Connections

I was sitting down last night wishing I could tweet anonymously so I could be completely honest with the world. That I could stop pretending that everything is ok and just be true. But then I realised that the whole concept of hiding isn’t truth. 

Sometimes I find this world so hard to understand and to fathom. It’s as if people don’t want to see others happy and enjoy in hurting and harming. It often feels that the selfish need of one is always more important that the needs of many.

Maybe I am as I was once told too emphatic?

Maybe I need to find a way to switch of my compassion. Or maybe I just need to find a peace between my mind and the world.

Does that sound crazy? It could, but sometimes I feel as if I am from another planet. As if my connection to this world is weak and failing. 

Oh my goodness listen to me, connection to the world how far out do I sound. 

But let’s be honest, isn’t the connections we make in this world part of our own definition. We come into this world connected, a son or a daughter born to a mother and a father, connections. Are we a sibling, a niece and nephew. Connections form from the moment of birth without any really effort on our behalf. 

Inheritance of birth is connection

These connections are our foundation, what forms us. Whilst we may not follow or at times understand the beliefs, reasoning of our parents but it’s these connections that educate us to grow, to question.

Friendship forming new threads of connectivity within the world. School pals, work colleagues and so many more.

Some connections are brief and tenuous whilst others become lifelong and strong.

Yet every connection defines us in some way. The realisation that we are not alone in this world comes with what should be the realisation that we are also responsible for others.

Yet this is the internal struggle I am facing right now. The endless battle that my mind wages against the world. 

How and why can suffering happen? 

How and why do people allow it? 

Why does it feel like humanity is losing the world to greed? 

I’m tired of being faced with selfish behaviour some my own.

I’m exhausted with people holding money over life.

Judgement not compassion.

Control not freedom.

Bigotry not acceptance. 

I want to hide away from it all right now. Behind the anonymity of untruth. I want to not care for a while. To not worry about the feelings of others. To be selfish but free.

Yet I know I cannot not, because as much as I want so desperately to find peace in my mind it’s never going to be found in untruth.

I have to venture on, somehow finding a new place of truth whilst desperately seeking a way to find harmony for my mind. 

Any suggestions? 

Stop talking crap about the refugee crisis.

I’m getting so tired of reading ill informed opinions on the refugee crisis. People who live in a land of diversity and tolerance acting if they really understand persecution. My news feed is full of comments which are either racist or completely uninformed.

Here are a few that have got my goat this week.

We should be looking after our soldiers first before anyone else.

Ok part of this is right, we should always be looking after our soldiers. Supplying them with the right kit to keep them safe, caring for them when they return. None of this is wrong but before anyone else? Tell me again how many of our soldiers have laid down their lives to fight against the persecution of others? They fight to protect the lives of their fellow man. I’ve never seen a solider ask to check the ethnicity or religion before he stands to protect someone. I think people do our armed force members a great disservice when they write this crap.

Our hospitals are struggling already we don’t need to add any more pressure. 

True our NHS is struggling but this is due to underfunding by the prat that runs our country. Cameron would rather invest millions in a defunct defence system than actually saving the people he pretends to want to defend. If money was invested where it should be there wouldn’t be a struggle within the NHS.

They aren’t English so why should we help them?

This one really makes me sick, I am proud of my English heritage but we are all actually citizens of Earth.

Where you were born should never effect the value of your life.

We are all human, well someone better check all the Tories just in case.

The new one I’ve read this week is that the whole refugee crisis is a plan of ISIS to get it’s soldiers into our country. 

First off maybe it is but let’s be honest it’s not a very good one. When we count the number of people who have died as they have fled the country. Secondly propaganda wise this sucks the treatment and violence that have forced this people to flee the country doesn’t make many think, oh yes those ISIS peeps have got it right and lastly how the hell can this be a undercover plan it’s not as if these people are entering our country under the radar. As for ISIS recruiting the refugees, Errmm tell me again who they are fleeing.

Seriously this has to stop, I am one of the first to say we need to start fighting for better treatment of our soldiers, for better support for our disabled, the poor, the homeless but it doesn’t have to be one or the other.

I truly don’t know the in’s and outs of this crisis nor will I probably know all the details of the next.  I truly don’t know what has driven these people to risk their lives and the lives of their children.

Yet what I do know is this,

Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.

