shouting at my dad!  The result of all this is I feel like one hell of a bad guy - after all I am the common denominator in the upsets.

I wonder if it is to do with just another 'life stage' that we seem to be going through.  There have been a lot of deaths and some very serious illness occurred in our church family this last few months.  Amongst our friends there seems to be an increase in their parents becoming ill and requiring more help and/or dying.  I know I should be feeling compassionate and empathetic towards them all but I don't.  When I see that someone has lived three score years and ten (plus quite a lot, some of them!)then it feels like they have had a long life.  I know this probably all relates to the grief that I still feel over my little sister dying at 36 years old nearly two years ago. 

My husbands parents have both passed away, his father 10 years ago and his mother just over 2 1/2 years ago.  I on the other hand still have both my parents and my grandmother (really my great Aunt on my mothers side). The later is in a nursing home requiring full time care, she no longer knows who her family are, except that she often refers to my mum as being her sister who died 10 years ago.  However my parents no longer feel like my parents.  Since my sister died they have gone from their 'young' real ages (now 65 and 64 years) to elderly folk who can no longer look after others.  I am really struggling with this!  I am not ready to take on more caring!  I am struggling enough looking after my 'new' family. So why do I feel so guilty about letting them just get on with what they are doing and accepting the flack that they give me when I am not 'helping'?

I have been wondering this morning whether this is actually progress - that I have been able to express some frustration to my father on earth.  Through all the trying times of the last few years I have never once felt angry towards God my father in heaven.  I have been told by many that I can be, that it is allowed, that He is big enough to cope with my anger - but I have just not felt it.  Maybe the anger is starting to come out - I just so hope I don't upset anyone irreparably in the process!

Maybe I need to be wearing some sort of danger sign around my neck to warn people of possible explosions  or maybe I just need to stay in doors today and do a bit of crafting!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Tired but still thank full.

We have had a very busy weekend, but have so much to be thankful for:

225. Friends visiting from Australia with their latest edition to the family since we saw them last.

226.  My boy pleased with himself for making fire!

227.  My eldest also getting a successful go.

228.  The growth of a family, 3 friends became 3 couples and between us we have 9 children!

229.  My boy makes his own marshmallow toasting fork.

230.  Something my safety aware and fire shy youngest dares to join in with.

231.  Fun into the night.

232.  Visting critters from the garden.
234.  Stamina to keep going when I really need to.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Attachment Disorder - an update.

I can't believe it was June when I first wrote about coming to terms with and learning about attachment disorders in my blog.  Three months on there have been good times and bad.  I thought it might be useful to write down all the boundaries that we put in place and where we are up to with them now.

1. Not leaving to walk to school until 25 minutes before school starts (it's a good 20 minutes walk away).
2. Being home 25 minutes after school has finished.
3. Not watching any programmes on television made for viewing after 8pm.
4. Suspending her facebook account.
5. Not being allowed to stay in the house either by herself or with the younger two, for any amount of time.
6. Not being allowed to spend any time in her bedroom except for when with friends or doing music practise (which we can hear downstairs!).
7. Not attending any afterschool clubs because of the time curfew.
8. Only attending existing evening clubs where we know the leaders and take and fetch her.
9. No having her computer (which has no internet access anyway) upstairs to watch DVD's on.
10. No taking the dog for a walk by herself.
11. No walking to or from friends houses by herself.
12. No access to her mobile phone.

I am sure there may have been some other things!  What a huge list!  The more difficult ones, were the ones where she was no longer able to do things her 10 year old cousin was still allowed to do.

The good news is we have not had any major attention seeking behaviour (which was escalating before the new rules) since we started.  There have been times of really pushing the boundaries, when she has conveniently forgotten that certain things are out of bounds but has persistantly kept asking to do them and stropping when not allowed.

Now I am not putting the improvements all down to us and our boundaries!  It is also very interesting to note that we (or her) have had no contact with her father during this time.  The school summer holidays were hard work, we relaxed some of the rules, we allowed her to start walking the dog and she was allowed to play out on our street with neighbours children without being supervised.

One aspect that seemed to go down with less fuss than anything else was the not being able to spend time in her room alone.  There  have been very few times when we have had to remind her about this one and the self-harming behaviour has not been happening at all.  We had also done a huge clearout of her belongings with her permission.  She has actually expressed how much more she likes her room now it has not much in it - no reminders -  are her words.  I'm not exactly sure what the reminders were but she seems happy not to have them around her.

Now that the new school term has started more relaxing of rules is also taking place,  we have removed the ban on watching TV programmes made for after 8pm viewing, though are watching the progammes she does watch with her.  She has already stayed behind at school on one occassion for a one off activity and we are considering allowing her to start a new weekly afterschool club.  She has been allowed to stay home alone for short periods of time, though always without any prior notice from us.  She has asked for her mobile phone back, which we have given her though it has to live in the kitchen in a stand unless she is going out with it (it has remained in the kitchen in the stand for the last two weeks!)  Just this evening she has asked when she can go back to her facebook account, we have agreed to consider giving it back to her at 1/2 term (end of October) dependent on how she copes up until then.

Her therapy sessions have lessened to approximately once a month and I now always go in with her.  Her therapist can see a big change in eye contact, tone of voice and body language.  I find the sessions very hard going, especially when I have been feeling quite low anyway, I am being given the strength to persevere though.  She seems to be quite enthusiastic about having a positive start to being in Year 9 at school and has been getting on with homework with minimum fuss.

We have turned a corner, there are plenty more to come, as with everybody we do not know what tomorrow will bring, and to be honest I'm quite relieved by that most of the time!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Finding a new routine.

