January…..A month to stay in

So the new year is here, full of new years restrictions, a vaccine and hopefully, with hope….

image – authors own

The tinsel is wrapped and put away

The tree gone to the shredder

The Christmas lights once so bright

Have dimmed now all together

A new year’s day, a new year dawns

And we hope we can progress

It is with caution and foreboding

That I am fearful, I confess

The numbers they are growing

And infecting many lives

Invisible like a thief in the night

It will entice you and beguile

As it lures you in, into its grasp

When it sees you are complacent

The virus travels at quick speed

And does not victimise against us

So January it seems, is the month,

that we must pledge to stay in

To slow the spread of this disease

While letting others win

The people with the cancer

The mental health and needs

So great they need attention

But they just have to yield

And so it’s devastating

Whichever way we go

But stay in, we must in January

Cos they have told us so

And as we crash together

And crumble to our knees

Despairing as to whether

We succumb to our needs

For mankind needs a purpose

To go and do some work

It gives us direction and focus

And helps to prove our worth

So now we must all hibernate

And hope we will come through it

Unscathed and well and feeling whole

And hope we haven’t blown it

Essential workers don’t get to rest

Or hide behind closed doors

Their terror and their worry

Will stay with them some more

In order to protect us

 to treat us, and to cure

They go with trepidation

This virus, they abhor

So we all must do the best we can

To keep this ‘thing’ at bay

And hope we can come together

And have our ‘normal’ back some day

Time

The best thing to learn is everything takes time, it’s a matter of knowing how to use it

images taken at St. Helen’s Bay, Co Wexford

None of us know how long or short our time will be on this planet. Some go way too young and others stay beyond a century. I hope to be in the latter. One thing I do know, is that the planet we live on is a place of wonder and beauty. It is ever changing but continually provides a beautiful landscape. Sometimes it rages and causes havoc. Is it angry or simply shifting its focus? Other times it is calm, serene and magical. In moments of time we are the same as this planet. Like a spectrum we can gravitate from one end of the scale to another, depending on our circumstances, our thoughts, opinions, influences and other environmental factors. It is a continuum, time is not static. It does not stand still, even after we leave, time continues and the sun rises and falls and night follows day. Again and again it goes on, in spite of the storms and in spite of the droughts. So it is, that we must do the same. We must carry on in spite of the chaos, in spite of the hurt, in spite of the disappointments, the successes and the failures. Life throws us curve balls and it is up to us what we do with them. We cannot avoid them totally and they will have an impact, but we can work around them, and continue to move forward.

Time is a precious thing in that it never runs out and we can make choices and decisions, and if we screw up and cause havoc like the storms, we know it can be cleaned up, renewed and a new day will dawn and brighter days will follow.

We are heading into a new year and this year we are dealing with and bringing Corona Virus with us. It will not disappear at midnight. There is no fairy godmother that can banish it away or give it wings to fly itself away. We will still wake up in our lock downs with our restrictions and precautions and for that we will feel sad, disappointed and angry, but we know that it will not last forever. We know and have to believe we will get it under control, it is just a matter of time and we must be patient, vigilant and not complacent.

During this time we may have found lots of things to be positive about, thankful for and appreciative of, and so going into the new year, we must remain positive and hang on to those positive thoughts. Trust that a new day is dawning and in time, we can obliterate this virus and in the meantime count our blessings of what we have and who we have in our lives and lets also enjoy the beauty of our planet and nature.

Self Promotion

Don’t be afraid to keep reinventing yourself, believing in yourself or promoting yourself…. You can be anything you want to be

nature and innovation

I love the look of this tree in the photograph. I know it’s not the best photograph, but in its natural glory the picture still tells a story. It’s the story of how we live and co-exist with the environment. The tree began life as a seed and along the way grew up, grew strong and formed attachments, or attachments were made. Other plant life grew around the tree and the tree branched out in different directions, and balanced itself to keep itself rooted, where it was planted.

You’ll notice a street light to the left of the photo. That is innovation and before the invention of electricity or light bulbs, people relied on candles or tilly lamps or the moon and stars. Whatever they relied on, people kept searching to progress and improve their surroundings and ultimately their lives. We are a very long way from the cave men!

These days we have social media and the internet. This has really allowed us to expand our horizons, connect more and it makes the world seem a much smaller place, in that everything is within our reach at the click of a button.

We have tick tockers, influencers, bloggers, facebookers, instagramers and much much more and these platforms allow us to promote ourselves, our products, our lives, our views, our everything really.

