Kaleidoscope of life.

I’m lying here next to Daniel and I’m watching him sleep. It’s not really the best way to spend my time I should be sleeping beside him but my anxiety is high tonight and somehow watching the rise and fall of his chest brings me peace.

The world still feels crazy right and now we are officially out of lockdown yet to be honest i’m more nervous than ever. The idea of being out and around people just makes me feel ill.

I wonder if i will ever feel normal again, if I will ever be able to go into a shopping centre and see people not virus’s everywhere?

I worry I’ve changed too much, that my desire to be surrounded by others is lost forever. Or will the anxiety fall with the lowering numbers?

I know I’m not alone, so many peopld have been effected by Covid 19. Physically or mentally the damage is vast and deep.

I’ve learned to allow myself to have days where I acknowledge my fear and my anxiety, something I used to struggle to do. Instead of trying to hide it away, i’m allowing my mind and body to be kind to itself. Ive been such a slow learner in this, I’ve hated myself for my anxiety, mocked my own weakness. I should have been stronger, I should have more faith, I should have…

I know now that I do have,

I do have strength and each day I show up.

I am strong,

I have faith, even the most devoted cry out to God at times. We aren’t supposed to live in isolation, God wants us to cry out to him. To give him all our fears.

Transparency is strength and it is also hope. Hope to others that they are not alone in their worries and fears. My openess has allowed me to realise i’m not the only one to feel this heaviness. My vulnerability has allowed others to say ” me too.”

I dont know what the future holds, each day the picture changes. A kaleidoscope of millions of pieces changing with a turn of a moment. But like the kaleidoscope the pieces fall into place creating a beautiful picture.

Anxiety, fear, pain, uncertainty are all just pieces of our final beautiful picture.

Dancing in the colours of my mind.

Have you ever closed your eyes tight so you can watch the colours as they dance across your minds eye? As a child I used to love doing this, escape into a world of colour.

My imagination was my happy place, somewhere I could be part of a world I created, a world that made sense because this planet we call earth never really felt like home.

Once I remember reading a book about cuckoo birds and was sure like their eggs I have been born into the wrong nest.

It’s a strange feeling seeing yourself in the features of those around you but not feeling connected in your heart.

Was I strange, am I strange, I guess both statements are open to arguement.

What I’ve realised as a mother is that being related does not mean that you are alike. I have birthed four amazing beautiful girls and whilst values and love for each other is similar their personalities could be no further from different, one outgoing, another reserved, one loves to learn, another loves to do. Each so creative and beautifully unique in these own special way. I celebrate this about them, so what cannot I not celebrate this about myself?

For a long time I felt that I could only be true in my imagination, that here in the real world I would have to play a part, a character created for me not by me.

Yet as I’ve grown and got older I’m finally beginning to spend time allowing the me from my imagination enter the me from the real world.

I’ve realised that to live truthfully you have to be true to yourself. You are not being fair to others if you pretend to be what you think they wish you to be.

Falseness brings hollowness.

This time in isolation right now has been hard for me as I’m sure it has for many others. Not being able to hide means that your heart has to shine out.

I’m learning so much about myself and about others. Those that truly value your connection and those that dont. Do I fit a need or a want? Was I a use or a heart to hold?.

This isolation time has illuminated so many things I was trying to hide from. But as much as I love my imagination, hiding from the pain in the multitude of dancing colours is still hiding.

Like so many others I am desperate for the lockdown to come to an end. For the world to feel safe again. Yet I dont want the world, my world to return to normal. I want to understand more about myself, to truly know my own heart. I want celebrate the true connections that have held and to truly allow myself to live my imagination in my real life, a life full of beautiful dancing colour.

With more…

Our God is a resurrection God. We believe in the resurrection of Jesus so we need to believe in the resurrection of our world, our country our people. 

Dont waste this time praying for what you had, pray for what you want your future to hold.

What has this time of fear, trouble, disease taught you?

What have you learned about yourself?

Are you going back into a job that you love, will you go back with renewed vigour? Will you look for a job that will fulfil you more?

When your children go back to school, will they go back with a more intense desire to learn, will you as their parents understand their way of learning better, be better advocates for them with a renewed understanding.

Have you learned of what you really need to survive? What is truly valuable in your life or maybe more importantly who is valued.

Will you understand yourself more, cherish your time more?

So often in life we forget that we live with the gift of resurrection. That we have the promise of more. So many right now will be heartbroken and believe me when I tell you I understand the pain of lost so deeply, so raw as if it was yesterday but I hold on to the promise of forever, the promise of our every tear being cherished.

May we come through this awful time and strive to live with more clarity, more truth, more time, more love and more hope. 

Control

We cannot go anywhere.

We don’t know when we will see those we love again.

We don’t know how or what our jobs will look like after this.

How will we cope?

What will eat?

Over the last few weeks, it has begun to feel like I have no choice in life. I cannot do what I want to do, I cannot hug those I wish to hold. I feel this weight on my chest of restriction. A noose of fear tightens day by day around my neck.