I do think it is funny how I long to have some 'normality' in my life.  You would think after 42 years I might start to understand that there is no such thing as 'normal'.  I suppose what I really crave is some sort of order, as do most folk I find routines comforting - they give me a sense of being able to complete something.  The problem I find in life though is that the routines keep having to change.  At the start of the children's summer holidays there is a new routine to find, where we can all relax and feel on 'holiday'.  Now that they have gone back to school,  I can't just pick up the old routine we were using 3 months ago.  The children are a bit older, they are doing different things, they want different things.

I set some boundaries with the three of them last week,  at the end of last term, homework got very out of hand.  I was not being consistent, they were not bringing homework home, or arguing about doing it, or not putting any effort into it.  So my new boundary set was that if I had to moan at them to get on with homework, if they forgot it, or if they did not do it or hand it back in, then pocket money would be deducted from them.

Now whether it was the shock of that or whether as I hope, they have all made a new commitment in this new school year to work hard, the homework situation last week was dreamy.  Long may it continue.

Hopefully for me my new routine of work and home life will start to settle and I might start feeling productive again.  In the meantime I continue to count my blessings.

215.  Morning Prayer with my work colleagues.
216.  The comfort of my bed when my body hurts.
217.  Sunshine on my face.
218.  Sunday lunch outside in the garden.
219.  Time to declutter and give away what we really do not need.
220.  Friends who will pop round and forgive me for talking with my eyes closed when my lids are too heavy.
221.  The comfort of my puppy jumping onto my garden chair to snooze with me.
222.  The quietness of a walk in the New Forest on a Sunday afternoon.
223.  The reminder to pace myself better.
224.  The longing He puts in my heart.

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Friday, 10 September 2010

My Rose Garden

Remember this:

I blogged my new Rose garden as a blessing back in May this year.  I hadn't realised that I had written so little!   I was inspired to try and grow roses a few years ago after visiting the famous rose gardens at the National Trust property Mottisfont Abbey, which is about 25 minutes away from us.  Their gardens are planted in a way I had never seen roses grown before - in huge beds with lots of annuals and perennials growing up and around and through them.

During a visit from my step-mother-in-law, she insisted on taking me to a local rose grower Pococks Roses.  It was very daunting walking into somewhere as a complete and absolute beginner.  I need not have worried though - I told them about my plans and my lack of knowledge and they reassuring told me which of the many different types of roses they had, would suit my plans.  As I result I came home and planted, let me introduce:


Seventh Heaven
Special Anniversary

and finally Sweet Valentine
I don't have a photo of the whole garden at the moment but look what I can see from my kitchen window now:

I don't have a picture of my 'Sweet Valentine' red rose yet, but have several about to open so will post it as soon as it does.  I am planning to purchase another in November when the next batch are ready - the one I am after is called Winchester Cathedral and is a beautiful white fragant rose.  All four that I have at the moment are fragrant and especially in the evening my whole garden has gentle perfumes covering it.  At the moment I have also got planted some perenial blue geraniums, some japenese anenomies and a lovely blousy fuscia.  Next spring I intend to do a bit of seed planting around them to see if I can get just a bit more of a Mottisfont feel to the patch. 

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Renewing a Stained T-shirt.

I was really cross with myself the other week.  I put on a cream t-shirt and then went outside to do some gardening.  I know, I know, I didn't even notice the stain until I was doing my ironing after washing it.  I was not happy, there was no way it was going to come out.
You can see the mark in the centre at the bottom.  I was especially annoyed because it is a fairly new fairtrade t-shirt from Marks and Spencers.  So I put my thinking cap on and now have a much nicer t-shirt.
In fact I prefer my t-shirt now to when it was plain - hooray!
The fabric I used was from an old pair of linen trousers which had worn out.  I used bamboo buttons that used to be on my duvet cover until the holes started to grow and I had to replace the buttons.  I used 2 strands of embroidery silk for the central designs and one strand for the edge stitching.  I pinched the heart design from at Down to Earth, she has a free downloadable pattern for an embroidery I am still in the process of! Before doing the embroidery I ironed onto the squares some bondaweb, then embroidered, then ironed the squares onto the t-shirt before finishing with the buttons and edge stitching.  All in all it has taken me a couple of hours which I have done while playing scrabble on facebook!  How smug am I now feeling!  It has been quite good biblical teaching to me as well, as it does tell us in the bible:

Revelation 21: 1-5
And I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more ... I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold the dwelling of God is with men ... He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall mourning nor crying, nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away... And he who sat upon the throne said, "Behold, I make all things new."

Monday, 6 September 2010

Filled by Grace.

My last post was so gloomy, I do apologise, these times just happen occasionally.  I do feel that God heard my cries and I have been blessed by lovely contacts with friends and much patience by my family.  As a result God's refreshing waters have been filling up the gaping hole that I had found myself in.

Now seems a good time to sit back and look some more of the wondrous blessings that pass before my eyes each day.

201.  A safe secure home.
202.  Children willing to express their love for me.
203.  Roses blooming in my garden.
204.  Food in my cupboards, fridge and freezer.
205.  New shoes and uniforms for the children to start school with.
206.  Generous friends passing on clothes for my girls.
207.  A hospital check up with no waiting around.
208.  My car.
209.  Friends little children willing to hug and kiss me and letting me read them stories.
210.  Good books to read from the library. (That reminds me I MUST renew them!).
211.  A patient workplace letting me ease back into a job that I love.
212.  Watching my puppy dog playing with her toys.
213.  Ears to listen with, even when I do not really want to hear what is being said.
214.  My eldest being willing to go to work with my hubby for a day so that I can work.