So here I am promoting myself and my new product – Caroline’s Card Creations (found on Facebook) or @taylormadecardcreations on instagram. I think that there is nothing wrong in promoting ourselves, in coming up with new ideas, in trying something new, in taking a first step to trying to improve ourselves, our lives and our connections.

Like the lovely tree in this photo with the ivy creeping up it and its branches, extending, twisting and turning it shows us that it has come along way from the little seed it once once and yet, we know there is still more for this tree. It is not over. It provides for nature around it, for birds nesting, oxygen for us and maybe one day will be used to make something. Its purpose is endless.

Like the tree, we are not one dimentional. We cannot exist on our own. We co-exist with others, with nature and the environment. Some people wish they could do something, but are afraid, afraid to branch out, afraid to take the risk. Afraid of failure or afraid of ridicule. By not brancing out or reaching out, we will stay stuck, wondering, regretting, hoping or despairing of what we ‘wish’ we could have tried, should have tried.

So I say, no matter what it is, whether it’s making a new friend, changing a career, inventing something new, moving from one place to another, or creating something, do it, take the first step and be proud that you tried and go promote yourself and all that you are and can be.

Below is an example of one of my cards….. Go Sorcha!

http://www.etsy.com/ie/shop/irishnamecards

women….

They say it happens slowly, just creeps up on you and you don’t really notice…. ‘they’ were right!

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

I think I might be pregnant, cos I’m showing all the signs

Feeling so exhausting and sleepy all the time

Sometimes I feel like crying and I have no idea why

It makes me feel uncomfortable, of that I can’t deny

My boobs they are a-growing and bursting out my bra

If I stood next to dolly, then we would be on a par

My waist is non-existent and is spreading out the side

My ass is also growing and, well really, it’s quite wide

It used to be so perky and one to feel quite proud

But now it’s changing rapidly, I get stares from the crowd

But I know I can’t be pregnant, unless it is a phantom

No I’m not the virgin Mary, but neither am I dumb

I think it’s hormones going mad, like they did in my youth

But what they’re doing to my body, is really quite uncouth

I cut right back and walked out long and joined the slimming world

But nothing seems to do the trick for this fat bottomed girl

I don’t want to starve myself and I can’t think straight any more

The shock of this reality is that it must be the menopause

At least when you are pregnant, the outcome is really cute

Whoever thought women need this too, is honestly a brute!

So if you over 55 and your body is sprouting like mad

It’s time to get the party started to wash away the sad

Time to now embrace, the new larger squishy side of you

Join hands with all your sisters and pray that we get through

Hot flushes and the mood swings, dry skin and all the rest

Look back oh so fondly on the days when you looked your best

So what can we do with this stranger in the mirror

Just dress her up, and dance in the rain, cos you are still a winner

Go out all flamboyant and add a  little  crazy

Drink back some gin, and say so what? so what if it’s all hazy

Go strut your stuff like you always did and don’t apologise

Inside that body, it’s still you kid, of that I tell no lies !

Hyper or Creative?

In order to be successful, do we need to be static, rigid and keep going in the same direction, or can we deviate, over and over and enjoy the success of it all?

work in progress – authors own….

When I was a girl in school my art teacher told me that I was rubbish at paining. I had no reason to doubt her. I certainly was no picasso! I did like art class though. I’m not sure if it was because there was no real academia involved and it was more like a place to express rather than to ‘retain information’.

I actually really enjoyed school (until I was 15) which I know, is unusual for most. I wasn’t the most academic, I was middle of the road, average, but I enjoyed learning and seeing my friends.

Art and P.E were my favourite subjects. I quite liked English too because of the story telling more then the command and structure of the English language. I was a bit of a day dreamer when it came to other topics, like history, Geography or Maths. I did enough to get by and pass exams, but my interest in them was minimal.

There was a certain freedom in sports, art and English. A freedom to explore and do. It was practical, and allowed me to construct things in my own way. Everything we do, I guess, is down to effort, but also motivation.

Fast forward 40 0dd years and I find I still like to express myself or lose myself through art and writing. The only Physical exercise I do now is walking, but I love to do that, especially down at my local beach.

When I paint, I can get lost for hours just trying out new things. My art teacher would probably still tell me I am rubbish, but it is all subjective really. I am still no picasso, but I bet I get about as much enjoyment out of it as he did.

When we start out in our working lives, we are supposed to have a career in mind of what we would like to do/be. I certainly have had many jobs since leaving school. From bar maid to office worker. From paralegal to Beauty therapist and from volunteer to Social Care Worker. I changed ‘career’ many times.

