Full Bodied

Sometimes I still pinch myself that I made it through motherhood with everyone pretty much unscathed. I have raised my own and other people’s children, being a mother and foster mother and at times, it was the hardest job EVER, but the most rewarding, so now, it’s ‘me’ time and I am loving it!

moi… authors own
et moi…. lolling around…living it up large!

Today I’m having a fat day, a lazy day

A day where I can loll around

In my dressing gown

I love having a fat day

It is full bodied, full of self- love and indulgence

It starts with a lay in bed, reading

Eating breakfast and not minding if the crumbs fall onto the sheets

After a while I nod off for another snooze

I awake again, put on my dressing gown and head downstairs

I have a cuppa and maybe a biscuit or two

And wrap my hands around the warmth of the cup and my dressing gown

Tightly around me

I read some more of my book, curled up on the sofa and put the fire on

Cosy in my living room, soaking up the fullness of just ‘being’…

Later I will turn on the TV and flick through the channels until something

Grabs my attention.  I may watch it for an hour or two or for the rest

Of the day until it is time, to go to bed again

In between, I will head into the kitchen and eat and nibble and pick at

Whatever I choose to eat, whatever, takes my fancy

And I won’t feel one bit guilty

Why?

I won’t feel guilty because I have spent my days, working, fetching and carrying

Raising children, keeping house, putting other people first, putting myself to the back of the queue

Except for the occasional treat.

Mums, all over the world are on the marathon of motherhood and it is exhausting, exhilarating, heartfelt and heart breaking.  We fight, we fix, we do.  We just do.  We get on with it and we get lost in it.  The girl you were, that carefree girl, before motherhood, she is gone.  She is hiding in the body of the mad woman working from morning ‘til night, full of sleep deprivation, spinning plates and trying to please EVERYONE and in the process there is no time or very very little time, for her to please herself.

So now, now that my nest is empty, 33 years later, of getting lost in motherhood, I can, without guilt or remorse, please myself and have a great big fat day to myself and enjoy it wrapped up in the warmth of my dressing gown, and in the knowledge, that the job I did of being mother, was a success.  My Children are a success, they are wonderful human beings getting on in the world on their own journeys, full of their own adventures, and I couldn’t be happier for them….. or me!

Signs

Sometimes we have just got to trust in the signs and take them for what they are…. believe in the magic……

So many signs in our daily lives, we can either ignore them , act on them or have faith in them….

It’s a matter of choice or a matter of chance….

Photo by David Atkins on Pexels.com

They say that the Robin, little red breasted bird is a symbol of good luck, happiness and rebirth. They also say it’s a sign that a loved one is near and so it can bring lots of comfort to those grieving.

The same can be said for feathers. They are a sign that the angels are near, looking out for you and that loved ones, who have passed over are near.

We get comfort from these sightings and read them how we will and they may instill a level of calm within us and though we will forever miss our loved ones, it brings pleasure to think about them being so close.

I know I feel comfort and calm seeing such things and I openly talk to my friend who passed, too young and too soon from this mortal life. I chat to her as if she is there.

Today is quite a significant day, being her 6 month anniversary. My husband and I went for a nice lovely stroll nearby where we live and walked down to the lake. Just before we got there a feather appeared, floating down from the sky and fell at my feet.

As soon as I saw it, I said to my husband,’here she is, letting me know she is here, coming on the walk with us’.

We used to have such a laugh. We had known each other since our school days and were a pair of gigglers.

As we continued on the walk we went right down to the edge of the lake and my husband decided to skim stones on it as it was so still and perfect for skimming stones. The ripple affect was just lovely.

ripple effect – authors own image
Calm still waters – Authors own image

As I was busy taking photos, and openly talking to my friend saying how beautiful it was here, down at the edge of the lake, I heard a yelp! I looked back and as if in slow motion I saw my poor husband slip on a rock and go down, into the water.

He was literally in the water for about 2 seconds, a quick dunk, as it were before getting himself out.

I just stood there in disbelief and as he quickly scrambled out of the water and walked towards me, and I knew that he was OK, I burst out laughing. It was actually hilarious. I laughed so much I almost wet myself, and as if by magic, the mood was a whole lot lighter.

My husband also laughed, pleased that no real damage was done, and as we walked (he squelshed) back towards home we both agreed that it was probably Jackie, giving him a little nudge in, as she would find it so funny and she knows how much I would laugh too.

I took it as a real sign that indeed, she was there, by my side letting me know that she was there and that she was OK.

Emerging from the lake….

Thank you my dear, for the sign, the company and the laugh…. He is truly fine…

Women March

Remember the fight our ancestors fought for their rights, as women, for us so we could continue the good fight. To all the women today, be strong…

Photo by Efrem Efre on Pexels.com

Women March….

