Just Me Again!

Hey everyone. I’ve been wanting to write something for a while but I just couldn’t. The last couple of months have felt pretty tough again. I think it’s something to do with the end of the year and the start of the new one (not to mention the significant dates that happen around this time). I thought about posting a reflection on the past year but for some reason last year just seemed to merge with the previous couple of years and I couldn’t figure out what to say. I don’t want it to sound like I’m miserable all the time, I’m generally a positive person. It’s just that there are layers of me (do I sound like Shrek? – maybe I’m really an ogre? 😆) and if you peel a few back there’s still a lot of pain underneath that sometimes seeps out whether I want it to or not. I wanted to write about Christmas but it’s just not the same any more. I used to love Christmas; but now, while I still love bits of it, other things – like Christmas songs – are just painful. Christmas songs are a bit like fairy tales – and I don’t think I believe in fairy tales any more – maybe it’s a bit naive that I ever did? I wanted to write about the New Year but I’m struggling a bit to dream about possibilities. Having said that I do have some nice plans for camping and things with friends this year.

Could this be a self-portrait? 😂

That all sounds a bit dramatic, right? So let me lighten it up a bit for you. This year started with the delightful news that I had Covid! I’m fine – I didn’t struggle with the severe symptoms some people have had. For me it was pretty much like any other cold or flu virus. I had a couple of rough days but other than that I was fine. The worst thing was being stuck in for 10 days. It gave me a bit of time to contemplate my word for the year though. Last year’s word was a total flop! I think I chose the word ‘articulate’ in the end but I can’t even remember. The idea was to be authentic and vocalise my own thoughts, needs and opinions. Well that didn’t happen! 😝 – So here’s hoping I have more success this year. I’ve chosen a couple of words for the year 2022 – ‘clarity’ and ‘confidence’. I feel a real need for clarity just now and I’m hoping my therapist can help me a bit with getting that. I also need confidence – in God, in myself and to be able to follow through with whatever becomes clear.

I’ve also decided to keep track of any books I read this year. I do read quite a bit but a lot of it is for work or study right now which means I’m dipping in and out of books rather than just reading them for interest or enjoyment. I was so impressed when LA posted that she had read 113 Books last year. Initially I thought I’d be doing well to set myself a target of 10 but after thinking about it for a while I realised that I probably already manage that in a year by the time I read a couple of books with friends so we can chat about them and a few on holiday (vacation). I usually have 2 or 3 on the go most of the time; it’s just that I don’t have much time to read just for fun. Anyway I’m going to stretch my target to 15 and see how I get on. It would be cool if I can really surprise myself and do more but I’ll be happy if I can achieve that.

After having to quarantine with Covid I was glad to be able to get back to the gym and the pool and out walking again. I’m not the fittest person by any stretch but I like to be active and you always get some random chat at the local sports centre. Church is back in person again – I’m not sure what I’m going to do about church going forward (maybe I’ll write about that sometime) but for now I’m back and it’s good to be around people and worship together. Work and study always keeps me busy but I think my capacity is not what it used to be so I’m really glad that somehow it always seems to work out to just the right amount to keep me busy but not overwhelm me. It must be a God thing because I don’t plan it that way.

Well I think that’s all I have to say for now. I hope you’re all well and I’ll check in again sometime. x

What’s the word I’m looking for?

I’m tired today. Maybe because the howling wind kept me awake half of last night? And maybe because I’m tired I’ve not had the most productive of days. I managed a food shop this morning but I just couldn’t get my head around the studying I was trying to do this afternoon. Eventually I gave up. It’s not so bad though – when I think back to this time last year I couldn’t manage two productive days in a row and last week I had a really productive week and got things done every day. I must be doing better 😊.

Anyway, since I wasn’t getting anywhere with studying I thought I’d ask you guys for some help. (That in itself is growth – I’m not good at asking for help). I’m looking for a word. Sort of a word for the year? I don’t really do resolutions and I’ve only picked a word for the year a couple of times before. I prefer to make goals and set targets as I go along rather than set them up at the start of a year. Having said that, since the start of 2021 I’ve been thinking about something I want to work on this year but I’m struggling with a word for it. I want to use my voice to make myself heard and make my needs known. To find connection too I guess but it’s definitely got to be something about speaking out. It’s something I’ve struggled with at times and I want to overcome it.

I had a chat with my good friend K about it and we came up with a few words between us: audible, aloud, distinct, emphatic, resounding, apparent, clear, vocal , vocalised, acoustic, articulate, convey, express, declare. But I’m still not sure which of these to go with or whether there’s something better? Can you help? What word would you pick to encapsulate what I want to achieve? Let me know in the comments.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

N.B. I actually wrote this post yesterday but, as often happens, I didn’t end up posting it. I kinda didn’t want to just leave this one in drafts though because I really do want to know what word I should choose, so I’m getting round to posting eventually.

Reflections on 2018

2018 Reflections

What a year it’s been.  Without a doubt the most challenging of my life so far.  There have been ups and downs but definitely more downs.  There has been struggle and loss and periods of calm in the storms.  You’ve been through a lot of that with me – thank you for that.  You know even though it’s been so hard and I’ve made mistakes I’m not sure which bits I would change.  Sometimes I think God uses the really tough stuff in our lives to prepare us and change us into what he needs us to be.  I was reflecting the other day on what I had learned and what I was grateful for even in all the difficulties.

Some things I have learned:

  • It’s okay to be me – in fact it’s better to be me than to wear a mask – even though it’s sometimes the more difficult option.
  • There are some genuinely loving and non-judgemental people in the world (and in the church).
  • Asking questions and taking an interest makes people feel loved and special (sounds obvious huh?).
  • I can be brave and step out of my comfort zone.
  • Writing – this blog and other things – really helps me process.

Some things I am grateful for:

  • My two amazing kids who somehow are still strong in their faith and confident in themselves and kind and thoughtful and loving.
  • That my Papa never ever leaves me and that He carries me through even the most difficult times.
  • My friends and family members who have stuck with me through all the ups and downs and who genuinely want what’s best for me without an agenda.
  • God loves me just because I’m His kid and not because of anything I did or didn’t do.
  • I’m still here and getting stronger.

It would be very convenient if I could say that all the challenges of this year were neatly tied up and the struggles were over ready to start the new year with a clean slate but that’s not the reality.  Really January 1st is just another day.  There are still struggles and challenges to overcome and difficulties to deal with.  One thing is certain though – Papa will be right beside me in it all.  He’s always there, carrying me through.

As this new year comes in what I’m working on is shifting my focus.  Trying to stop thinking about my own struggles so much and instead thinking about how I can be a blessing and an encouragement to others.  I’m pretty sure I will need reminded of this as it can be easy to slip back into overthinking and maybe even self-pity.  I’m thinking of making it my mission to bless as many people as I can every day.  I’m not sure what that will look like yet but I guess if I can do something to help even one person have a slightly better day that would be a good thing.

I hope and pray for all of you reading this that 2019 will be better than 2018 (whether it was a good year or not), that God will bless you and prosper you in every way, that you will have good health and love and peace and fun.  That every day will bring joy and revelations and new adventures as you journey with Papa and grow in faith and love.