The success of it all for me, was more about the getting there, rather than staying there. My personality is that I get bored easily. I have always enjoyed learning and I have always enjoyed ‘doing’. It is the ‘staying’ that I find hard to do.

The only thing I have ever stayed at long term is being a parent. It’s the hardest job in the world, but I have been a mother to 16 children over the last 32 years (not all of them were my biological children – I am also a foster carer)!

I am a flitter. I flit from this to that and I like it. I think it makes life interesting. So for the last couple of years I started to paint. I have done a few things that I even surprised myself, in that they were actually quite good. Good enough to hang on walls.

I have now moved onto painting furniture too and I am loving it, out in my workshop I paint. As I wait for a layer of paint to dry on a piece of furniture, I take a canvas and I paint a layer of paint of that and see what transpires. I flit between the two until I am happy that they are ‘ready’.

My friend jokes and tells me I am hyper. She is a mental health professional….. I laugh and tell her I am creative. It makes me wonder though, about how we view people. There are the great artists in the world, but can they keep house, boil an egg and hands on raise a family….. In order for them to be so brilliant it takes time and talent. Just look at Michelangelo, sculpter, painter, poet and architect. He had to dedicate all his time and efforts into those crafts to be so magnificent. He certainly was a genius with a talent.

The joe bloggs such as me, has neither the genius nor the talent or even the dedication to pursue a ‘career’ as an artist, but I do have the motivation to be creative in my own little way for as long as the joy of it allows, before the boredom sets in. I, nor God only knows how long it will last.

I also have another new creation which I am embarking on. I have married my photographs with names (Irish/gaelic) and made beautiful cards. You can find them at @taylormadecardcreations. I will post an example below.

Again, this is me being creative and going off in another direction. Am I hyper? I don’t think so, I think I am just not static. When I have ideas, I like to try them out. Whether they are good, bad or indifferent. Whether they are objective or subjective, the point is, I give it a go and while I am enjoying the journey of it, I keep going.

I say, it is OK to take a career and do it all of your life, if you enjoy it and it fulfills and satisfies your needs. I also say it is OK to deviate, move away, branch out, try something new, so long as you enjoy it and it satisfies and fulfills your needs….. and is legal!

I have met so many creative people who didn’t think they were creative or good enough. I am at the top of the queue, but then I realised, it is not about being good enough for other people to enjoy your work, it is about being good enough for you to enjoy your work first and if others like it, then that is a bonus.

So whether you are hyper or creative….. keep going and keep ‘doing’.

Pretty things….

volunteering in a charity shop feeds my addiction, but on the cheap. I’m a shopaholic….. apparently!

birds of a feather, flock together……

Photo – authors own…

Apparently I have an addiction. It is not really harming anyone. I don’t get violent or abusive. I don’t fall about the place, forget my name or sell my soul to the devil. I haven’t wanted to feed my addiction that badly……..yet!

I am a shopaholic, there, I have said it out loud. Well, I have merely repeated what my husband has said I am. Thankfully, he supports me in this addiction of mine, and often times, he joins me.

If anything, I am helping instead of harming. It all started with the little things, but predominantly, the pretty things.

I am a volunteer in my local Oxfam in Wexford town and proud of that. I have been there over 5 years now, sorting out the books and what a great book selection we have there – just saying, if you fancy popping in and picking up your next read!

At first, it started with the books, some for me, some for my children and others for my grandchildren. Fiction, non fiction, autobiographies, you name it i’ve bought it. Lots of them look great on my book cases. Lots of them I have not read yet, but will, one day, I promise.

At the end of my shift I then browse in the shop, or when I am taking photo’s for our instagram page (check it out @oxfamwexford). It is then that my addiction really kicks in and I can buy anything from a hair brooch, to a high end hand bag. Pottery to a pretty painting or a special vase to a sleek sari. You name it, if its pretty, I will most likely buy it. I am one of our best customers and no, I don’t get nor want a discount. It is for charity, after all!

It is not just in Oxfam that my addiction takes place, it is any shop at all. If I see something pretty I will get a ‘figary’ and buy it, whether I need it or not. I tell myself, it will look nice there, or I can use it for this or I can give it to so and so for a gift or I can paint this and use it as that.

I do it all, I buy it, use it, put it in a cupboard, give it away, upcycle it, sell it, replace it, donate it and so the cycle continues.

Everything in life is not black and white and thank god, but those colours are cetainly not ‘pretty’. They have their uses, of course they do, like a blackboard and a whiteboard are very useful, but they don’t have the word (board/bored) in there for no reason! I am not opposed to them at all, but sometimes a splash of colour, a shimmery sparkle, a sleek and soft texture, a hand painted or hand crafted piece of art, pottery or otherwise, is just something lovely to look at, admire or use. It can lift your spirits the same as a lovely colourful bouquet of flowers, freshly cut or shop bought, it doesn’t matter.