Dalai Lama XIV

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. 

   

Gift and Befriend

Each Christmas we always try to take time and remind our girls about the true meaning of the season.

Behind all the excitement of presents and the enormous amounts of food.

We remember those who haven’t what we have.

The girls get one monetary gift each year which they choose to donate to a charity of their choice or to buy something for someone in need.

So this year when I heard of the charity Gift and Befriend I was excited as this was the perfect way for my daughters to really see those they are helping and also giving them freedom over what they wish purchase.

Over at Gift and Befriend you register to become a giver you then get to learn about those in need known as the receivers and what they actually need from their own Amazon wish list.  You then get to choose the items you would like to purchase from their lists and they get shipped directly to them.

I think this is a fantastic idea, especially as one of the main reasons I hear about people’s reluctance to donate to charities is their concern about how much the actual person in need really gets. This site take the fear away as you purchase and ship straight to the receiver of your choice.

I sat down with my youngest daughter Brodie and  looked round the sitebig heart

 

She really enjoyed reading the profiles and learning about those she could help. It took a while mostly due to her desire to help them all but Brodie decided she wanted to help little Moses, his story just touched her heart.

user-avatar-pic.php

I know Christmas is always a financially tight time of year for many of us but before you buy that extra stocking filler maybe consider adding a gift to one of the receivers instead.  I know my girls really appreciate this and its one of their favourite parts of Christmas.

There is hope.

What a week and its only Wednesday!

I feel as if I have been living a lifetime over these last few days.

I have witnesses some of life’s incredible beauty but also some of life’s devastating darkness.

Wearing my heart on my sleeve often leaves me vulnerable.

My openness to love at all times has also left me exposed for negativity and pain.

 

Still I see life as a gift, a privilege.

So its from this perspective I want to say this.

 

Remember that everyone of us has their own pathway to walk.

Sometimes that path will lead to cross roads,roundabouts and dead-ends.

No one will ever really understand the journey of another.

Shared experiences can and will be different.

Determined by the understanding of the personal heart and mind.

We have to embrace our differences and celebrate each other for who they are.

Live life lifting people up.

Not tearing them down.

 

1413334918-f10bfa39-e13c

 

 

As human’s we need to socialise, we need to bond and form relationships.

Its the essence of our humanity.

But sometimes its these very relationships that can lead to the destruction of the human psyche.

 

Having someone in your life is a honour.

The value of a friend is priceless.

The gift of a child.

The love of a partner.

Your heart feels alive with the joy of connection.

 

But honour comes with responsibility.

The commitment should always be about being the light in the life of another.

Be the best friend you can possibly be.

Strive to be the greatest of parents.

The most attentive of partners.

 

Yet lets take this dedication and commitment one step further.

Smile at people on your train.

Thank you barista for their service.

Hold the door for the one behind you.

Accept the point of view of another.

Forgive your enemies.

 

The world is simply falling apart.

The media is full of the horror that is happening in our world today.

War, terrorism, genocide,

Illness, diseases and death.

But we do have hope.

 

That hope is found in our essence of connection.

As I said before its not always easy wearing my heart on my sleeve.

But it gives me freedom.

Freedom to hope

Freedom to have faith.

Faith that compassion and empathy will win the battle of hearts.

That indifference and hate will lose.

 

Because if as human beings we honour and respect each other.

Our spirits our humanity will over come all.

 

1413335139-1003d165-d35d

 

We are all in this together.

Throughout our lives we find ourselves becoming parts of communities, part of set groups or to use the sociology term subcultures.

Be it a group of work colleagues , all the technicians together. Be it a parenting group, parents of two year olds please hang here. We come together through shared experiences or passions.

We are never really ever only in one group, different aspects of our lives play into different groups.

Myself I belong to many, parents of teenagers, parents of 12 year olds, foster parents and also the one group I really wish I never had to join parents who have lost a child.

All these groups I am proud to be part of but one thats on my heart right now is parents of children with special needs, especially as I like to call them my Special Kids in the UK family.

This is one amazing group, you find us  in all shapes and sizes . We have varying beliefs and certainly different personalities. Our children have different conditions even with the same diagnoses or in some cases no diagnoses.

So what makes this group rather special?

We can bitch and moan as good as it gets but when one of us is hurting we stand along side them.

