Positive times

It’s been a fair few weeks since I last blogged and in that time I’ve been processing a combination of feelings… from moments of absoloute joy to times when I’ve felt low, sad and wallowing in self-doubt. I know full well though my life is full of blessings and I’m surrounded by so many people who love and care for me. However feelings of self-doubt, inadequecy and uncertainty about whether I am capable of achieving my aspirations have led to days when it takes twice as long to motivate myself and show appreciation. This doesn’t fill me with pride because I have been through tougher times. But we all have to work through our feelings in the hope that us dealing with them head on helps us to make steps forward to become happier and more appreciative of what we have and our resilience to deal with everything life throws at us. However I’m coming out the other side after a good three weeks or so weeks of positive outcomes has led me to lots of positive thinking and changed my whole mind set. 

I’m my most content and secure when I’m surrounded by those who know me and my potential, those who regardless of the mistakes I make know how hard I try.  For me this isn’t self-pitying behaviour. I work through these feelings in the hope the result is that I approach my days more positively and resourcefully. I’m finally getting back on an even footing and I have so much to reflect on and be thankful for. I’m blessed and I want everyone who matters to me to know how much I value them. 

It’s time to stop being afraid of what could go wrong and and start being excited for what could go right. Life is all about grabbing chances!

Seizing the day

There’s a saying, when life gives you lemons make lemonade, I say when life and all of its blessings gives you the opportunity to wake up in the morning be it at 5.30am (and during valuable leave from work) be thankful. If my life’s events of the last few years have taught me anything it is definately the importance of seizing every moment and making memories.

Whether your just taking time off to be at home or you’re able to have escaped somewhere new for a week like myself and my husband. Embrace that chance to make the best of the day. 

Today for instance I found myself wide awake, showered, dressed and ready for the day by 6am (my husband still fast asleep, having a well deserved lie in) So instead of just lounging around (which would have been completely acceptable while on annual leave) I left our friends holiday home in Rhosneigr, N. Wales (we are lucky enough to be staying here for the week as a wedding gift) and walked the very short path down to the sea. I stood there looking out and as I did I reflected on just how blessed I am to be able to see Gods creation in all it’s glory. The sun shining the waves slowly lapping up on the sand. It was beautiful. I stood still in tranquil calm. For once I didn’t feel the weight of concerns at home, any burdens weighing me down. It was as though I had left them down the train track in Crewe. If only for just a week I had the chance to take a break from routine, every day tasks and feel a realease. I knew it would only be a temporary respite from the norm but I was grateful for that. I was able to seize the moment and be grateful for time and opportunity to recuperate and bring together my thoughts somewhere different. 

I want to wake each morning like today with that gratitude for the day, for life and for all that I am part of. Gods creation, my family and my friendships. I look forward to every moment and if I have 2 aspirations in life I hope that one is that my being makes just a small difference to this world and the second that I am able to show gratitude for all that I have and have to come. My family, my friends, my faith in God and my work. 

We all have a purpose and God has a plan for each of us, it’s noticing during the paths we follow and the discoveries we make just what that plan is. Everyday day won’t be as exciting as the next it may be mundane and more challenging than we expect but I’ve learnt that God only deals out what he knows we can deal with and that includes the faith he has in us to take risks and feel pain. Anyone who loves there family and friends would walk over hot coals for them or take a bullet for them. We only hope we never have to but we would want to feel that if we did God would be walking across those coals or would be there in the cross fire with us and that we would make it through. 

So don’t be afraid to sieze the day, be thankful for everyday life, be it the mundane because it’s another day we’re alive and rejoice in the excitement of adventure. Everyday is another chance to be part of Gods wonderful creation alongside those we are gifted to have beside us. 

A very brief reflection on current life.  

It’s such a blessing and a defining moment when you discover just how well you have come through storms in your life and still appreciate all the good things you still have and be excited for what lies ahead. You learn the true value of life, all you have and all you love, possessions, family and friends. That’s when you find contentment and a healthy way to live. That isn’t to say you will become complacent it just means your appreciating what you have in the present and will move forward, achieve more and value all that you continue to receive and achieve. 

My blessings

Since the day I was born I have never gone without all that I need. I believe I was loved and wanted before I was even conceived… because my parents wished for children from the day they decided that wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. They would and do see me as a blessing to them but I feel blessed to be able to call them my parents.

