It did not end then.

November 7th 2008, should this of been the day Livvy’s story came to an end, the day she left this world for what I believe is a better place.? Should this have been the last ripple she caused on this world? Regardless of what should have been or what could of been, her story did not end there, only here did the next chapter of her story begin. Her promise, her teachings and most of all her hope, the unique new paragraphs of her legacy

If I’m going to be completely transparent as I write here, I have to confess I didn’t see the next page straight away, I stumbled back and forth through the last pages day after day. I questioned the ending, stumbling over the reasons, failing to find the acceptance in what had become. I wasn’t ready for my hero to die, not ready to give up on our numerous adventures and devastated not to have one more of her incredible hugs. I couldn’t see beyond her end. I couldn’t feel beyond the pain of her loss, and grief well it had become my best friend never leaving my side moment by moment, breathe by breathe. 

Right then at that time the only legacy I could see was pain, was loss.

I will not tell you time eased anything because being honest time was an evil that I hated, every day that passed was one more without her. It didn’t ease, time twisted the knife in deeper making her seem farther and farther away. 

Time became my enemy and the past something I prayed for. 

Yet through time I learned that no matter how much your heart breaks the body continues on. 

No matter how you cry out for the world to stop turning, it still spins. 

I will not tell you the next step of my transition came straight away or that I picked up any particular signs but overtime the more I shared my heart about Livvy the more I remembered her fighting spirit. I remembered all the moments Dr’s had given up on her and how she had fought on.

My heart began to feel with her courage, her spirit began to feed through my veins. 

I had to make a decision, a decsion to live,

Determinded to live loving harder. 

I knew In my heart that Livvy had lived loved, she had known a life full of love, security and a lot of laughter. Yet many, many do not know this and this was something I could do, something I wanted to do for others. 

The next chapter was a new beginning, new begining’s for others. Livvy, she may have not been physically here, but my heart held her in every decision I made and in every heart I wanted to heal.

Her legacy is and always will be love.

My children are my reasons. 

When Daniel came into my life she couldn’t have made it more obvious unless she had gift wrapped him with a bow labelled, “send in love from Livvy”. He was ours to love and love hard, he was our gift of joy, heaven send.

Daniel like Livvy is a great reminder of the truth, that life is not measured by days, weeks or years but by the hearts that you make feel whole. Riches are not found in money or fancy things but in the smiles you create. 

Livvy’s story is still unfinished, her legacy is living and loving, right here and right now.

The pages are still being written, chapters yet to be wrote, page by page, memory by memory.

Inspire or destroy?

Last week I was lucky enough to get to listen to the inspirational Nick Barwick. Nick is a motivational speaker who came to a fostering meeting to share his experiences as a care leaver. His story is incredible, he has faced adversity, pain and suffering throughout his life but still found the strength and courage to achieve his dreams, he defied the odds and he overcame.

Nick is passionate about sharing his story, he wants the success stories of life to be shared. We need our children to have hope, that if they are struggling and finding life a struggle they can remember that where they are right now is not where they need to end. This is doubly important for all children within the looked after system, they especially need the reminder that there is Hope in this world.

I took an awful lot away with me after listening to Nick speak, but what has been twirling around in my head since I left the meeting was the impact of ‘words.’

Let me explain a little, as Nick was sharing his story he spoke about being told by some professional in his life that he would not achieve, academically, financially and emotionally, and how these words for a long time became a self fulfilling prophecy for him.

How the words spoken to him became the words he spoke to himself.

Words have power!

They can inspire but also they can destroy.

words

Hearing Nick’s story just hit home how important our words are,

How as Mother’s, as fathers, as teachers, carers, our words have an impact on hearts.

How as a friend, a wife, a sister I need to use my words wisely.

How often have we let words spoken to us bury deep in our hearts?

How what may have been a passing comment has be able to consume our minds.

Someone else’s opinion become our truth.

I know I can look back in my life and raise my hand numerous times for when words spoken in hate became my reality.

“You won’t pass it.”

“I wouldn’t even bother’

“You are not good enough”

“Who would love you?”

How I let these lines of letters sink deep into my heart like an anchor dropped into the ocean, dropping slowing until they find a place to settle and hold, hold on tight.

How I  have allowed hurtful words to crawl under my skin until I believed them completely, burying under my skin into my blood to pump through my veins, straight to my heart.

Burrowing deep until I owed them as my truth.

Thankfully like Nick I had someone in my life who challenged me to question these words. To remind me that my future was mine to create.

That it was up to me to write my own story. 

story-of-your-life

I’m still a work in progress, my story has many chapters left to write.

I’m still learning to throw away the words that hurt, to erase the words that are wrong and untrue.

To protect myself from words that do not inspire or encourage.