If you were my friend on Facebook today you would see that my news feed is full of pictures of Minnie mouse. These pictures are our way of showing one of our members that we stand beside her. Most us wish that we could literally be standing beside her tomorrow as she lays to rest her beautiful son. We wish we could swap our virtual hugs for real squeezy ones.

Thinking of you xxx
Thinking of you xxx

But we cannot,

Life, children and distance keeps us separated. Yet nothing will stop us thinking and sending our love and wishes in support, compassion and remembrance tomorrow.

This same group right now are also sending prayers and healing to children in hospital. Sending strength to parents who are utterly exhausted. Families that are at breaking point.

At times we cannot offer more than the words “I’m here”  but believe me over the years those words have meant a great deal.

I am blessed to be a member of this group. For over the last 8 years they have been my strength. I have made friends whose friendship goes over and beyond the fact that we are special needs parents.

When I lost Livvy one of the crazy worries I had in my head was that I would lose these friends. How wrong was I, our children may have been what introduced us but they aren’t what bind us.

Maybe our binds are forged in exhaustion, endless battles with professionals and way to many late nights. Maybe they were joined in the many melt downs and medical jargon and repetitive forms.

Who knows, who cares, regardless of the why there is simply the just is.

I am so thankful to be part of this unique subculture to know and to share my life with these crazy people. At times I am not sure I would have coped without one or many of the group members.

Together we have faced the worst.

I am so grateful that one day many years ago I stumbled upon a small yahoo group. I have watched in grow over the last 8 years watched the number of members change from the tens into the thousands.

Being a member of this group means that although we may be facing uncertain futures with our children. We are never facing them alone.

We are all in this together.

 

Walk A Mile

“Never judge a woman until you have walked a mile in her shoes”.

converse

There are many versions of the above quote but the sentiments are all the same and it’s something that’s really on my heart right now.

 I see social media full of timelines of criticism and judgement and my heart sinks. None of us anywhere at anytime knows exactly how another is feeling.

Yet we are quick to jump to conclusions.

 We need to stop and think a little.

We do not know what is happening in the lives of others so we need to learn to be more compassionate and less judgmental.

The shop assistant who is going slow may have been up all night tending to a sick child.

The driver that cuts you up maybe rushing to the hospital for the birth of his child.

There are so many things we cannot see.

Yet we are still so willing and so eager to cast judgement.

The friend that doesn’t return your call.

How easy is it to feel anger and upset.

To feel let down.

Still we need to think beyond the moment.

Does the friend normally reply straight away?

Is there a reason why they cannot?

We are viewing life from an internal perspective.  Yet to really enjoy life and be happy we need to think externally.

Think of others first.

 

When we focus less on ourselves and more on others we find that we are happier.

Remember the joy you feel when you give a gift.

The pride you feel when you help someone.

I honestly believe that loving on others is loving yourself.

Most of us wish to be nice people but it doesn’t come as easy as you expect.

Its an internal world.

Its a selfish world.

But to make it different we can only start with ourselves.

So before you react in frustration or anger remind yourself to never judge.

You never know what journey the other is on.

A woman walks with flip flops in Washington, July 15, 2003.

True Value

For a few months I have been aware of the name Colin Brewer and to be perfectly honest it has not been in a great way. At first I just believed he was just an ignorant man but after reading this article I just don’t know how to define him.

Now before I carry on I have confess this is a touchy subject for me, I have lost a child with severe special needs and I now foster a child with severe special needs so yes this subject is close to my heart. So I can’t promise this post will be written from an un bias view point, but it is written from my heart and you can’t get more honest than that.

But I cannot not write about it because this man is so very wrong.

Colin Brewer states that he believes that we should look at our children as we do animals and if there are any weaknesses at birth we should to quote the councillor.

“When reminded that the lamb would be put down in that situation, he agreed, and said: “It [the lamb] would be put down, smashed against the wall and be dealt with.”And asked if a child with a similar impairment should be killed after birth, he said: “That would be up to the decision of whoever is there at the birth.”

 

We should consider smashing our child’s head against a wall!

I could be defensive at this point and tell you want I wanted to do to Councillor Brewer but I’m not going to.

Why because in a way I actually feel sorry for the gentleman.

He obviously judges the quality of someones life on what they can achieve or what they can do.