The point is, if something lifts your spirits, and no one comes to any harm in the process and in fact you are also helping a cause, can that really be a bad thing? I don’t think so.

The only time it becomes a bad thing is when I run out of places to store my stash because my other problem is hoarding stuff, not being able to let go easily, and I know I am not alone in this one. Most of my friends and family are the same. So in that case, isn’t hoarding like an addiction too?

Why do we get so emotionally attached to things? Its a strange cycle because we think, oh I can’t give that away, or, so and so gave it to me, or I wore it on our first date or it was a gift (but I hate it) so I must keep it. Like it is some sort of security blanket. Yet when we let go and give it away, clear it out, donate it, declutter, we feel better, not worse. I have some clothes in my wardrobe that are over 30 years old. I have college books and papers that are over 20 years old too, why do I keep them!

I am starting to get a little better at being ruthless and getting rid of, giving away or donating things and I always feel great when I do. But watch this space, because it won’t be empty for long, before I fill it up again.

Back to work tomorrow…. Oxfam, brace yourself!

Broken…

Sometimes, especially in youth, things seem so big that they are insurmountable, but then you often realise that it is the little things that really matter and that anything can be achieved. Every day is a new day to start again, regardless of the big or the little thing. As we age and mature, what was the ‘big thing’ will often pale into insignificance and what was the ‘little thing’ is often the most important thing. Its called perspective.

Photo by sergio souza on Pexels.com

Surrounded by her family, yet feeling so alone

all is safe and peaceful, in this happy family home

but as she sat at the table, concealing how she feels

the hurt and desperation are really very real

she doesn’t want to burden them, or tell them they were right

instead she’ll keep it with her and end it all tonight

she wants to say she loves them, but her throat begins to close

the words are trapped and stuck there, of the secret no one knows

growing up is difficult, but then to be betrayed

of the love in a relationship, how could she possibly stay?

for when the drink was taken, a monster he became

no one could control him, or even make him tame

so as much as he said he loved her, his fists said otherwise

no more could she bare the agony of the beatings or the lies

not yet even twenty, yet she felt life had no meaning

ashamed of what she’d put up with, had left her true self reeling

so as she went to bed that night, she studied all the pills

they only way to stop the pain – it had been a a battle of the wills

she thought about her family, and she began to cry

deep down inside, within her heart, she didn’t want to die

she knew no other way to stop the hurt and pain

and so she took all the pills and on her bed she lay

sometimes without explanation, an intervention occurs

for when she woke the next morning a ‘voice’ had spoke to her

it’s not your time to go now, don’t be so alarmed

the tablets that you’ve taken, have left you quite unharmed

go and live your life, you are stronger than you think

and then the voice disappeared as quick as she could blink

she felt a little groggy, astounded and so shocked

but soon she felt the strength enough, but her secret would stay locked

she swore she would do something, and make her life worthwhile

no more being trod upon and soon she would smile

now when she looks back on that time, oh so long ago

she’s thankful for that ‘intervention’, that helped to make her grow

and realised that a mind so young, can be easily disturbed

and loose sight of what can be achieved, if we share and we observe

so when around the table, at family dinner time

be sure to check with your young ones, that they are doing fine

and if they appear distant or even a little aloof

sometimes that is just enough to offer you some proof

that maybe all is not so well, so tread kindly and be open

let them know you’re there for them, and would help if they feel broken

it may must be the start, that they feel that they can tell

when all that’s going on in their life, is really not going so well.

The Lock down lowdown

What the lock down means to me…

At first I was quite looking forward to the lock down. For me, personally, it mean just having to stay home and, well, potter. My other half is looking forward to retirement so that we can just go about our days, as we please and just potter. He is still working, so lock down for him is different than my lock down, but we do enjoy our walks on his days off and potter in the garden!

Getting a new sky box and Netflix coincided with lock down and boy, am I glad about that! For the first two weeks of lock down, I feel the most productive I was each day, was to actually get washed and dressed, albeit in very comfy lounge wear. I basically sat and watched t.v soooo much that the hours just flew by and before I knew it, it was time to make the dinner! I very, very, very rarely ever watched t.v during the day, so this was a new venture for me and I must admit, I quite liked it and soon became accustomed to it. I ‘blame’ Netflix or should I say I ‘thank’ Netflix, because not only does it produce great series, it was also a great distraction from what was going on.

