I need a map!

As anyone who knows me well will tell you I have no sense of direction. I can follow directions but I don’t have that innate ability to know which way to turn or which direction to walk in. I go into shops and then forget which direction I want to take on the way out so I have to stop and look. I lose my car in car parks unless I actually take notice of where I leave it and give myself landmarks to look out for so I can find it again.

Earlier this month, just for fun, my friend K and I went on a navigation course in the Pentland Hills. It’s not going to help with my sense of direction but it was a fun day out and something different to do. Our group was made up of my friend and I, one couple who were maybe in their twenties and the trainer. The girl from the young couple was from Canada originally and had done some navigation at school. The rest of us were complete novices (except the trainer of course) – navigation isn’t normally a big part of the curriculum in Scotland (beyond compass points and grid references anyway).

Our trainer was called Lucy and in my mind she was like the female version of Bear Grylls. She told us stories of her expeditions (yes plural!) to Antarctica among other adventures. She had some interesting descriptions of how to pee in a jar inside a sleeping bag and then sleep with it all night so that it didn’t freeze! 😆 She was pretty cool. We met an old man not long after we started out who seemed pretty keen to join in with coaching too. He told us how to use your watch to work out where North is using the sun. It was kinda cool but none of us actually had a watch and I can’t really remember what he said now. 😝

So the point of the day was to learn about how to use a map and a compass to navigate your way around the hills. We had a quick training session before we set off and then spent the rest of the day setting bearings and pacing out certain distances, looking for clues in the landscape to find ourselves on the map and calculating how long it was going to take us to get from one place to another. We also had to navigate some unusually aggressive Highland Cows on the way. 😬

K and I finished up the day with a lovely walk along Portobello Beach and a nice meal in one of the restaurants there. It was a really enjoyable experience.

I had a couple of days last week where I felt a bit stuck and I was thinking how useful it would be if we could have a map and a compass for life. I’d love to be able to find myself on the map and look at the contours of life and work out which direction I should go in. It would be amazing to be able to look ahead to your destination and set a bearing for the most straightforward route there – avoiding the steep slopes and narrow ridges. I wonder if I’d had a map if I would have chosen to take the journey I have through life? There are some wonderful things (summits if you like) in my life that I wouldn’t have achieved without going through some pretty rough places. I guess life isn’t about getting to your destination the easiest way. It’s often about what you learn from the journey and the lives you touch on the way.

If you had a map of your life would you have chosen the path you took? What would have changed? When you look back are there times that were difficult that have turned out to be something wonderful? I’d love to hear your thoughts – let me know in the comments.

Wednesday’s Wisdom

Wisdom from my Instagram feed

This popped up on my Instagram feed recently and I really love it. I definitely have a tendency to ‘shrink’ myself or take a back seat or ignore my own feelings and desires in order to meet the needs of others. It’s a difficult one in some ways because I was brought up to think of others before myself and I still think there’s a lot to be said for that too. I guess there needs to be a balance though because constantly being ‘selfless’ actually causes resentment to build up when others don’t reciprocate.

What do you think of this quote? How do you find a healthy balance between allowing yourself to live fully and ‘bloom wildly without regret’ and considering others? I’m sure these are not mutually exclusive but there are definitely times when it’s a choice between the two in my opinion.

I’m always reading something or other. Books, social media feeds, study notes, blogs and more. Recently I’ve become even more aware of how much wisdom I come across in what I read so I decided to share some of it with you. I’m honestly not sure how consistent I will manage to be with this or how long I’ll keep it up but I’m going to try. It’s all part of the growing I need to do.

Wednesday’s Wisdom

I saw this quote online the other day and to be honest I had to Google ‘Will Rogers’ to find out who he was. For anyone else who doesn’t know apparently he was an American actor, newspaper columnist and social commentator who lived from 1879 – 1935.

I mulled over this quote for a little bit and decided that he makes a very good point. Sometimes I think I worry about being on the right track and headed in the right direction but that’s actually only half the battle. If you’re on the right track but you’re stuck in the same place and not moving forward then are you really in a better position? You’re not going to make any progress on your journey. If you’re on the wrong track but moving forward you can at least change tracks at a junction. It’s a bit of a random thought maybe but it got the cogs turning in my mind.

What do you think? Is it more important to be on the right track or to be moving forward? Does this apply in every situation? How does it play out in real life? Got any good examples?

