Monday, 30 May 2011


This is a blog entry I've been considering for a long time and think maybe it's time to share it!!

I've recently rejoined 'facebook' after a considerable absence. There were a few reasons for this, the easiest one to share, was that I waste my time on it!! I love looking at other peoples' pictures and knowing how everyone is and what they're up to. It reminds me when birthdays are coming up and I can celebrate with friends enjoying good times, anniversaries, weddings, births etc, as well as knowing when tragedies have happened or people are poorly.

However I found myself becoming more and more isolated because of this....I know that sounds odd but it's true. I would sign in and see everyone else seemingly having good times, or be upset when someone was not well or having a difficult time with life. It was a dreadful distraction and caused me to spend less time with friends and family. I got to a point where I just couldn't cope with how it was making me feel so I deactivated my account.

That was about 6 months ago, maybe more. If you've been following my blog you'll know I've been on a bit of a journey and 'facebook' has been part of that journey. So last week I rejoined the 'facebookers' of this world. Today I've spent some time looking at photos I hadn't had access to for some time, and it took me back to some really happy times. I still have a problem with facebook and how it can manipulate you if you let it, but I know I'm in a better place to deal with those emotions and I know I share my feelings with other good friends too....I'm sure we'll keep one another in check!!

I've decided to use 'facebook' in a particular way, continue to guard my heart and limit my time on it. I look forward to being able to enjoy communication with friends I don't see often or live in other parts of the world but I will also continue to invest in friendships in person, rather than by 'facebook', because for me, nothing beats actually spending quality time with people.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


On Monday it was three years since my mum died. I remember last year Auntie and I spent a lovely morning at Savill Gardens reminiscing and chatting about mum and my dad too. I was in a completely different place spiritually and emotionally and spending that special time with Auntie was absolutely what I needed.

This year as I said I'm in a different place, and that caused my thoughts and memories to be ones of gratitude and to feel a sense of peace. I understand grief is a complicated concept and something we all have to deal with in our lives at some point. I also understand that we deal with it in many ways, but for the moment.....I have a confidence that God has his hand on my life, and has helped me turn a corner in my grieving process.

The continual support of family and friends and the healing and restoration of relationships in my life have all contributed to this corner being turned. I know God has provided me with some fabulous people over the last three years helping me deal with all the aspects of grieving and hasn't been easy and I know I haven't arrived, as it were.....none the less I know I'm in a better place, and even beginning to think what my next challenge might be!!

There have been some dark days and yet as a good friend of mine said to me recently, 'each year there are more good days than bad, which means I must be making progress'. I am so grateful for those people God has put across my path to help me through this season and so grateful for the wonderful relationship I had with my mum.

As I read in my Morph studies recently, gratitude protects us from our hearts being darkened. In other words if we are grateful for the blessings we have in life, and intentional about thanking God and people for what they have done to help us, then we feel blessed and our hearts are made stronger. Why not give it a go, I know it's working for me.

Saturday, 21 May 2011


Do you ever find that life can be swimming along just fine and then something happens to you or you do something which just turns it all upside down??? Well that happened to me last night!!

I listened to a teaching cd some time ago which I re listen to at regular intervals (mainly I think because It's taking me some time to learn the lesson!!). The talk was on the influence we have on other people and the way we affect people when we enter a room. Whether it's through our body language or words we say. These influences can be positive or negative and last night I'm afraid I gave off negative vibes both verbally and physically!!

I got home and realized how stupid I'd been and then felt really rubbish!!! After pondering my actions I've since apologized to the people involved and hope we can all move on. However this could all have been avoided had I had the right attitude to start with!!!

I have a tendency to predict how an event or meeting is going to go, instead of just enjoying the moment. These predictions can cause me to be very defensive, negative and even sometimes quite aggressive!! As I get older I'm recognizing these faults in myself and trying not to go down this road anymore.

I recognise my attitudes can affect what I do, how I react to situations and people, what I say and how I feel. I know God wants me to have the right attitude and I'm striving to achieve this, but it's a difficult journey. I know my attitudes are affected by my thought processes and where they lead me. As I said in my previous blog life is about choices but those choices are influenced by the attitudes we cultivate and develop.

