Just Checking In 😊

Hey lovely WordPress friends! It’s been a while. When I said I was taking a break back in February I really didn’t expect it to be for this long. At this moment I’m not actually sure I’m done having a break – I just wanted to say ‘Hi!’

So far 2021 has been pretty much as weird as 2020 was. Some things seem to be “going back to normal” but the reality is that everything is still different. In my house almost everyone is still working from home at least 4 days per week. Church is still different, and my course which I started during the pandemic is still online; although I have met a few of my classmates in person now. From September we get to go in to the college for one day of the course weekend. I’ll probably get a train in to the city those days – that’s still different too as masks are required on public transport.

Anyway, boring, boring! Is anything interesting actually happening to tell you about? Apart from the fact that two of my family currently have Covid? – Don’t worry they’re okay. Fortunately just a mild dose by the look of it.

Probably the most fun thing that’s happened this year is that my friend K and I have been getting into car camping. We made wee window covers for our cars and we’ve been collecting camping kit (mostly for feeding ourselves) in boxes. We pack up our cars and drive for an hour or two to our meeting point and then we’ll maybe go for a swim in a Loch, make ourselves dinner over a camping stove and share some wine or cider, sleep in our cars and go for a hike up a hill the next day. Or perhaps do the hike at sunset and the swim in the morning? Anyway, that’s kept me going through this year of ‘no events to go to’.

I’ve joined up with a team doing street work with the homeless once a month. That’s been interesting too – not in the same way obviously. It’s good to meet people and hear their stories though and hopefully be an encouragement and a help to them too.

I’ve managed to get myself off the antidepressants this year too. The CBT training and therapy helped a lot with strategies and stuff. Some days I still struggle a bit but on the whole I can manage my mental health and my emotions a lot better. I’ve got back into exercise again too which really helps. I joined the local gym and I’ve been swimming twice a week, going to the gym a couple of times and doing my Piyo class too, now that it’s started up again.

Other than that I think life has ticked over with work, walks with friends and hanging out with family and my wee friend B. My highlight (apart from car camping) was getting to go to the Eden Project in Cornwall in the summer.

Would you like to see what’s inside?

So that’s you all caught up with the excitement that is my life! 😆 I may or may not drop by again. Depends if I can decide what to say. The problem is probably not that I have nothing to say – just that I don’t know where to start! 🤷🏼‍♀️

Take care my friends. I hope you’re all well, healthy and happy. X

Pushing through 2020

Copied from a friend’s Facebook

I’ve been thinking about writing something for a while. It’s that time of year – I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas but I didn’t quite get round to it. I want to reflect on my year but I’m not quite sure where to start right now. There have been lots of good things happening and I’ve grown too but there have also been times that I’ve struggled and it’s been an effort to push through. The last few weeks have been a struggle but I’m still getting up in the morning. I’m still pushing on and by the grace of God I get through the days and sometimes I’m even able to be a blessing to others. I’m getting great feedback in my business, my family are healthy and I am blessed with a lovely home, food and clothing. I have some amazing friends who are there for me whether I’m feeling great or needing support. I have a lot to be thankful for.

I’m not sure what next year holds, or even tomorrow but I know that God will get me through. Some might see my faith as a crutch – something to hold me up because I can’t manage life on my own. Maybe that is one word for it? I don’t mind admitting that I can’t do this on my own. I tried being strong (and for a long time I managed it) but even then I had faith. Now I don’t think I’d have made it this far if it wasn’t for my faith. For me, the reality is that the other coping strategies I have are not enough. I need Jesus every day and I thank God for Him.

In case I don’t get round to posting anything else in the next few days I just want to wish everyone who reads this a very happy, healthy and prosperous year in 2021. I hope it will bring many good things your way.

Blogging Update

I know – it’s been a while – again! It’s not that I have nothing to say – it’s just that I don’t know where to start. As a result I thought I’d take the opportunity to answer some questions posed by Claudette, the lovely Writer of Words on her post about a week ago now. In fact I can relate to a lot of what she said at the beginning of her post too so check it out?