I’m creating my own vocabulary and as I do this I hope to create another for my children.

I want their story to be one of adventure, excitement and hope but what I want most of all is that the biggest chapter that they write will always be one filled with love.

I pray that story is one of knowing, knowing how loved they are. 

Wow, I’ve been blogging for 7 years

blogging for 7 years

I realised yesterday that I have now been blogging for 7 years this month.

What a lot has happened over the last seven years.

I first took to blogging to share what it was like being a mom of four and how raising a severely disabled child affected our lives. I mainly wanted to share how besides the difficulties how wonderful life could be. How Olivia loved life and lived it to the full. How our family motto was never say never. From iceskating to rock climbing we somehow found a way for our girlie to enjoy it all.

Yet only a month after my first post I was to write through the pain of losing my beautiful girl. How the darkness of grief strove to consume me. How in the depths of despair I somehow managed to find hope.

Writing my grief allowed me to feel less alone, from the comments to the messages so many of you walked along side me. Some never realising how often they were the ones that gave me strength to carry on, yes that’s you Kelly. 

I then shared my journey into fostering, my hopes and my fears but also the joy we felt when we had our first placement. How one little boy became part of our family at the first hello. As you know forever wasn’t going to be ours again and whilst our hearts were torn open and raw my words helped me find some semblance of peace.

On this blog especially I have shared the growing of my beautiful girls how they have stumbled through their teenage years into beautiful young adults, well two have my baby still has a way to go and of course a few more posts for me still to write.

Together we have celebrated their joy, cried with them through their sadness. We have laughed at their drama of which there has been plenty and you have sympathised with me through their tantrums.

This blog is part of my records of my daughters lives and how they have changed me in so many beautiful ways. Taught me patience, resilience and the meaning of pure love.

Through this blog I have had many wonderful opportunities from modelling to  reviews. It’s brought me many online friends who have wonderfully tumbled over into my real life.

This blog has also been a call to action, a place where I have fought for awareness for Rett syndrome and for disability rights. I’ve ranted on politics and so much more and of which I promise there will be many more posts to come.

Where I have written about injustice, screamed about discrimination and cried about tragedy.

This blog, these words are truly my heart in print.

Thank you for being my readers, my friends and for visiting me here in my virtual home.

Thank you for the last seven years and lets hope the next seven are full of love and laughter and plenty of words.

 

thank you 7 years

Money does not define people’s worth.

Honestly what is with this world and labels.

I’ve have just read someone spouting off about the amount of “so called” writers popping up. The intention of the article was that you can’t call yourself a writer unless you have been published.

Why the hell not? 

If I write a piece of poetry am I not a poet unless that piece is published?

If I dance a dance am I not a dancer?

Why does payment become part of a description.

Some of the greatest composers never made a penny off their compositions.

This is not the first time I have read this kind of opinion.

I’ve heard it from the modelling world as a model should again not call herself a model unless paid to do so.

Now I’m not trying to take away from the professionals but In life but do we need to be thinking this way?

Should I be describing myself as a published writer, a published poet.

Ermm NO

I was a writer when I was 7 years old when I handed my grandad book after book of my stories. When I made him sit through so many of my poems, when I danced around the house to songs I had written, I was a writer.

Seeing my name in print did not define me.

The act of allowing words out of my mind onto paper or through my keyboard did.

I am also a model, I wear clothes to show another.

I may not be earning the supermodel wages but heck that doesn’t take away from my description.

A lot of my friends are carers but I can promise you that they don’t see a penny from it. Does that devalue the hours of loving, supporting and bum changing they do.

When my daughter draw her first picture she was an artist. The fact that this picture was not going to hang in any gallery mattered nothing to me. To me that picture was priceless.

Please let’s not use money to define people’s worth. 

Let the world be full of singers, poets, composers, writers, dancers and so many more.

The definition of another should not define you.

If it does then I’m sorry because that says more about you than them.

Your definition should be whoever you want it to be.

You are the author of your own story.

The artist of your own design.

#mybloggingtruth – A challenge to all bloggers

I started my first blog back in the early part of 2008, I wanted to share my life and what it was like raising a severely disabled child. How it could be hard but it could also be truly amazing. In the last 7 years I have seen many changes in the blogging world some good, some not so much. I know it has expanded greatly thats for sure, both in the personal and business world. Bloggers have become influential and can really make a difference to the public perception of a brand or a product.

It will come as no surprise to my regular readers of which I know there may be one or two that I am an emotional writer. My words fall from my heart onto the pages here. Sometimes I read my old posts and think maybe I shouldn’t have shared that or maybe I could have written it different but often I write for freedom and at that time writing that blog post may have given me that.