I’m always reading something or other. Books, social media feeds, study notes, blogs and more. Recently I’ve become even more aware of how much wisdom I come across in what I read so I decided to share some of it with you. I’m honestly not sure how consistent I will manage to be with this or how long I’ll keep it up but I’m going to try. It’s all part of the growing I need to do.

Weekends

August felt like almost a full month of weekdays! I was working during the week – not that I work full time but I keep myself pretty busy with one thing or another. Then on four out of the five weekends I was doing my counselling skills course on Zoom. So in addition to what I normally do during the week I had assignments too. Needless to say when I did have one weekend off in the middle of the month it was a welcome break. So what did I do with myself? Well the family were all off too so we decided on a mini-break. Obviously due to the pandemic we couldn’t exactly jet off to Spain – well we could but that would have meant quarantine and … yada yada yah 😐

So… we hired a motorhome and drove up north to the Highlands. Neither hubby nor myself had ever driven a vehicle as big as the motorhome but we soon got used to it. There were a few hairy moments driving on single track roads in the highlands; like when a little yellow sports car came flying round a bend towards me in the middle of the road. To be fair I think the guy got a quite a fright – he may have slowed down a bit after that 😝.

We picked up the ‘van‘ (motorhome) on Thursday afternoon and headed for Dingwall. Why Dingwall? Two reasons really – first there was limited availability at the various campsites we looked at and second (and arguably more importantly) our favourite gin is made there. 😂 It’s as good a reason as any to choose a campsite I reckon 😁. Not that we could actually visit the distillery but we did buy a bottle of the gin in the town for a few pounds less than we pay at home. After figuring out how to reverse park a motorhome and hook up to the electric we got a wee barbecue going. Not a bad start.

Don’t worry I’m not going to bore you with an hour by hour recount of our trip. I’ll just fill you in on a couple of the highlights and maybe even a ‘lowlight’ or two. 😬 There was one little issue I hadn’t thought of when booking the van and that was the height of my hubby and son. Let’s just say that they didn’t fit very well in the beds. There was quite a bit of shuffling people around to try to get everyone the best night’s sleep we could. There may also have been a little bit of grumbling about the lack of sleep too but I couldn’t possibly comment.

On the first full day we drove over to Skye. I have been to Skye twice before and both times it lived up to it’s nickname of ‘The Misty Isle’ so I didn’t see much of it. Thankfully this time although it was quite dull and misty as we were driving it cleared up beautifully and even got hot enough for a dip in the Fairy Pools. The scenery was truly beautiful and I don’t think my photography skills do it justice but hopefully you’ll get some idea from these pictures.

The downside of Skye as any Scot will tell you is the midges. We managed to stave them off for most of the visit with Skin So Soft spray which works wonders as a midge repellent but after our dip in the fairy pools we got well and truly attacked and eaten and had to head back to the van. We had fish and chips for dinner that evening before heading back to the campsite – a mere 2.5 hour drive.

After our second night in Dingwall we headed down to the Cairngorms via Loch Ness. Again we got fantastic weather although we didn’t manage to get a glimpse of Nessie. The main purpose of our journey that day was to visit the Balmoral Estate (the Queen’s Scottish home) and see Prince Albert’s Cairn which looks like a pyramid. I’ve lived in Scotland all my life and only discovered this year that we have a couple of pyramids here. Not quite the size of the Egyptian ones but good to visit all the same.

That evening I had planned to ‘wing it’ and find somewhere to wild camp on the route back to where we had to return the van the next morning. Let’s just say that didn’t go quite as smoothly as I’d hoped! 😝 We eventually found somewhere we could park up and sleep and as it happened it wasn’t far from my brother’s house so we popped in there for a yummy cooked breakfast the next morning before heading home. So all was well in the end. I’d definitely be up for hiring a motorhome again but I think I’d adjust a few things next time to avoid the wingeing! 😂

Hope you enjoyed my pics. Scotland really is beautiful in the sun – it’s just a shame it can’t be guaranteed. 😆

Wednesday’s Wisdom

I may have mentioned this before but I love Bob Goff! I enjoy hearing him speak and reading his books. I think he has a great outlook on life and sounds like a lot of fun. I can’t imagine that Sweet Maria (his wife) is ever bored! 😂 If I could meet up with him for a day and just talk about life I think it would be such a lot of fun and so inspiring.