So these are Claudette’s questions and my attempt at answering:

All about blogging

1) Does belonging to a blogging community imply a responsibility toward the bloggers?

I had to think about this one because I do tend to take on responsibilities that are not mine and I also like to look out for others. Realistically though can you take any responsibility for people whose real names you don’t know, who live at an unknown address sometimes on the other side of the globe and whom you have no contact with outside of cyberspace? I don’t think so. Do I care? Yes, I actually do care. There are many blogs on here that I can relate to and people who I’m certain I’d get on well with IRL but you know…

2) Does it become a want or a need to read, like and/or comment regularly?

There are several blogs that I enjoy reading regularly and will often like or comment on. It’s definitely a ‘want to’ I think. I don’t feel I need to for similar reasons to my answer to question 1.

3) If you read, like and especially comment at least semi-regularly on a select few blogs and thereby get to *know* that blogger a little, does this relationship qualify as friendship?

I’d like to think it’s a sort of a friendship. There’s a connection there for sure. I guess the difference is that your IRL friends are actually there on the other end of a phone or at your door if you need them and you can be for them too. I think it’s definitely possible for a blogger friend to become a real friend if you get in touch outside of this platform.

4) Is a virtual relationship through a blog real?

It can definitely feel real but I don’t think that it would be possible to get all the qualities you’re looking for from a friendship/relationship through blogging and commenting. There would have to be more.

5) Do you feel reading there every time they post is the responsible thing to do or do you drop off on occasion?

There are some blogs that I read all the time but there are others that I’ve stopped reading as often or just dip in and out of. I tend to read what I enjoy.

6) If you drop off, what are the reasons you are taking a break?

There have in the past been a couple of blogs that I felt were affecting my own thinking and maybe even getting me down – I have to look after myself too. I’ve also accidentally taken a break from some blogs because of glitches in WP that have meant their posts stopped showing up for me.

7) What if you extend the relationship with a blogger beyond the blog and start emailing with them? Does this make the relationship more intimate, more real?

I think so. I guess it depends on how far you extend it but if you’re chatting back and forth by email then yes. I think you’re probably more likely to phone or video call too once you’ve taken this step.

8) With those more intimately connected bloggers whom you have an exterior relationship with (say through email) do you take the opportunity to check in with them when you read between the lines something they posted in their blog?

I don’t really have this situation. I have some IRL friends who read my blog but don’t blog themselves. If I was in this position I’m sure I would check in though.

9) When you formulate an opinion on a blogger based solely on what you read on their blog, do you make assumptions about them and/or their personality, character, lifestyle?

Definitely. I think it’s natural as humans to fill in the blanks in a story or make up what we don’t know. I don’t feel bad about doing that though since I always assume that people are generally pretty great.

Thanks Claudette for posing these questions. Just what I needed to break my silence again. 🙂

Goodbye 2019!

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a few days now and I keep putting it off. Partly that’s because I’m a little scared to look back on this year and go through some of the most painful emotions again… so I’ve decided to avoid those to an extent. It’s not that I don’t want to be real – it’s just that I need to work out when it’s helpful for me to look back and when it just makes the depression more difficult. Having said that there have also been some really good times this year and I’m grateful for those and don’t want to forget about them.

I’ve been to some cracking music gigs – Charles Esten; Country 2 Country (where my favourites were Lady Antebellum and Ingrid Andress); Cassia supported by Alfie Neale (twice); The Cactus Blossoms; Joseph and finally Emeli Sande supported by Ben Monteith. I’ve loved all of these for different reasons. I don’t have any more gigs lined up right now but there will definitely be more next year. There have been good books, meals out, trips to the cinema, mini adventures, board games and lots of quality time with great friends and family.