It’s hard to not feel in control of my own destiny.

Control is something I struggle with, a childhood that was often chaotic has led to an adulthood of craving the need to constrain. Yet when I read of God, I know in my heart that he has the ultimate authority of me.

Yet I still battle to hand over my control.

I’ve realised that for a long time I have mixed up control with manipulation something never used by our Father. It has taken me a while to see God’s authority is simply love.

Pure love.

Yet still even knowing this I have cried out to God this week, begged him to allow me a choice.

Yet as I was praying, I was given the image of two doors, and God was telling me simply you have a choice.

One door is faith, the other is self.

You see even in this midst I have always had a choice; I could live life depending on myself and this world or I could choose to trust what I know is true, my God.

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. “Joshua 24:15

It is a scary time right now, I’m not going to pretend I am not living in fear because I am, but I am also living in faith.

I turn my fear into praise.

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33  (NIV)

Take heart he has overcome this world.

As we enter into this Easter weekend just try and focus on the sacrifice of our saviour Jesus, imagine the many days and nights Jesus knew of what was coming before him. Yet even in this time, he turned his heart towards the father. Knowing he was to follow his Father’s will he still prayed for us, for those that had turned against him, he still loved us more.

Right now, in this time of too many toilet rolls and empty shelves pray harder than we have ever prayed before.

We may not know what the future holds but because of the cross, we know who holds the future

and he loves us so.

My confession.

Sometimes I cannot write, the words I wish to share do not form in my mind. I worry I’ve lost my way, concerned that the freedom I find in my words is lost forever.

Then I realise it’s not just writing I cannot do, reading, learning, being sociable all seem to be disappearing somewhere.

This may sound crazy but I have been doubting my own mind, who am I if I’m not doing all my normal things?

Then I realised that I’m not, not doing these things by choice. I haven’t made a conscience decsion to change who I am, no far from it. The truth is I have been invaded, my whole body and mind has been consumed by exhaustion.

I said to someone the other day I’m tired. Bless them they did not hear me, well they did but not really if that makes any sense. They seemed to acknowledge the sentiment and shared how their week had been tiring too. Obviously I was and are empathic to this but I really just wanted to say something more…

I’m tired, not just a week tired or I’ve had a few late nights tired. I’m about three years worth of tired.

I love my son with all my heart but due to his very complex needs he has an intensive 24 hours care plan which on the good days allows me a couple of hours at a time of sleep, on a bad night well, lets not go there.

I dream, yes I know that statement is ironic, but yes I dream of one night of pure oblivion sleep. One without medications, one without monitors, one without two hourly pad changes. I’m sorry if this sounds mean but I’m shattered.

For a long time I’ve not allowed myself to wish for this, the guilt completely breaking my heart. What kind of Mom am I wishing for a night of sleep? I know only to well how great is the gift that I get to love upon my child and how thankful I am when many others arms are empty. When my own arms ache to love upon his big sister, but I’m bone weary.

Actually in all honesty I don’t know why I’m sharing this, why I felt the need to write these feelings down. I know writing it down here does not change anything.

Yet in a way it does. I’m trying to challenge the thoughts and feelings that often control my mind. I’m learning to understand that beating up on myself isn’t good. I’m working on realising that all bad things that happen are not actually my fault and I’m trying, really trying to value who I am. So writing this post here is me being open and honest and realising that actually it’s ok to say you are tired, it’s ok to say you crave sleep. It does not take away your ability as a Mother, it does not mean you don’t love your child.

It simply means you are human, that I am human and human beings need sleep.

Well some do. 🤪

Life

Just seeing the word “life” leaves me feeling overwhelmed at the moment. It honestly feels like everything is coming at me from all directions. I feel lost, lonely, overloaded. I’ve tried to see what I can reduce and what I can change but I have responsibilities and for the most part, they don’t and cannot change when I feel this way. 

I read about finding a healthy life balance, but how do we know what that is? Some days I thrive on being busy, yet others my brain just ache’s with exhaustion. Quality of life, life skills, life lessons, life is what we are supposed to be living, but how really do we know what the life we are to lead is supposed to look like. 

I’ve been watching a programme about people who change their lives dramatically, give up the daily nine to five for lives in a wilderness. They lives seem happy, their lives seem content but they are still hard. I guess the place you live does play a part in the life you leave but it’s not the be-all and end-all, its not the answer.

Oh my goodness, sometimes I find these Five minute Friday challenges a step into the rabbit hole, I allow my fingers to type what random thoughts come into my mind. It’s liberating but sometimes scary, I guess I’m not sure where I am in this life at the moment. I know I don’t feel like I am where I should be, yet I also need to trust God has a plan for me. Is it wrong for me to wish he would send it to me in written form?

I guess, I know life is feeling hard right now, I also know that with what I have had to face in the last few months I should give myself a break.

Oh well, life is for learning and maybe this is a period of time I will be able to reflect upon in the future, who knows. 

