Would It change what I believe? 

As I placed my lottery this weekend I was wondering about what I would do if I won the jackpot. A dream i’m sure we all have had at one time or another. I was wondering if being a millionaire would change my political view point. 

It’s easy I guess to say tax the wealthy when you are poor. Would my view be the same if I was one of the elite?

I didn’t have to think about it that long because I truly think my answer would be no.

I don’t think my viewpoint would change.

You see no amount of money can replace my compassion or my empathy.

But most of all money couldn’t replace my need to feel part of something.

You see we have all been sold the lie that being individualistic is the only way to live. To only think about oneself and our own wants and needs. But this only leads to one thing loneliness. 

The consumerism lie that things can make you happy has been pushed down our throats way to long.

Yet the truth is far from it. 

The newest model phone can be fun, but will it hug you close as you fall asleep?

That gorgeous designer handbag will look good on your arm but will it laugh out loud at your stupid jokes or wipe away your tears when you are sad?

Community and relationships are the greatest of things and money cannot buy them. 

Having money won’t stop me loving on children who have no place to call home.

Stop me fighting for services and support for my friends who are either disabled or raising disabled children.

Having a full bank account will not stop me encouraging those who need support or guidance. 

I’m not going to lie and say winning the lottery wouldn’t be amazing. My adapted home on a farm depends on it. 

Yet whilst the money would make life easier it wouldn’t make me complete.

It’s my, family, friends and passions that do this. 

   

Autism awareness week – Speak Up

World-Autism-Awareness-Week-banner.ashx

 

 

This week is World Autism Awareness Week and we are Speaking Up and standing up for autism.

Its not just about raising funds for autism support it is about spreading the word and raising awareness.

Here are some facts and statistics about autism.

  • Autism is a serious, lifelong and disabling condition. Without the right support, it can have a profound – sometimes devastating – effect on individuals and families
  • It is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support.
  • Autism is much more common than many people think. There are around 700,000 people in the UK with autism – that’s more than 1 in 100. If you include their families, autism touches the lives of 2.7 million people every day.
  • Autism doesn’t just affect children. Children with autism grow up to be adults with autism.
  • Autism is a hidden disability – you can’t always tell if someone has it.
  • While autism is incurable, the right support at the right time can make an enormous difference to people’s lives.

 

autism 700,oo

Raising two children who both have a diagnoses of autism has made me really realise how vast the spectrum is and its this degree of variation that leaves many struggling with little or no support.

There need to be more investment placed in early and true diagnoses and support given.

There also needs to be more support to those who care for children and adults with autism.

I can honestly say that why I love my children with all my heart at times autism has led me to some isolated places. Its hard watching your children struggle to understand, get frustrated or anxious. Its also hard when you are the receiver of their frustrations. Having the right support and guidance is invaluable.

So that is why this week I am Speaking Up to raise awareness of Autism.

speak up

Please visit the The National Autistic Society and learn more about Autism

 

 

Don’t forget to join in with this weeks Speak Up and tell me what your are passionate about and let us support and encourage each other.

Speak Up – A stitch in time

For the last 14  years I have been working with professionals within the social care field where there is a majority opinion that funding given in early support services would make savings later on and make a more dramatic difference to children’s lives.

Investment in the health of pregnant women leads to healthy children.

Support for young, inexperienced mother’s lead towards more educated, healthy happy children.

Guidance and support in youth services leads to less in the juvenile correction system and so on.

Yet for so long services seem to be funded in a catch up manner, fighting the fires when the fire is at full blaze.

So this is why I am getting behind a campaign being run by Action for Children, Barnardo’s, The Children’s Society, and NSPCC called “A Stitch in time”

stich_in_time_facebook_banner_1

 

We say it’s time for change.

Responsible government must invest in services and support that prevent problems before they start — to improve the lives of children and families and save money for taxpayers in the long run. That is why we are calling for all political parties to make a commitment to shift the emphasis of public services to early support.

We want the next Government to focus more on early support
 to help children, young people and their families.

1.