This isn’t to imply it’s all been plain sailing. Through all the challenges and sadly heartbreak parenthood can bring they have given me all the blessings they possibly could. I believe their love for each other, their selflessness, their wonderful personalities and values in life are shaping me in to the person I am today and will continue to become! This isn’t to say that I won’t or haven’t made mistakes ( I can vouch that I have made them in bucketfuls and will continue to trip up and make poor decisions) but I have always been taught to persevere (ever since the struggles I faced as a child learning to ride my bike or to colour within the lines at primary school) My parents have always encouraged me to try my best, turning up at every parents evening and reading every school report with me and reassuring me that all I can do is my best and to have more faith in my own abilities…

This has never come naturally to me though and like many of us self doubt and fear comes over me like a tsunami at times but I have learnt to stop and reflect along my life’s journey how much I am growing as a person each day. I’m less fearful of taking chances, of being me and letting others see me the real me. I am learning that my family and friends love me for who I am. I am becoming stronger and more able to make more better decisions than poorer ones. I want to help others more and think less about how something would benefit me because this world isn’t just about what I can get out of it. 

We have all seen on the news this last week how kind selfless gestures can make a world of difference and when people who have little are the ones saving people it should make us all reflect on how we can use our kind, loving, human nature to make this world a better place in times of fear and uncertainty. So wake up every morning with the intention of making a difference, making a change and showing thanks for all you have because life is one huge blessing from God. Whether you have a faith or not be faithful and thankful to yourself and those you love. However long we have on this earth with our ones is a precious gift so give thanks for all you have and live life for today.

My Taize Experience 

Just this weekend I had the opportunity to be part of a weekend where the Taize form of worship and prayer was brought to the city of Birmingham. The city and its own diverse culture, churches and chapels welcomed those from quite literally all corners of the globe, from Malaysia, Australia and China to the Netherlands, Germany and Hungary all for one purpose, to reflect together the role Christ plays in our lives and to discover hidden treasures… individuals who have so much to give of themselves for the good of others as well as learning respect for this world that God created for each of us.

I was able to take time out of my busy day to day life to stop and take time to be with others, to listen and to speak with individuals who I didn’t know and who didn’t know me. I didn’t feel any nerves or apprehension. Myself and another young women spoke quite frankly with one another at one point on quite a controversial subject but there was no fear. This was such a welcome contrast to ordinary life where you can face amniosity when speaking to someone you consider a friend.  

In contrast to conversations we had we also had the opportunity to be silent. I found I took more time during those few days to be quiet to not want to hear my own voice to not need to put the television on or buy something from a shop that I didn’t need. Within a busy city hundreds of young people all had one focus in mind, to find the hidden treasures that hide within our neighbours and the everyday places that we pass. No one would ever think of a busy city like Birmingham as a place for reflection and peace but even within the busy shopping quarter I sat amongst many others and thought and reflected on what I had seen and was part of in this world! We all visited various places of worship where there were variations in worship and the titles people had but whereas in our jobs these things matter to us these differences didn’t cause intimidation or a feeling that one was more superior to another. Everyone accepted one another at no one point over the weekend did I hear any harsh words muttered inside or outside a church or place of worship! This may not have been because everyone was in a good place in their life because we know this is unlikely to be the case in this world where we have daily struggles and in some cases face feeling at the brink of survival. We see such images of hostility and terror that it’s enough to make anyone question if there is a God. 

I really hope that what I have taken away from this weekend and what I have learnt stays with me and I carry out Gods plan for me in my day to day life. I also hope I come to another event such as this and make fresh connections with such wonderful people as those I have had the joy of meeting this weekend. 

Growing kinder

I’ve lived most of my life since as early as Junior school until very recently beating myself up for every error I make. Even one rectifiable mistake or missed opportunity appeared to be the end of the world to me. So many times have I moped about as though the world was against me I would be grumpy and not the me I knew I could be and who my parents wanted people to see.

 If I wasn’t the one to give the right answer in class or receive a merit certificate for hard work it would cause me to turn on myself and feel sorry for myself. For so long I must have came across as so egocentric or simply selfish to others. My parents would comment about the look on my face when someone else got something and I didn’t. As much as I loved (and still love) my brother I’m sure I must have been jealous of him at times. Jekyll and Hyde I would often be referred to as. My parents would receive compliments about how lovely I am from family and friends whenever I was anywhere in public or at a family gathering. All the effort my wonderful parents made to bring me up to be a well rounded human being who showed kindness and happiness for others there must have felt like such energy wasted. However my parent like most others always held faith in me and would remind me how lovely I could be and never lost sight of just how well mannered and kind I could be also. I was no lost cause to them I just needed to learn to be the best I could be and accept that I may not always be the one who gets top marks in spelling tests or to be given the lead part in a school play but as long as I put all my effort in that was what mattered. 