Five minutes up.  

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It’s ok to be angry.

I am scared of anger, I didn’t or couldn’t allow myself to feel or acknowledge this emotion. Anger is wrong, anger breeds fear, anger can harm. Actually anger can do all of these things but I’ve finally realised that it’s also a valid emotion. That it’s ok to feel this way, it’s ok to be angry.

This may sound strange, but for me the relief in this knowledge has allowed me to breathe deeply. I’m not by nature a person who will rant and rave but for the last 43 years or from when I can remember acknowledging my emotions I have not allowed myself the freedom to be angry.

I know and understand why I dont but have to ever found yourself trying to calm yourself when you have felt hurt, wronged, annoyed this was my life. It was If I allowed myself this emotion I would be in the wrong.

Yet how do you stop yourself being angry, well for me I self blamed. Maybe I didn’t explain myself well enough, maybe I should be more compassionate, kinder, generous, clearer so on and so on. I turned the emotion inwards and believe me when I say that this can be so damaging.
I mean let’s be honest, I’m far from perfect but I am not to blame for everything.

Finally realising that anger has its place in life has been such a relief, allowing myself to feel fully is a freedom I didnt realise I was depriving myself from. I’m not now out there screaming at people but I am allowing myself to feel cross and annoyed. I am valuing my own time, space and actually the right to be. Like all emotions, happiness, sadness, excitement, fear, anger has its place. In a life where one wants to live fully one has to feel fully.

It’s crazy but now at 43 years of age I am still learning more and more about who I am. Life is quite the journey.

Joining in this week with the five minute friday. Pop over and give it a go.

Stop celebrating the numbers.

As a foster carer I love reading articles regarding fostering, those that celebrate both the wonderful people that open their homes and hearts to children in need but also, and maybe more so the amazing children that come into the lives of foster carers like myself. I adore reading about their strength and courage and their innate desire to change their story.

Still there is one thing that really frustrates me about some conversations regarding fostering and this the celebration around the numbers.

Let me explain, only a week ago I read an article about a foster carer who in her life had fostered over 5000 children and whilst the couple are pretty amazing my heart breaks that over 5000 children needed a home.

5000 children worlds were turned upside down, 5000 children were walking again into an unknown out of their control.

In England alone

  • 56,160 children were living with foster families on 31 March 2019.
  • This is 72 per cent of the 78,150 children in care looked after away from home (Department for Education, 2018).

This isn’t a number we should be celebrating.

Don’t get me wrong, whilst I am so thankful and proud to work in foster care it’s one profession where I wish I was unemployed and not needed.

The other reason I struggle with numbers is that some foster carers will never have 5000 children through their doors, not because they don’t work as hard or aren’t as open, but because they foster long term. Take myself I have now fostered for over 10 years and only 4 children have come to me. This isn’t a failing on my behalf it’s because when they come to our family it’s with a plan for a long term stay and in the case of my now adopted son,forever. There are many different streams of foster care, from respite, emergency to short and long term, from a fostering perspective it’s not about the number of children we have but the lives we can impact upon.

Fostering is an incredible job and one I’m incredibly proud of doing but it is hard at times when the numbers are celebrated.

To me, those numbers are hearts, broken scared hearts that crave love and stability. They are vulnerable spirits craving somewhere to call home.

The only time will should be celebrating the numbers is when the number of children needing to be fostered is reduced and when the amount of families kept together and supported is rising. Then I promise I will be celebrating the loudest.

 

Darkness

I’m so tired of ego’s, the desire to be seen as being right is overthrowing compassion, empathy and honesty. I am seeing people building up themselves by tearing down others and my heart is breaking.

Here in the UK we have just faced a general election one which has become the breeding ground for lies, hate speech and vitrol. Division, propaganda and so much more on all sides.

It has felt like darkness has begun to suffocate the country, not because of peoples vote but because of the disrespect of others.

As we more towards the season of light I have to have hope. I have to believe in a brighter future.

I just have to.

Darkness can only win when all light Is removed, I refuse to remove my light.

So I’m moving forward today, with kindness, compassion and determination, we have to have hope and if we cannot find it right now we can be it, I will be it.

Darkness will not win.

1. Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.

Loving like Livvy

This last November we faced the 11th anniversary of Livvy’s death and as always as we remember, we like to love forward as she would like us to. So this year in Livvy’s memory we donated some sensory boxes to our local children’s ward.

As you know I have spend many days, weeks on this ward with Daniel and one of the things that has always struck me is the need for sensory toys for children like Danny to play with.

It was wonderful to deliver the boxes to the ward and meet with the play specialist but more importantly we have already have feedback from some parents about how their children are enjoying the boxes.

Facing anniversaries are never going to be easy, but paying Livvy’s love forward is something that blesses our heart.

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Also our local hospital has a craft appeal happening right now, being in hospital over Christmas is hard ( believe me I know). So the appeal is for craft supplies to help occupy and give the children some fun. We donated some supplies but the appeal is still happening now.

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