This quote kind of reminded me of when I read the Ikigai book too. For most of my adult life I’ve seen myself as a bit of a ‘Jack of All Trades’. Not that I did everything at once but I turned my hand to a lot of different jobs at home, at work and at church, not to mention in the community and basically wherever I could. I’m not an expert in anything really but I’m able to do lots of things, and I like to help out. I guess what I’ve realised though is that just doing what you’re able to do isn’t necessarily fulfilling so I’ve been trying for a while to figure out what I was made to do – and I think I’m getting closer to the answer. I loved this quote from Bob’s book as a reminder to do what I was made for and not just what I’m able to do.

What were you made to do? Do you feel like you’re already doing it and if so how does that feel? If you’re doing something that you’re able to do but doesn’t feel like what you were made to do what’s stopping you from changing course? If you’re working towards doing what you were made to do what does that mean for you?

I’m always reading something or other. Books, social media feeds, study notes, blogs and more. Recently I’ve become even more aware of how much wisdom I come across in what I read so I decided to share some of it with you. I’m honestly not sure how consistent I will manage to be with this or how long I’ll keep it up but I’m going to try. It’s all part of the growing I need to do.

Wednesday’s Wisdom

I can’t actually remember when I first saw this (somewhere on social media I guess) but it was a helpful reminder at the time. I’ve started talking to myself a lot more this year – maybe I am a little crazy 😆. It started back before Easter when I did the Negativity Fast and Positivity Feast that I mentioned before. Then when I was doing the church course that I finished back in June we had a bit of a focus on ‘declarations’ too. Since then I’ve been giving myself a talking to most days – out loud. Telling myself truths about who I am and what God says about me and renewing my mind. Some people would call it positive affirmations. Whatever you call it – it works. I’ve definitely noticed some changes in my thinking since I started doing this more regularly. Do you ever talk to yourself like this? Do you find it helpful or does it sound ridiculous to you?

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

I’m always reading something or other. Books, social media feeds, study notes, blogs and more. Recently I’ve become even more aware of how much wisdom I come across in what I read so I decided to share some of it with you. I’m honestly not sure how consistent I will manage to be with this or how long I’ll keep it up but I’m going to try. It’s all part of the growing I need to do.

The Lowdown on Lockdown (a little late)

This is one of those posts that’s been sitting in my drafts folder for yonks! I originally planned to give people ideas of things to do when stuck at home but clearly it’s a bit late for that now that most of the world is well on the way back to normality (of sorts) 😂 or the ‘new normal’ as we seem to be calling it. Instead I’m going to tell you some of the stuff I’ve been up to over the last few months to keep myself entertained while we were ‘robbed of our freedom’ due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As much as anything this will be a wee reminder to me sometime in the future when this has (hopefully) all blown over of what it was like.

I’ll start with the most obvious ones. Like everyone else on the planet I’ve entertained myself with movies, TV shows and books. There are far too many to mention here so I’ll just mention a couple that I enjoyed. The movie Knives Out was pretty good, we had a laugh watching Blended and of course I watched Frozen 2 (despite having no children in the house). In TV shows I’ve been watching The Sinner and The Chosen – kind of opposites really. My go to show when I’m ironing is The A Word, although ironing seemed pretty unnecessary for a while. We’re also watching Hanna which is pretty good so far. I’ve read and am still reading loads of books. I never only have one on the go – right now I have 5 that I’m dipping in and out of. One of my favourite books recently has been ‘Untamed’ by Glennon Doyle. I’m getting so much out of her story.

Like lots of families we got some jigsaw puzzles out although it became trickier to get hold of them during lockdown. I actually ended up buying a brand new, full price Moomins (if you’re not familiar with the Moomins you’ll find them on YouTube – I loved watching them as a child) one online 😝! Usually I buy them from the charity shop and do them once before taking them back there. We also discovered online crosswords and quizzes as well as playing regular board games and card games. For a while we got into playing online games with friends and family on Zoom too. I wonder how many people wish they’d bought shares in Zoom a few months back?

The Moomins Jigsaw Puzzle

I’ve gone through phases with exercise over lockdown. We had great weather in the spring so I did lots of long walks in the countryside (partly because it was one of the few reasons we were allowed to be outside of our houses). As a family we did circuits in the back garden 5 mornings a week for 3 weeks before giving that up. I’ve kept up with my exercise classes on Zoom as much as possible and done a few home workouts as well as a few of Joe Wicks PE sessions. I’ve even started running with the Couch to 5K app – I’m partly telling you this to try to make myself keep it up. I’ve always wanted to be able to run but since becoming a mum I was worried that my bladder wouldn’t allow it 😆 (TMI? Sorry!) Anyway I downloaded the app and decided to give it a go. It’s going okay so far (I’m on Week 6 now) and it would be cool if I could get the bug (the running one – not the Coronavirus). On the down side I’ve eaten and drank way too much over the last few months so the exercise has probably only served to prevent a bad situation from getting totally out of hand. Some serious sensible eating needs to start soon!