Some of this year’s highlights have been travelling to Belgium and Paris, Croatia and some places not so far from home like Edinburgh and Carnoustie. I had a bit of fun looking for the Oor Wullie models in Glasgow and Edinburgh in the summer – sometimes with little B and sometimes not. For those of you who have never heard of Oor Wullie; he’s a pretty well known Scottish cartoon character who’s been around since the 1930s so he’s a bit older than me 😂.

One of the Oor Wullie models in Edinburgh

I had the Best Surprise Ever!! when my son came home from Australia in the summer and a more difficult time when my daughter left for California. Can’t wait to go over there to see her in a couple of days. I finally took the plunge and left teaching – no regrets about that. I’m loving my new job even though it’s not exactly a viable business yet. I’m spending more time with some new friends and some old ones than I had been doing and that’s been really good for me. I’m still blogging! Not something I’d ever thought I’d end up doing but it’s been a useful processing tool for me and a way to express myself. I’ve also found the blogging community to be really supportive and friendly.

At the beginning of 2019 I had decided that my goal was to ‘be a blessing‘ but I’ve found this a lot harder than I anticipated. I guess it takes that bit of extra effort to go out of your way to be kind to someone or help them. One of my friends insists that I’ve probably been more successful at this than I think just by being there for people but I suppose it’s not what I had in mind. I guess I know that across the year I have managed to be a blessing to a few people and hopefully that will continue and maybe even develop in the future.

I haven’t made any resolutions as such but looking forward to next year I have thought of a few things that I’d like to do more or less of. I’d like to try to restrict the time I spend on social media and spend more time reading books. I want to spend more time living in the present and being grateful for God’s blessings in my life now. To help me with this I’ve bought this cute little diary and I’m going to try to write down some things that I’m grateful for every day. I want to find a new freedom to be myself and say what I think (I don’t want to allow myself to be silenced any more). This one will probably be the hardest for me as I’ve trained myself to keep quiet over the years. I guess it’s taken me a long time to realise that it wasn’t good for me. I want to grow more as a person and in my relationship with God. I want to grow my business too – a lot easier said than done but I’m hopeful that as I feel stronger in myself I’ll be able to do what it takes.

That’s a lot of things to work on and if I plunge straight in to trying to do all that I will probably feel overwhelmed and fail miserably so I’m going to start first with the little diary and take it from there.

What have you been grateful for in 2019?

Is there anything you want to do more or less of in the New Year?

Thank you to everyone who has stuck with me through this year; reading my posts and sending lovely comments. I really appreciate you and I hope that 2020 brings you good health, prosperity and joy.

The Gift of Tears

I had a conversation yesterday that kind of impacted me so I wanted to tell you about it. I was driving to our friend’s funeral along with another friend B whom I’ve only started getting to know better recently. B also used to be a teacher and she has a very similar personality to me (at least we both have the same MBTI and Enneagram types).

We started off talking about funerals and how we feel about them. Neither of us are scared of sad emotions and we both cry quite a lot and have a lot of empathy for others. Sometimes that means that we get emotional at funerals even if we don’t know the deceased that well because we empathise with family members who are upset.

I mentioned that I sometimes feel like I cry too much and she told me a story. She said that her mum had once said to her mum (B’s gran) that she cried too much. B’s gran told her that she didn’t cry too much; she had the ‘gift of tears’. I think that’s a kind of beautiful way to look at it. Not everyone finds it easy to express their emotions I suppose.

There are some people I know who seem to struggle with emotions. It seems as if they don’t know how to process the more difficult ones or what to do with them. They also find it difficult to watch others who are emotional and it can seem like they think expressing emotion is a weakness. I don’t know if that’s what they really think but it can come across like that. Sometimes the only emotion that you really see them express is anger.

As a child and a teenager I rarely cried; but after I got married and had kids I seemed to become a lot more tuned in with the sad emotions or maybe I was just more empathetic? These days I cry at all sorts of stuff – movies (happy or sad), adverts, the news and books. Sometimes my family laugh at me when I cry at movies. I cry a lot with song lyrics or when people share their stories, like when people share testimonies in church that often gets me.