How awful is that? To only see value in ability.

The councillor comments are mainly aimed towards the cost of caring for a child or an adult with disabilities.

Again his value is in worth.

Well let me inform you Mr Brewer that you simply know nothing!

My beautiful daughter Livvy was born with a condition called Rett Syndrome, a illness which left her severely disabled.

Yes she required 24 hour care, yes she required medication and equipment but whatever the total cost of her needs was, what she gave back was a hell of a lot more.

She was priceless.

20130504-233755.jpg

 

The world isn’t run by money, no matter how often we are led to believe this.

The world is run by compassion,

by empathy

by love.

These were all skills Livvy taught us every day.

Take for an example my other three children Livvy sisters, they are remarkable young ladies who have a desire to work in fields that encourage, that care, that protect others.

The compassion they learned by having Livvy in their lives has made them better people, a greater contribution to society.

Their understanding and empathy is something that you cannot teach in schools, yet Livvy taught them.

My husband and I, Livvy’s parents were changed beyond your wildest imagination, we began to look wider than ourselves and learned of joy in the simple things.

We learned about advocating for others that were less fortunate than us, in all spheres of need. Poverty, disability, addiction.

Why because Livvy taught us compassion.

Livvy taught us the value of life.

Watching this brave, wild spirited young lady who had so many issues live life with such pure joy showed us the truth about life.

That each day is a gift to make the most of, to be happy, to make others happy.

Mr Brewer I could tell you of many others that were changed by knowing Livvy, Grandparents, relatives, friends, teachers they all learnt life lessons from this incredible amazing young lady. Strangers whose days were brightened by a smile. Professionals who were encouraged by her determination and bravery.

This beautiful young lady who if you had your way may have not had this chance to make such a difference.

Dear Mr Brewer if I wish you anything I wish you this.

Please take a look at the children that you have dismissed as being faulty, of being worthless.

Look closely at their families and I promise you this. That even with the severest disabilities you will find joy. You will see parents caring for their children with a love that has no bounds.

You will see children who may be limited physically live life without limitations.

 

Love without limits.

 

Please Mr Brewer open your eyes and see true value.

 

It cannot be measured by money but by the lives you touch.

 

As I said Livvy was priceless.

20130504-233402.jpg

 

The encouragement I needed.

Last week I watched my first ever episode of The Secret Millionaire and I was seriously moved by it. So since then and thanks to 4OD I have been playing catching up with the series.

;

What has really struck me about the programme hasn’t been the money given, even though the money has made a big impact to the charities involved. No what has really struck me is the people.

;

These wonderful inspiring people who selflessly live their lives trying to make the world better for others.

;

To them it’s never been about money, its about giving dignity and respect to others. It’s about raising people up to believe in themselves and simply saying, simply showing that someone cares.

;

The secret millionaires have all seemed to have took away something from the whole experience too.

;

When we founded Livvy’s Smile we never naively considered the financial side of it all, the fighting for funding etc. All we could see was the smiles on the faces of children with disabilities and their families, and still when the paperwork seems endless and the exhaustion hits. its those smiles that keep us going.

;

The individuals involved in the charities on the Secret Millionaire really inspired me.

;

It was the encouragement I needed.

;

Life isn’t defined by the money you make. It’s the love and compassion you share that matters.

One at a time

I’ve been thinking a lot about mothers losing their children, surprise right. Yet the thing that has been laying on my heart is the unpreventable deaths.

I lost Livvy to the evil known as Rett Syndrome. She lost her battle and she had all medical treatment possible, all medications. Access to clean water, food etc.

Around the world mothers are losing children due to the lack of basics. Children are dying simply because they don’t have access to clean water, food or vaccinations against childhood illness.

The hope for our future is in our children. Let’s not allow the place they were born to be a reason for the death of a child.

How much we take for granted.

How much we could change.

20120119-004912.jpg

The Starfish Story
Original Story by: Loren Eisley

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed
a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.

Approaching the boy, he asked,
What are you doing?

The youth replied,
Throwing starfish back into the ocean.
The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they will die.

Son, the man said, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?
You can’t make a difference!

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish,
and threw it back into the surf.

Then, smiling at the man, he said

I made a difference for that one.

Help make a difference for one, please consider sponsoring a child with Compassion UK.

20120119-005146.jpg