More stability into children and family
 services – five year spending plans

Making five year funding commitments — from one election to the next — would allow the Government, local councils, and other service providers to make longer-term plans. Most importantly, children could stick with the same support staff as they grow old.

2.

Help your local £ work – promote
 Community Budgets

Community Budgets allow providers of services to pool their budgets. This reduces waste and makes it easier to work together
 to help children. It’s a relatively new way of working, so the Government needs to support its development and promotion.

3.

Show us what’s
 happening – more accountability

With spending moved towards early support, we would like to see annual progress reports. Parliament should be involved in scrutiny through the Public Accounts Committee.

4.

Acting early to avoid crisis – shift public money towards early intervention

There is so much evidence that acting early avoids expensive crises that it only
makes sense to invest a bigger slice of our public money.

 

Our support services are struggling and many are reaching breaking point, people are not getting enough support,  getting support to late or simply getting none.

Investment is needed in early support and intervention and it is needed now.

A stitch in time is asking you to Take action Now. 

Visit the website and help protect children from crisis.

 

 

speak up

 

Together we can raise our voices louder.

So join me each week writing about what has touched you enough to speak out about.

Share news, campaigns, petitions and so much more.

As a community we can support and encourage one another.

After you have linked up visit at least one other blog of those who have linked up.

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph. “

Haile Selassie

Lets do this ……..

 

 

Speak Up on FGM.

Writing this blog and others for the last 8 years has granted me many opportunities.

I have been lucky to experience some wonderful moments and make some fantastic friends.

Still one thing I am really grateful for in this online space is the freedom to use my voice, to share my passions, my beliefs and my heart.

Yet having such freedom should never be underestimated or undervalued when still in many places in this world many do not have this opportunity or freedom.

So with this in mind I am creating a new weekly linky called “Speak up” I want us all to come together and use our voices to speak out about things we are passionate about, those we wish to change and those we wish to support.

speak up

Together we can raise our voices louder.

So join me each week writing about what has touched you enough to speak out about.

Share news, campaigns, petitions and so much more.

As a community we can support and encourage one another.

After you have linked up visit at least one other blog of those who have linked up.

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph. “

Haile Selassie

Lets do this ……..

——————————————————————————————————–

This week I am Speaking Up about FGM or in its full Female Genital Mutilation.

What is Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)?

FGM is when parts or all of the external female genitalia are removed or injured for no medical reason.

It is also sometimes referred to as female genital cutting or female circumcision. There are no health benefits to FGM and it is recognised internationally as a human rights violation.

Female genital mutilation is classified into four major types:

Type 1 – Clitoridectomy: partial or total removal of the clitoris (a small, sensitive and erectile part of the female genitals) and, in very rare cases, only the prepuce (the fold of skin surrounding the clitoris).

Type 2 – Excision: partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora, with or without excision of the labia majora (the labia are “the lips” that surround the vagina).

Type 3 – Infibulation: narrowing of the vaginal opening through the creation of a covering seal. The seal is formed by cutting and repositioning the inner, or outer, labia, with or without removal of the clitoris.

Type 4 – Other: all other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, e.g. pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterising the genital area.

 

Its hard to get your head around isn’t it.

 

Honestly I read this and still cannot accept or understand why this is still happening.

I was actually talking to a friend a week or so ago and somehow we got onto the subject of what injustices we struggle with in this world today. When I mentioned FGM she asked in which countries that this still happened now. She was shocked when I replied here in the UK.

My friend like many others were under the belief that this abuse had been outlawed here in the UK. The fact that FGM has been illegal here since 1984 would allow you to believe this.

But you would be wrong.

A  local Birmingham hospital has dealt with 1,500 cases of FGM in last five years.

This means that six victims have been treated each week.

The fact that this is illegal seems to have no effect on the amount of mutilations occurring.  In 2014 regardless of the rise in hospital cases and reports given to the police there was not one single conviction in the UK.

This is appalling, even the fact that since 2003 anyone taking a child out of the Uk for the barbaric practice could face up to 14 years in prison has not slowed down the rate.