The funeral service yesterday was very emotional. All four of our friend’s sons and his wife and his brother and other friends and family shared about the impact he had had on their lives. They spoke about the kind of man he was and what he had taught them. It made me wish that I had had more time to get to know him. One of his sons had even written a beautiful song for his dad. It certainly got my ‘gift of tears’ flowing.

When I first went to the docs earlier this year about depression I was crying so much that it was interfering with my life – I don’t think that was healthy – but sometimes a good cry does make you feel better. It releases oxytocin after all so it’s bound to help. I think I’m doing a lot better now and I’m crying a lot less but I’m not afraid to cry. Sometimes I think the right thing to do is to let those emotions out.

How do you feel about crying? Does it bother you when other people get emotional? Do you have the gift of tears?

I just want to write

I had a rough night last night. Didn’t sleep well and then woke up late for the plans we had for this morning. I feel a bit flat today and I just wanted to write. I looked at the posts in my drafts (some of which are so near to finished) but I didn’t want to finish any of them. I just want to talk.

If you could be here right now you’d have to perch on the end of my bed. There’s nowhere else to sit in my room. The only chair is covered in clothes that have been worn once and discarded but didn’t seem dirty enough for the wash bin. It might feel when you’re sitting there like you’re visiting the sick but I’m not sick (at least not physically).

I could tell you about my week. It’s been quite busy. My in-laws were visiting last week and stayed till Tuesday so we had quite a full house with three extra people in it. On Monday I did a day’s supply teaching in Primary 7 at my old school – that was quite nice actually. The kids were really good and I enjoyed seeing them (I taught that class when they were in P1). We were planning to go into the city to see the Christmas lights in the evening but a few of the family were feeling under the weather so that didn’t happen. It was okay though. I’ve been reading a book by a fellow blogger Yeshiva Girl by Rachel Mankowitz so I was happy to get my nose stuck back into that. I’ve finished it now and would recommend. It’s a good read.

I had relaxation classes on Tuesday morning and afternoon and dropped the in-laws off at the airport in between. After work I met my hubby in the city and we went out for dinner and went to the Emeli Sande gig. That was really good. I love music gigs. One of my favourite things to do.

Wednesday brought more relaxation sessions in the morning plus some individual sessions at my favourite school to go to. It also happens to be in the most deprived area I work in. I had lunch with a lovely friend after that and then went to pick up little B for the afternoon. I took him over to the craft shop to buy some Christmas cracker kits to send to my daughter in the States. The evening became a little hectic because of cancelled trains so I was running about picking people (including a few strangers) up and dropping them off. I also had to shop and deliver a meal to our dear friend whose husband has just died. 😢

Thursday was a good day. I went on a training course all day to learn some new skills for my business. It was really useful and I met some nice people and did a bit of networking while I was there. We had a chilled evening after that.

It was my birthday on Friday. I decided I might just stop counting my age 😉. I don’t feel any older anyway and the number somehow seems irrelevant. I got my hair done in the morning. The girl who’s been cutting my hair for years has changed jobs so I have a new hairdresser but she’s doing okay and getting the hang of how I like it. After that one of my lovely friends treated me to lunch and then I had a chilled out bath before the guys cooked dinner for me and we spent the evening pampering ourselves (I made them wear face masks too), drinking wine and singing along to the karaoke version of The Greatest Showman.

Yesterday we went over to visit some friends in the morning/early afternoon and after brunch I spent some time building Lego with their kids while we chatted. We pottered a bit with stuff in the house in the afternoon and then went to visit other friends for drinks after dinner. We quite often go on holiday with these guys and we started exploring possible options for a holiday next summer. Talking of holidays I don’t think I’ve mentioned that we’re off to visit our daughter in California at the beginning of the new year. I’m looking forward to that.