I admit that I over indulged on sky news too in the beginning, so much so that all I was talking about or thinking about was Covid- 19, risks, social distancing, cocooning, deaths, front line workers, PPE, contagion, hand washing and staying isolated. Of course I was worried, nervous and fearful that any of my loved ones may contract the virus and though I missed them, I was glad they were safe in their homes with their children and that my parents were safely cocooning in their home.

I missed them of course and the children but so long as I knew they were safe I began to settle and watch less sky news and more Netflix. Distracting the mind is very liberating and a new focus gives a new perspective. I consider myself blessed to be able to sit in the comfort of my home, have a garden to enjoy and be able to stay in contact with family with technology, like face time and also window visits.

With all this time on my hands, I thought I would get through the contents of my book cases in my reading room and read all my unread books, but in fact I have only read a few. I love to have my books around me, even the unread ones, especially the unread ones, because it leaves something still to be discovered. My reading room is my quiet space, to sit and relax to read and to write, to be quiet, by myself and to just ‘be’.

I finally decided enough day time t.v and tackled an outbuilding, once used as my business of a beauty salon and once used as a little pre school, ran by my daughter, which then got relegated to be a dumping ground for all things bright and beautiful…..not!

So the decluttering began, the stuff for charity to one side, the stuff to give away to another side and the stuff to throw out, in the skip. It is very cathartic to have a good clear out. Because of social distancing I left the free stuff at the front of my drive, for people nearby, to take for free, if they so wished. I am happy to say the stuff was taken and is now someone else’s pleasure. The stuff for charity is still awaiting the shops to open, but is neatly stored. Now my outbuilding has finally become my studio, to paint, to upcycle, to sew, to use the treadmill, to potter.

I may sound greedy having a reading room and now a studio too, but what this lock down has really highlighted for me is that we need time for ourselves, to be able to get lost in a project or hobby or just to ‘be’. To discover and shift our focus. To be content with what we have and to see a potential of what we can achieve .

I read about people tik toking, baking, cooking, sewing, all kinds of creative ideas have come from those in lock down. Two of my own children at home with their children, instead of rushing out the door to work or chasing their tail with all the chores and errands that need to be done, it has given them quality time together, which is priceless. Another daughter working on the front line with the NHS and happy to do so, to do her part in these very strange times, and without grumbling, she is a treasure.

So I am still enjoying the lock down and embrace it for the good of myself, my sanity and freedom to express, for my family and of course, the front line workers who do not enjoy the same sense of freedom that I have at the moment. I applaud their hard work, tenacity and their sacrifice, so the least the rest of us can do is embrace the lock down and find a way to shift the focus.

love hearts in the road… always a good sign

You worry too much ….

Even as they grow, the worrying never stops

Photo by Florian Doppler on Pexels.com

You worry too much; she says with a laugh…..

It’s not funny to me

But 17 years old, her head full of ideas

No clue of the reality that drives my fears

You worry too much, rings in my ear……

It’s a mother’s job

Get them ready to flee the nest

Prepare them well to do their best

You worry too much; I know what I’m doing……

I’m happy and sad

I want her to soar and not be hurt

Be treated well and not like dirt

You worry too much; it will be O.K……

Too trusting she is

Easily led by so called friends

Who’ll take from her and not make amends

You worry too much; she says with a sigh…….

I know her weakness

Beats herself up at the hint of criticism

Facing into a world full of scepticism

You worry too much I say to her….

Some things don’t matter

It’s the beauty within that shines so bright

Imperfections outside don’t dim the light

You worry too much what people think….

Be true to yourself

Show kindness to others but also to you

Sort the wheat from the chaff and know who is who

You worry too much of material things

They don’t matter

Honesty and truth, integrity and grit

Keep them with you always in your precious tool kit

We worry too much because we care

It’s a battle

It comes from within, deep in the gut

It comes from the heart which is full of love

When…

all we are certain of is now….

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When the buds unravel and unfurl in their splendour

it’s time

when a heart skips a beat and you get lost in loves wonder

it’s time

when a mother first sees you and holds you in her arms

it’s time

when a loved one takes their last earthly mortal breath

it’s time

when the moon and stars shines light in the darkness

it’s time

when the sun’s warm embrace soothes and rests on your face

it’s time

when sadness, hurt and despair are choking and squeezing you

it’s time

and when faith and hope and love collide, and give reason and understanding, it gives power in the now, this hour, this second, this moment in time

it’s time to embrace and endure to look and to listen, to feel and to heal, respect and accept

it’s time