Sharing your heart here in the virtual world isn’t easy, especially when you put your name to the words. Of course we have all read the anonymous nefarious hate that has been written by trolls but in my book if you don’t put your name to it well then your cowardly shit isn’t worth the webspace you are taking up.

But even the most honest of all writers hide.

Are we really not photoshopping our words, our lives, hiding behind the filters.

Do we really share all our true faults, our failings?

Hands up I know I don’t.

Why would we?

It’s scary being vulnerable.

Well, as a writer who has shared her struggles and also from reading and talking to others what I have learned is that honesty makes people feel less alone.

How many of us moms have really felt that we have had enough, I know have. Seriously at times I wonder if I am cut out to be a mother. I screw up so often that I’m glad my children don’t keep score. Yet when I read blogs that seem full of perfect parenting I truly struggle. Questions like “what did I do wrong”? Raise their mind destroying heads.

Or the blog of the woman who dropped her pregnancy weight in 2 weeks whilst 14 years I still have my baby belly.

The perfect home baking whilst my kitchen looks like a war zone.

All this seems just out of reach.

So I’m setting all bloggers the #mybloggingtruth  challenge.

I want you to write a post sharing your truths.

Be open and be vulnerable and lets come together to celebrate our imperfections, our  struggles and our mishaps.

I will start the ball rolling here’s my truth……  I run away. 

I get so scared of failing that sometimes I’m to scared to try. I hate this about myself, I look back at the opportunities I have missed because of fear. The friendships I didn’t allow to blossom because I didn’t believe in myself. The many times I have said no when my heart really wanted to say yes. So many experiences, prospects lost to my fear.

I’m working on this but  I am truly still a work in progress.

So join in with me, write your post, tweet it to me @livvyssmile and use the hashtag #mybloggingtruth and lets use our words and our truths to make us all feel less alone.

Let our transparency be the the light for others.

Let’s do this, lets share our blogging truths.

Thank you doesn’t seem enough.

I’m not sure how I am feeling right now, yesterday was a whirlwind of emotions. I laughed, I cried and I laughed some more.

There isn’t really a guideline on how to feel I guess, no instruction book on how to celebrate birthdays of those that never reached them.

I know some think i’m strange, that to celebrate the birthday of a child that has passed is wrong or odd. That’s ok, everyone is completely entitled to their own opinion and the fact is grief is so unique. Nobody feels the same, everyone has their own journey through it or as I believe ‘with it’.

I’m struggling to find words to describe yesterday it was one of the hardest days of my life but also one of the most blessed.

From the moment the clock struck the new day the messages started to flood in.

Birthday wishes for my beautiful girl.

Messages, pictures and names drawn in the sand my girl was remembered.

Friends all over the world wishing my girl a Happy 16th.

Yesterday was a blur of family, friendship and cake, it was a truly special  day.

It is only now as I sit back and reflect that I really realise how completely amazing it was.

I could not thank people enough for what they gave me yesterday. After many nights of wondering and worrying that my Livvy would be forgotten my heart was swollen by the love I felt and the amount of people who remembered her day.

The fund-raising event for the charity formed in her memory Livvy’s Smile was a great success I don’t yet have a final total raised but I know its in the hundreds which is so wonderful.

Besides the donations I also want to say thank you to those who ate cake with their friends and family in honour of this day. I know I harp on a lot about this but memories are the greatest gift we can give ourselves and I am so blessed that you all made new special ones yesterday in honour of my girl.

So yes I’m not sure how I am really feeling today but what I do know is that my heart is full. My girl was honoured in such a beautiful way and for that I will always be grateful.

Thank you doesn’t seem enough but THANK YOU.

Livvy's banner

 

Memories cherished as memories are made.

I have just returned from a wonderful week in beautiful Wales.

I have loved every minute of it, from the beautiful sunsets to the endless beaches.

Its been a truly wonderful week.

It was a week I so needed, time to recharge and refresh my mind.

Time to allow the words to form and the passages to write.

I am feeling stronger that ever.

My heart and mind are on the same path.

This holiday was the first time I have gone back to this area of Wales without Livvy.

I honestly believed that it was going to have to be another first without her.

Yet it wasn’t because as I have enjoyed the views, cherished the sunsets and loved the ocean I have felt Livvy everywhere.

Memories cherished as memories made.

Dogemals 2015 Newquay 2015 west wales 2015

My word for 2015

So as we start the new year I have been thinking a lot about the word I wish to lead me through the next 365 days.

The word that will represent all my hopes and prayers for 2015.

It isn’t easy finding one word which fits all your plans and ideas.

Still after thinking  hard for a while I am going to go with the word.

 

dream

2015 is going to be my year of dreams.

This is a big step out of the ordinary for me.