In fact The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 makes it

•illegal to practice FGM in the UK

•illegal to assist a girl to mutilate her own genitalia

•illegal to take girls who are British Nationals or permanent residents of the UK abroad for  FGM whether or not it is lawful in that country;

•Illegal to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad;

An offence under this act has a maximum penalty of up to 14 years in prison and/or a fine.

Yet still no convictions.

Girls as young as five are being subjected to this heinous act.

Let me share with you some more figures.

60,000 girls under 15 are at risk of FGM in the UK

137,000 girls and women are living with the consequences of FGM in the UK

Over 130 million girls and women worldwide have undergone FGM

FGM is practiced in more than 29 countries across Africa, parts of the Middle East, South East Asia and countries where migrants from FGM affected communities live.

This needs to stop.

So that is why I am Speaking Up this week against FGM in hope to raise public attention to the fact that this is still happening right now in 2015.

Speaking up to support organisations like Forward UK who are working hard in the UK, Europe and Africa to safeguard girls at risk of FGM and support women affected.

Speak up against FGM with me.

national_fgm_poster

 

Join in with my new weekly link up and Speak Up for something that moves you and don’t forget to go visit the other linked up. blogs

When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.

Audre Lorde

[inlinkz_linkup id=506474 mode=1]

 

 

It’s not where you come from.

It not where you come from it’s where you belong.

I listened to this song the other day and I just fell apart. The words hit my heart and like a dam breaking inside of me the tears began to fall.

Journeying through life isn’t easy but it’s a lot harder when you don’t have the basic support structure behind you.

Family, friends, community.

These are what guides you and lifts you through the struggles of life.

Yes they may be times when one to two of these break but then hopefully the others step up and fill the gap.

Yet as a foster carer I know that sometimes this structure completely falls apart. For various reasons children find themselves in…

Need of a home.

in

Need of a family.

in

Need of friends

and In

Need of a community.

My heart has broken listening to stories of kids growing up not knowing where they will be tomorrow.

Children scared of making friends because tomorrow they may be somewhere else.

This is why I love my job.

I get to be that structure for a child in need.

I get to love upon and help them to understand that they are loved.

Teach them that they deserve love and most of all they are safe.

I get to be family,friends and community to a child in need.

Each day children are taken into care and the need for foster carers has risen dramatically over the years.

It’s not an easy job, time after time you will find yourself being rejected.

But it’s not about you.

It’s about a child .

A child whose world had changed.

A child who is scared to trust.

A child in fear.

Yet being a foster carer is also one of the best jobs in the world.

You get to change a child’s life.

You get to make a difference.

What could be more amazing than that?

Its not where you come from it’s where you belong.

 

 

 

 

2014 I’m coming for you.

After hearing the news of the passing of one not much older than me. I have reached a realisation.

Life is way to short.

I have been letting the ones who have walked away from me have too much of my headspace and allowing them to cause me heartache.

Not anymore

I am going to cherish those that walk alongside me. My pretty awesome husband Alan and my beautiful children. My fantastic dad and stepmom who are always there for me and of course my amazing friends.

I have had old friends come back into my life which I am so grateful for. People who I have missed dearly.

I have made new friends that now feel like they have been in my life forever.

I have a new church family and a place where my husband has found his faith, which I am so very blessed by.

I have been welcomed into a new community of plus size bloggers who have shown me that I am beautiful whatever my size. They have given me confidence I have never had.

I have friends that have stood by me for many years. Being a light in the darkness. Special needs parents, grieving parents all have walked along side me.

I am truly blessed.

2014 is going to be my year of moving forward.

20131228-233638.jpg

A magical week

I’m not quite sure I can find the words to describe this last week. Being in that field In Wem has again surpassed any expectations I had.

I have been cocooned in a place where people get me. Where people understand my life. Where people share my joys and my heartaches.

Laughter is the greatest medicine of them all and this week there has been some dramatic healing going on.

20130823-010842.jpg
People came with stresses and worries and for this last week we have left them all behind and reminded ourselves of the true beauty In life, FRIENDSHIP

We all feel stronger with a good friend by our sides and that’s what this week has been about.

Community.

This week in that field in Wem has been incredible.

We have had fun days with bouncy castles and BBQs.