I know God forgives me for being so stupid I just have to forgive myself now and keep learning from my mistakes.

Thursday, 19 May 2011


I'm rapidly learning that the choices we make in life determine how we feel, how we react, how we affect and influence other people and ultimately how we are perceived by other people. I keep trying to tell myself that actually it doesn't matter what other people think of me but I know that deep down that isn't true.

This week I made some easy choices and some difficult choices. Choices that have affected the rhythm of my day to day life, but all choices that are growing me and choices that are affecting others.

I chose to attend 'Fourteen' again, a day of rest, a Sabbath day for me and one I had booked in last month since I had experienced the peace and calm of the last one. (Girls I appeal to you take time to make the time to do it if you can, it's well worth it). This was a day where I put aside the washing, cleaning and ironing I should have been doing to catch up after being away, but a day where I felt totally at peace with my decision and what God wanted to say to me throughout the day.

I chose to celebrate and share life with friends. To cultivate relationships, to use my gifts of hospitality and encouragement. I chose to attend parents evening and support and encourage Gemma as she progresses through school. I chose to write notes on what the teachers said for Wayne, as he's had to travel to Liverpool for work.

I chose to be vulnerable and be interviewed for the programme which you will receive if you attend 'Real 2011'. Another step of faith, a teaching moment, a time to reconsider how God has been there for me over the last few months in particular.

The hardest choice I've had to make this week is to accept some more work. This is the one thing in my life at the moment which really throws my rhythm off kilter. I can't explain the panic I feel when I get a call or an email asking me to attend a meeting or work on a new project. Wayne is amazing and has such faith in my abilities I just wish I shared it!! I know I can only do my best, I know it will grow me and I will learn so much, but just the thought of applying myself mentally in a very foreign world, makes me feel sick and anxious. I'm sure this has something to do with 'age' and the fact that I've been out of the workplace for so long, but it doesn't really help me deal with it!! I feel like I'm trundling up the rollercoaster about to reach the peak and the anticipation of the drop is causing my stomach to churn and lose all sense of perspective!

However I do know that God will use all of these choices, the easier ones and the hard ones to mould me, to grow me, to stretch me and to use me. I just need to hold onto that truth as I try and manage my time, and fit it all in. This time next week it will all be over and hopefully the choices I've made this week will have had positive affects on people and I'll be perceived in a good light by my friends, family and work colleagues but most importantly by God.

Monday, 16 May 2011

The Wait is Over

Yes I was glued to the TV on Saturday afternoon and yes I was thrilled that my beloved team finally won the FA Cup in my lifetime!!! It's been a long wait!! Saturday was not one of those disappointing games or results thankfully, even though it may have been a bit of a dull first half for the neutral, I can assure you I was transfixed!!

The whole day and atmosphere for both sets of fans was terrific. It was great to see all the Stoke fans staying to see City receive the cup and celebrate their own teams achievements as well. It felt like a real cup final. Non of the 'Usual Suspects' taking part and a true day for the fans of both teams.

May 14th 2011 belonged to the fans, and a fab day for me. It was made special by the many texts and phone calls from friends and family sharing in my happiness, and understanding that I would not be available to talk during the game!! It means a lot when you feel like you've been understood and accepted for who you are, and that people care about what you enjoy. I know most of my friends don't quite get it, but it's nice to know they respect it, and are happy to share in my happiness and mad passion.

Let's hope this isn't the last silverware we win, and who knows we might pip Arsenal to third place in the League as well...!!!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Girls on Tour - Bruges

I don't know about you but when I've been away, I try to spend some time reflecting about the 'best bits'. Those of you who have children of your own, or nephews and nieces, will I'm sure have quizzed them about what the best bit of their day was or what was the best bit about that holiday etc etc.
Well I've just got back from a wonderful trip away with friends I've known since my move south. We regularly meet for meals throughout the year but Jan had a special birthday to celebrate, so we decided to go away. The beautiful City of Bruges was the final decision and to top it all Ann managed to get time off work and join us from Wales six 'girls on tour'!!