I’m feeling a bit better now that I’ve shared my week with you. It was a good one really (apart from the death of our friend). Maybe now I can get myself up and ready for the day.

How was your week? I’d love to know what you’ve been up to. 🙂

Blah blah blah…

Meaningless, meaningless everything is meaningless…

B O R E D

What’s the point?

Does life even make sense?

Apologies for this post – feels like my brain just needs to throw up. Don’t feel obliged to read on – especially if you’re squeamish.

I’m fed up.

T I R E D

Don’t know what I want to say. Do I even have anything worth saying? Does anybody care? Do I care?

Why am I here?

Does anybody need me? Does anybody want me? Does anybody love me?

Sorry to subject you to this pity party.

Wait a minute I’m not subjecting you – you were warned!

I have no right to be miserable and feeling sorry for myself actually. I need to focus on His blessings. I have some friends who are going through really sh*tty stuff right now. I feel bad for them. I have it good really. Just need to give myself a good talking to.

There are some blogs I follow where the writers have been through horrendous stuff and they still find a way to show gratitude and find the sunshine in life. I used to be good at finding the silver linings. What’s happened to me?

Is this the depression? I mean it does feel better than it was… but some days… Do I just need to snap out of it? Stop being a miserable git? Maybe. Yeah probably!

Okay I’m going to leave this here. Don’t worry. I’m okay really. Just needed to get that out of my system.

I’ll be my sunny self again soon – especially if I get a couple of gins into me. 😝

Actually my work is pretty good 😉

The best and worst of my job so far

I have to say that becoming self employed has been a really good move for me. I was nervous about it at first because I knew there were no guarantees that it would work out. I mean my business is not exactly thriving yet but I feel good about how it’s going.

I work with several children who are really struggling. They so need love and security and connection in their lives and it feels great to be able to give them that. One little boy told me recently that I was his safe place. That just melts my heart. I love being able to make a difference to these little ones.

It’s tough sometimes when I’m alone in the house catching up on admin stuff. I’m not great at being alone. Sometimes I can just stick my music on and I’m fine but other times I struggle emotionally when I don’t have people to distract me. My boss is pretty understanding though 😉 so that’s another positive. She totally gets the importance of self-care. 😊

It’s really cool being able to mix work up with the rest of life too. I like that I can go to an exercise class or for a swim in the morning when I don’t have work scheduled or read a chapter of a book or watch some TV in my lunch break. It’s good to be able to put a washing in the machine between emails and catch up with friends between classes. It also means I can fit in brief trips to the supermarket like the one I made yesterday to return the stickers I accidentally stole last week. (If you haven’t heard that story read my post Mini Moral Dilemas.)

Money has the potential to be a hassle. I’m not worried as such (I guess I’ve learned not to worry about money – that’s another story) but I’m not making (anything like) as much as I did in teaching. Hopefully the gap will close a bit in time. I really dislike doing all the money stuff – doing my accounts and thinking about pensions and tax stuff. I also dislike chasing people up when they say they’re interested and then don’t get back to you again or when they haven’t paid since May and it’s now October.

Last minute cancellations is kinda a negative (at least work wise) but I just turned one that came in today into a positive by arranging a wee night out with a friend to see my niece’s band play tomorrow night. It’s nice to be able to be that flexible.

On the whole I’m enjoying being self employed right now. There are probably lots of good business ideas I could employ to make the business more successful but I’m also aware that I need to look after my health and not get too stressed about it. One day at a time. It’s getting there. 😊

How Do I Pray?

It’s the middle of the night here in the UK but I can’t sleep. I’m sitting here drinking camomile tea and tossing up between ironing or ordering food shopping 😝. I don’t really want to do either of those things so instead I’m writing this post.

Don’t worry. I haven’t forgotten how to talk to God. I talk to Him a lot. I share my feelings with Him all the time and I tell Him even the things that no one else knows – I mean why not? He knows anyway.