I’ve learnt that for my own piece of mind I need to take in to account all the steps I take without tripping and the times I succeed. If we don’t take account of these small achievements we will constantly feel down trodden and a failure. There are enough times when others will put us down and belittle us whether it be in the workplace or nasty comments made by others aloud or secretly in our social circle. Most of these people are often people who need love and someone to believe in them. So if we believed in ourselves more often their un-informed opinions of us won’t bother us. So don’t make being made to feel inadaquete an option, approach each day as though it is the first day of the rest of your life but also potentially the last in this unpredictable world we live in. You hold the key to your own success no one else! Surround yourself with this who glory in your success and whilst you feel a sense of worth from them let them feel a sense of worth from you.  Make the world a world we want the next generation to feel safe in and proud of. Be happy, be proud, show fear and vigilance but don’t be frightened to take risks. We need to believe in ourselves and see the good in those around us. It can be tough at times to find comfort and tranquility in a world where there is so much eveidence of hostility and evil. But we need to also see the beauty that surrounds us, the landscapes and the beauty in ordinary people who are doing there very best to be good, honest people trying to make their way in life the best way they know how.  So be kind to yourself reward yourself but be humble know the value of our lives and the lives of those around us famiy, friends and strangers. I know I will make further errors of judgements, snap opinions and judgements in life but if I try to have good intentions and approach life positively and humbly I hope my efforts pay off not only for my own gratification but for the good of those around me. 

Achieving new goals

I’ve worked with children all my adult life to date and it really is one of the most rewarding roles one can choose to take as a career. I have been so fortunate. However I have had a burning desire for about a year now to venture out of my comfort zone and explore an avenue which I feel my faith in God and my life experiences have led me too. That is an avenue towards working with those less fortunate than myself. A few months ago I witnessed over a period of about 2 weeks a young man sleeping rough in Crewe at first I just passed him by with the thought that he would only be there for an odd night however when I passed him morning after morning on the way to the bus stop it occurred to me that perhaps he really was all alone or if not felt like he was. One evening after a long day at work I saw the end of a sleeping bag in the same doorway and knew it was him. I rustled around in my bag knowing I had left a couple of pieces of fruit from my lunch and handed them to him, nothing exciting, sadly no sausage butty or even a packet of crisps. I had been advised by a friend not to give money but really felt for this young gent who looked younger than myself. I had to give him something. He was so grateful. I had witnessed his gratitude that morning too as some local workers passed him a pastry on their way to work so I wasn’t afraid to make an offering. However I went home that evening but instead of feeling a warm glow I felt immense sadness and grief for this young lad so much so I broke down in to floods of tears. Having lost my brother just a year previous who must have only been around the same age I couldn’t bear to think of him as feeling alone. I wasn’t thinking that I had the ability to save this person but I thought I need to do something more…I even went to my fridge and thought of making him a ham roll and running back round the corner but I spoke to my husband and he said I had done enough for today and it was getting dark and I too had to eat after a full day at work. I took on board my husbands guidance but the day after I prepared myself to pass him again on the way to get the bus he was there but sleeping and that evening was there again but was speaking with some young people I thought this was lovely and lo and behold I didn’t see him again after this and learnt a week or so after that he had been helped, he had found shelter and work, this filled me with such hope and belief in the kindness of ordinary folk and our ability to reach out to those who have fallen on hard times.

No one is a lost cause we each have a potential to fulfil and we should all feel valued. I hope that I contributed if only a little to that mans feeling of self-worth and gave him some indication that he was thought of. There will always be people who don’t have the time of day for those less fortunate than themselves. We can all want to help others but still make a habit of putting our own needs first. We are only human and we work hard for what we have in life but I have learnt that we can care for others in equal measure. Any of us can fall on hard times and need that person we know or even a stranger to help us in our time of need. I know I am more open-minded now and if I can just help someone at some point feel better about themselves perhaps I will feel a warm feeling inside knowing I have made a difference but only with the hope that the person I have helped feels even warmer and as though they do matter to someone… I am hoping to work hard to achieve more for others than myself, of course I want to achieve a sense of satisfaction and contentment but I don’t want to be self-righteous I want to see others succeed through perseverance and and a desire to not give up or give in!