While everyone was working from home, home started to feel like it wasn’t working for us. There weren’t enough spaces for everyone to work in peace and I was trying to work from bed (sometimes on it and sometimes in it 😝). After a couple of months of that it got too much so we did some rearranging and I’ve painted what was the dining room and built some flat packed furniture to create new multi-use spaces in the house. What used to be the guest bedroom has now become my little office/study and I’m loving having a space set up with everything I need for work or study to hand.

Since I like to keep myself busy and enjoy self-development I took on a couple of online courses; another new one with church and a Counselling Skills Certificate. The church one is finished now and the counselling one finishes today. As a result of doing that I’m now going on to do a counselling diploma starting next month. That clearly wasn’t enough new learning though so I also started learning my native language (Scottish Gaelic) on the Duolingo app. I’m making slow progress with that but it’s fun to learn and I can now recognise and actually understand some of the words that I’ve seen around (house names and such like) since I was a child. I’ve grown a few things too – some flowers that I was given and planted out in pots. I grew an avocado plant from a stone and tried growing carrot tops too for a while. I’ve not always been the best at looking after plants but so far the avocado tree is surviving.

What else changed over lockdown? My daughter and I did quite a few home beauty treatments and she even dyed my hair for me before the hairdressers went back to work. All church services have been on Facebook live or on Zoom. There have been no music gigs in months, no visits to the cinema or places of interest (indoors). No meals/drinks out until very recently. This weird situation where (even now) hugging friends when you see them is no longer something you take for granted. Of course it goes without saying that it is now totally normal to see people wearing face masks every time you’re out and about (making face masks was another project I tried my hand at). I’m sure I’ve missed out loads of things that have happened but at least now I’ll have something to remind me of this weird time. It would be nice if it was all in the past now but I guess there may be more posts to come that have some reference to Covid-19 since it looks like it could be around for a while. I’m just glad that now at least we can see friends and family in person – I think that’s what I missed most during lockdown.

What did you miss most during lockdown? What have you done to keep yourself occupied over the last few months?

Wednesday’s Wisdom

From “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse” by Charlie Mackesy

This is from another great book that I got recently. There are so many little gems in this one too. I need to remember this often – sometimes just getting up and carrying on is brave and magnificent. If you did this today I’m proud of you.

I’m always reading something or other. Books, social media feeds, study notes, blogs and more. Recently I’ve become even more aware of how much wisdom I come across in what I read so I decided to share some of it with you. I’m honestly not sure how consistent I will manage to be with this or how long I’ll keep it up but I’m going to try. It’s all part of the growing I need to do.

New wheels! 😁

I’m just a little bit excited so I wanted to share this with you. I got a new (to me) car today! 😆

We sold one of the family cars a couple of years ago when my hubby was out of work and we’ve been managing fine with one since – mostly on account of one or other young person living abroad – and then lockdown. Since my son has gone back to work though, and I am now going back out to work next week too it seemed like time to get another one.

We decided that for now the priority is that I can get to work, though hubby would love a car that’s got a bit more street cred. Et voila! I have wheels! The plan is that hubby will get his swanky car when the ‘kids’ are more self sufficient.

What do you think? I love the colour – AND it has heated seats and steering wheel. Perfect for me since I don’t like being cold. I can’t wait to go on some mini adventures in it. 😊

Wednesday’s Wisdom

There’s so much wisdom in this book it’s hard to pick just one bit. I’m not even finished reading it yet but I think it has the potential to be life changing. If you haven’t read this book I’d highly recommend it. Maybe one day I’ll write a wee review of it but until then I hope you benefit from this snippet of wisdom. It definitely made me think.

I’m always reading something or other. Books, social media feeds, study notes, blogs and more. Recently I’ve become even more aware of how much wisdom I come across in what I read so I decided to share some of it with you. I’m honestly not sure how consistent I will manage to be with this or how long I’ll keep it up but I’m going to try. It’s all part of the growing I need to do.