My difficulty is that once again we have a friend who has cancer. The doctors can do no more. They’re using words like ‘palliative care’ again. We’ve been here before. More than once. Each time my friends have been asking God for a miracle. Each time I’ve prayed for that with them. I know God heals (I’ve seen this before too). I believe He wants to heal. I’ve expected God to heal. So far (if I’m remembering correctly) only one out of many friends and family members has been healed from cancer.

So how do I pray? Am I doing something wrong? I remember a few years ago teaching on this very subject in church. It was a difficult time. We had not long since lost a young friend to cancer. Many of us were struggling with continuing to ask God to heal. I’d go back and reread that sermon now but I lost it when my hard drive packed in so I don’t know if there’s anything that God was saying to me back then that would have helped me now. Probably. I remember that in essence I felt that I shouldn’t stop asking.

It gets harder to keep asking though. I mean I still do. I still know God can. I just don’t get why so often it doesn’t happen. I know God isn’t a genie in a bottle but He is God and He tells us He’s willing to heal and I know He’s able to heal so what am I missing?

I guess I’ve heard most of the answers to my question already too. I’d be surprised if you can give me an answer I haven’t heard before (feel free to try though). I’m just putting this out there because it’s on my mind tonight. Someone gave a word this morning about keys at church (related to something different) and I feel like there’s a key somewhere to be discovered where healing is concerned. I’d love to know where it is. I’m sure I’ll keep looking because it feels like I need to find it.

Pray… but how?

Busy, busy, busy!

Hey guys! Sorry it’s been so long since I posted anything. Life has been pretty hectic since our return from Croatia. It’s not that I haven’t had thousands of thoughts that I wanted to blog about – I even started writing a few that never got finished – it’s just that life has taken over or I’ve engineered it that way. It’s a tricky one ’cause I like to be busy and sociable. I get bored if I don’t have much on so I’m inclined to fill every minute in my diary. The downsides of that are that I then have no ‘me time’, no processing time and I have to be careful not to use busyness as a numbing strategy ’cause I’ve done that plenty too.

Anyway I’d better fill you in on what I’ve been up to. There were a few big events lined up just after our return. Our daughter was leaving for California ten days after we got back so I was trying to help her with last minute arrangements and packing and stuff. She’s off to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry for 10 months. I’ll miss her a lot but I know this is an exciting opportunity for her and I think she was ready for a bit more independence again.

We also had our local community fun day 8 days after our return. I’m on the organising team for that so I was busy with everything from signing the licence to occupy the site at the council offices to clearing weeds from the car park and picking up dog poo before we could get set up. 😝 Thankfully despite a lot of red tape this year it turned out to be a successful day and the sun even shone for us after what had been a pretty damp week. I think we must have had around 500 people turn up across the day – not bad for a small village. My boy’s band played a slot in the music tent and my lovely girl gave up three hours of packing time to face paint less than 48 hours before leaving.

We had a friend of my son’s staying with us from Australia for a few days while all of that was going on. I’ve looked after little B every week for a while and caught up with a few friends too. I went down to my parents new house and prepped and painted their bathroom ceiling for them one day. I’ve had a few fun nights out like one with my teacher pals to escape rooms and then out for dinner. That was such a good laugh. We’ve had some nice meals with friends and a trip to the spa with one of my besties K which is always so relaxing.

This last week or so I’ve been working a bit on my business again too. I’ve got a few classes lined up (and some supply days at my old school) but I need some more confirmed. Getting work set up is one of the hardest things about being self employed. I do have a few people interested just now I just need them to confirm. Hopefully that will happen soon.

In amongst everything else I’ve finally finished Skelly’s Square (started it towards the end of my holiday but I’m a slow reader at times) an excellent debut novel by one of my fav bloggers Stephen Black of Fractured Faith Blog . Totally recommend this. It’s a great read and I can’t wait for book 2.

If you’re still with me thanks for reading. That was a bit of a whistle stop tour of the last couple of weeks. Hopefully I’ll share some more soon. 😊