We have had balloon releases to celebrate and remember those that have gone before us. Tears have fallen and hearts have ached but together we were surrounded by love that eased our grieving souls.

20130823-010934.jpg
Everyone of us remembering a child or a loved one who was taken too soon.

The fragility of life with our children was there in the disappearing balloons but also the reminder to live life to the the full was there too.

20130823-011030.jpg
The special Olympic races were so much fun. The sheer joy and exhilaration as the children in their wheelchairs were raced along by competitive parents or teens.

Adults races with father and son determined to beat each other, young and old, wheelchair bound or wobbly walkers we had it all.

For me this was such a special time. Watching the faces of the children as they reached that finish line was priceless and such a wonderful memory to store up and cherish forever.

Special kids in the UK camp to me is all about grabbing life by both hands and living it.

The expectations and assumptions for our children get left at the gate.

I’ve spent a lot of time this week people watching and have had my heart refreshed by human kindness.

Teenagers being dragged about by toddlers. Young adults being followerd by young admirers.

I’m so proud to call these people my family.

I have had such a wonderful time. I could write blog post after blog post.

Sharing stories of a crazy gentleman who dress up in ball gowns.

Of a young man who defined the odds and took his first steps.

Of a terrifying car crash that thankfully only ended in a written off car, of the young driver who didnt care about about said car as long as his passengers were all ok.

Of trips to McDonald’s without shoes and of belly dancing and bottom talk.

I could share so much,

It was truly a magical week and although I am glad to be home in the comfort of my bed I am already missing my friends.

My nights around the campfire and the stories we share. Of drooping marshmallows and shared dreams.

20130823-011302.jpg
Camp was amazing this year I got to meet up with old friends and to make new ones.

Also my new motto from this week is simply

“Kill them with kindness”.

I love it.

Stepping out in-courage

I sat there alone basking in the irony.

Here I was watching a conference on community, hearing stories of wonderful God blessed friendships, of lives fulfilled by the roles they play as the friend.

I wondered as I logged in, why am I doing this to myself, am I just torturing my soul? Doesn’t it ache enough?

The videos began to play and my heart began to search, my heart began to listen, then finally it began to hear.

In these stories I had found home, my hurts, my pain. The soul tearing I had felt wasn’t just mine to own. These ladies too had feared community, feared stepping out, felt alone within a crowd.

How can these videos effect me so much, why are these stories resonating through my whole, why oh why are the tears falling down my face?

Because they speak the truth, they guide me towards what the heart knows but the head was refusing to accept. I am afraid, I am fearful, I am scared.

Friendship is a word that reaches into my body and stopped the blood from pouring into my heart. It leaves me cold.

I’ve tried it once before and it failed miserably, women I walked along side left when the road got rocky and obstacles stood in the way. I didn’t help, I don’t help. I didn’t cry out please don’t leave me, I too just stopped returning calls or making invitations.

Seasons of life,

I’ve heard this said before but had I let the understanding, the acceptance soothe my soul as the healing balm it could be.

My answer is simply no!

I’m not new to the stories I’m hearing , I have followed the writings over the past year or so. 

But have I been reading but not understanding?

YES 

Have the words really penetrated the walls that I have surrounded my heart with.

NO

The excuses got in there first, “They have it all together” “I could never write like that” “or maybe its different in America” are just a few that I resurrect each time the words got too close.

 Raising my shield against stories, against the truth.

 Reading in-courage but having none.

 Lying to myself about acceptance of a life alone. “Hey I don’t need friendship”, “I have great kids a wonderful husband” etc etc lies told to my own heart.

Ignoring the passages of God’s word where he calls us together to be a fellowship, to be all parts of the one body of Christ.

That can’t be for me, Ive tried it once, it just isn’t me, it wont work out.

Yet here I was signing up to watch the conference!

From the moment I pressed play I wasn’t alone, I felt the love of God surround me, Jesus was crying out to my heart, please listen,this is what I want for you. 

Friends are my gifts to you, they are the physical beings of my love. Open your heart dear child, let them in.

You have never been alone and you are so loved. Please step out in-courage.