You see I have never really allowed myself to dream.

Broken promises, painful situations and a lot of disappointment made me believe that dreams were for others and not for me.

It was something I accepted as just life.

I could hope but I couldn’t dream.

I was never the girl who dreamed of her wedding day.

Of the children she would have or career she would achieve.

Anxiety and disbelief stole away my dreams.

I cannot get excited for an event or a holiday until I am actually there and as for promises, well maybe we shouldn’t go there.

But this year is going to be different.

I am going to allow myself to dream and I’m going to see my dreams fulfilled.

I am going to dream that I can and will achieve my goals.

I will attend university.

I will move forward with this blog.

I will further my writing career.

I will put myself forward more.

I will look in the mirror and like what i see.

I will believe in me.

2015 you are my year to dream.

Its scary but it’s time.

As the year comes to an end…..

So its the end of another year.

A lot has happened in the last 365 days.

I became the parent to all teenagers

Then a few months later I became the parent of an adult. (crazy)

I also then had to wave the said adult off as she left for university

It has truly been a crazy year, at times it has felt my feet have barely touched the ground.

We are still fostering a handsome young man with special needs and he is certainly keeping us on our toes.

Livvy’s Smile is doing well, we have held some fantastic memory making days and been busy fundraising. We have also had our story featured in a weekly woman’s magazine.

Personally I have had my writing published in a book and also walked the catwalk as a plus size model.

It’s honestly been a go go year.

As I wave 2014 goodbye I do so with two emotions.

Pride and exhaustion.

Proud of all we have achieved.

Exhausted, well simply by achieving all we have achieved.

I am super excited for 2015 though.

I have so many hopes for this forthcoming year.

In September I start at university, this is something I have dreamed of for such a long time and I cannot tell you how excited I am.

I’m also modelling again at Style XL and have a couple of photo shoots already lined up.

We may be adding another foster child to our family, and the girls are still trying hard to drive me completely insane.

So yes 2015 I am looking forward to you.

But while I am not making any new year resolutions I am making myself some promises.

Firstly I’m going to learn how to take time for myself.

Allowing myself space to breath, stop feeling guilty about wanting time out.

Also working on my health and fitness, continue with my swimming and working on my diet, as in healthy food not weight loss (not that I wouldn’t mind shifting a pound or twenty). I’m also going to try and stop stressing about things i cannot change and stop letting others have power over me. Anxiety has had me for the last 38 years, no more.

Secondly I’m going to work harder on my marriage.

It’s so easy after 19 years of being with the same man to take him for granted. To take each other for granted. I want to work on cherishing each other, spending quality time together and having fun. Reminding my husband that I still love every inch of him and that i find him sexier now than ever.

Thirdly Im going to work on believing in myself more.

For too long I have let myself down, rejected compliments or turned away opportunities because I didn’t believe I could do them.

This next year is going to be different.

I am a bright, intelligent woman and I am going to embrace all that I am. Negativity and self disbelief can stay in 2014 where it belongs.

This woman is going places.

Fourthly I’m going to have fun and make more memories.

This year I want to be more spontaneous and just enjoy the moment.

Let go and just take each day as it comes.

Play more with the kids and generally try not to stress as much as I do.

 

So there you go, my 2015 promises to myself.

Still before this year comes to an end i want to thank all my readers for the support that they have given me.

Blogging has afforded me many opportunities but the greatest of all these has been the people I have connected with in real life and here in the virtual world.

Your comments, emails, tweets have all lifted me when I was low.

Inspired me when I was lost and loved me when I was lonely.

I started blogging in 2008 for different reasons than I write now, but as always in 2015 this blog will be my heart.

What you read is simply who I am.

Heart on my sleeve

Words on the page.

So with that I would like to say…….

BLOG NEW YEAR

Who am I? Who are you?

What would you say if I asked you “Who are you?” or “Who am I?”

I may read from my about me page but is that really who I am?

Partly

I am a crazy tattooed mum to four amazing young ladies..

A foster mum to one very special young man.

I am a gothic loving lady who is finally learning to love her plus sized body.

A new lover of fashion and with a complete addiction to books.

 

Yet I am also a woman who thinks way to much and often gets lost inside my own head.

I worry all the time.

From

Have i done that right?

Are the kids ok?

Will they like me?

To

Why are children dying?

Why are there so many wars?

Why do some have so much when others have nothing?

 

It’ so hard to answer the question “who am I?”

I think I can only answer this as who I am right now.

 

Life is always evolving.

I am not the person I was 10 years ago.

I am not the person I was last month.

In fact I am not the same person as I was yesterday.

 

Life, events, circustances and people they change me.

who am I

 

So what would you answer if I asked you ” who are you?”