It was a memorable trip for many reasons:

  • Easy travelling on the Eurostar.

  • Fun tours of the Chocolate and Chip museums.....of course you all know that French Fries should really be known as Belgian Fries. It was the Americans that didn't realise they were in Belgium when they discovered the 'fries'!!

  • The clip clop of the horses on the very 'uncomfortable for walking' cobbles!!

  • A lovely boat trip round the canals that circle the city, a bit more relaxing than the M25!!!

  • Moules and chips eaten 'al fresco' and the wonderful local Belgian Beers of course!!

  • The quaint shops full of intricate lace and chocolate delights.

  • Time to ponder and reflect in the beautiful Church of our Lady, and seeing the amazing wooden carving of the Nativity from a whole tree trunk. It included scenes and characters from the bible and a comma (!). This depicted the belief that when we die it is not a full stop but the end of a phrase. I was particularly interested in this after I'd previously blogged about Punctuation!!

  • A bizarre meal in a restaurant where I expected to see the Adams family dining at the next table!!

  • The wonderful architecture including the amazing Bell Tower.

  • The visit to the Beer Wall, displaying the numerous Belgian Beers on offer, and a chance to buy the ones I'd sampled!!

  • Champagne and smoked salmon for breakfast at our lovely hotel St Martins Relais, and chilling in the beautiful garden with good friends and a book.

  • Topped off by the Fine Dining at the Goulden Harynck. A truly memorable meal, especially when we had a chat with the chef, Mr Serruys, who mentioned he was coming over to England soon to see his friend Jules Holland!!!

  • All in all a wonderful few days away, time to relax, not think about cooking and cleaning, or being a mummy taxi (although I did check home occassionally to make sure Wayne had collected and delivered Gemma to the right places at the right time!!), and time spent with friends enjoying one another's company and sharing good times and laughs together.

    Happy Birthday Jan and thankyou for sharing your birthday celebrations with me.

    Thursday, 5 May 2011

    Recycling and Restoration

    Well I drove up to the M6 Toll services yesterday with Auntie, where my nephew David met us, and took her the rest of the journey home. It's becoming a lovely routine. It gives Auntie and I chance to chat about her visit, I get to catch up on how the rest of the family are doing over lunch, and then on the journey home I get to play my music very loud or listen to a teaching cd. All positive ways of using the four hours of travelling. Thanks again David.

    It's been a very productive two weeks. As well as sharing a lovely Easter, celebrating the Royal Wedding and watching the World Snooker Championships together, we've been very busy in the garden and made numerous visits to the tip!! We've been so blessed with the weather and enjoyed some lovely barbecues with friends and trips to garden centres. We've celebrated a couple of special birthdays as well and enjoyed some lovely fellowship with friends. All in all a lovely visit and one I'll remember for a while.

    You may remember in a previous blog I talked about Community and how we'd transformed our front lawn (!) into a Brighton beach look alike (we're thinking of renaming the house 'The Beach House' by the way!!!!). Well after living with it for a couple of weeks I thought it needed a few modifications, no not putting all the stones back!!!!!! But breaking the pebble look up a bit with some pots and planters.

    While Auntie's been with me we've tackled the jungle in the back garden as well, and uncovered a few lost cities and an archaeological dig, oh and some pots I'd bought years ago which had been engulfed by the rambling honeysuckle and ivy....!!! So I decided to relocate the pots to the front garden and plant some pretty flowers!!

    As well as the pots we've recycled our broken water feature!!! Genius!!!
    It was a rather large pot which stood encased by a 3foot by 3foot wooden planter type thing. Unfortunately the pot cracked due to the severe weather we had in the winter. Fortunately though it cracked round the middle about halfway we decided to use the top half to plant some flowers in and fill the wooden case with compost and plant some plants in there too.....I think it looks rather nice and has certainly lost some of it's Brighton beach look!!!

    So lots of recycling and restoration. This Easter has been a definite time of renewal for me and a time of restoring not only my garden to some sort of beauty, but restoring friendships too. I'm very grateful for God's provision in helping me get to this place of peace and joy again, and each time I look at my garden it reminds me how God provides, we just need to be patient in the waiting.