Lay down the night to rest

Upon the morning sun

Kiss thy wounded soldier

With sword and battle done

Run the river of trout up stream

And swim against the tide

Let mans endeavour for justice

Stand tall with sense of pride

Shed no more tears for hatred

Nor feel so ill disposed

The rising mist will lift to clear

A new landscape will be composed

And women march and battle on

Some broken on their knees

But still they fight like gentle giants

Their resolve won’t be appeased

They find, they fix, they nurture life

And pass it down the line

They sacrifice whatever it takes

They seek and they will find

And man may take our freedom

And even take our land

But what he fails to notice

Is what he doesn’t understand

That through the human spirit

The threads from another time

No matter what the terror

He can never take our minds.

And up we rise again and again

Our spirit never falters

It makes us strong, to carry on

Paused but never halted

The women through the ages

Have fought through hurt and pain

Now we rise and stand up

for the women of Ukraine

All women the world over

We have a special task

To raise our sons and daughters

To seek peace, and love that lasts

To banish control and hatred

Derived from power and greed

And so we continue to nurture

And plant that mighty seed….

The minutes…

The Minutes…….

And as times slips by

And they don’t see me cry

They think all is well inside

But the thing is with loss

You pay a high cost

You just bury it deep down to hide

When they’re far removed

From the love that you knew

They don’t understand, they abide

So the tears now are silent

And hidden from view

But all the minutes of the days

Are still full of you.

Enthusiastic January…

New Years resolutions….. full of hope for a new and better year…..

reflections…. authors own photo

January, a time of hope, promises and resolutions, whether we say it out loud or quietly to ourselves….. a new year is always a source of contemplation. Before the year ends, we make promises that ‘in the new year’ we will do this, or that, give up this or that, be more healthy, change jobs, give more time to loved ones, give more time to ourselves, take up a new hobby, leave something or someone behind.

We go into the Christmas period with a measure of excitement and a measure of dread, for many and varying different reasons, and some can’t wait for it to be over, so that the ‘new year’ can begin and we can begin, afresh, renewed, awakened.

We look back and reflect and ask, what is it I want to do, to be, to have, to start to end, to give up etc etc. Some years may be the same thing as the previous year and we began with gusto, enthusiasm and motivation, only to dwindle, falter and be left with a sense of failure and nothing more than procrastination in that, next year, it will be different…..

Still, we look forward and we try. Does it matter that we may not complete and accomplish it, whatever ‘it’ may be? Isn’t it the ‘giving it a go’ that matters. Even if that ‘giving it a go’ is to just put one foot in front of the other and make our way downstairs and face another day.

For some people the previous year could have been so challenging, so devastating, so traumatic, that to just do that, go downstairs and flick on the kettle is the biggest achievement that they can muster, and isn’t that great! They did it, they made it, they didn’t give up.

When we pass people by in the street, in the shops, in our places of work, looking ‘put together’ and getting on with life, we assume that all is good, all is well with them. Of course they are all putting their best side out. We are all putting our best side out and for some, it is a real struggle.

So this January, no matter what your path, lets all be enthusiastic, that we made it. We can reflect, we can look forward, but lets not forget to be present, and to acknowledge our own unique achievements, no matter how big or small……

The Power and Powerless

When the powerless is better than the powerful. When time stands still, perspective is key……

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

There is havoc, chaos and even tragedy in the storm, when the winds are so strong they have the power to knock tress down and knock power lines out too.

Last week storm Barra visited us and we had just moved in to our new home and we brought our grandson up with us for a few days.

This new house has not yet had the gas fire connected or the new gas hob so we were only left with the oil central heating for heat and the electric hob…… both of which do not work in a power outage.

So here we were in the midst of a powerful storm with no heat, no way to cook, no phone or wifi. ‘At least we have a roof over our head’ I said ‘and blankets, food and candles.

We lit so many candles that it created a nice bit of heat and we even tried to boil water to make tea from the candles. We succeeded but it did take nearly 3 hours!

The next day out we went to buy a camping stove and some battery operated lights. We stopped at the charity shop and bought some books for our grandson. One of which was a a book of Christmas Carrolls.

That night, for our entertainment we played the game, eye spy, followed by singing a few Christmas Carols and a game of ‘go fish’.

Had the power not gone, this would have been a missed opportunity. Like most people in today’s modern world, evenings are often spent in front of the TV. Our grandson loves the TV (just like his grandad!) and they both love to watch movies.

I am not saying there is anything wrong with that, it is good to spend time together, whether watching a movie at home or going to the cinema, but I just felt thankful that the power did go and that it wasn’t another night spent watching TV.

My grandson, really enjoyed the games and the singing, as did we. We all had a good laugh playing and guessing the eye spy so much that we didn’t even notice that there was no heating or all the other power filled luxuries that we are accustomed to.

To be powerless, as in having a power cut, can be beautiful. The stars in the sky shone brighter and the moon reflected in the windows and the chatter and laughter in the house was louder. It makes us more connected, more focused and more appreciative of the little things that matter more than all the other stuff. The lack of electricity brought us back, for a while, to a time when, that is how the world worked.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t like to be without power like in the ‘olden days’ all the time, but for just a while, it is not ‘just an inconvenience’, it can be beautiful, absolutely powerful to be power-less.

heating the water with candles….. authors own..
singing around the candlelight….. authors own….

What now?

There are no guarantees of being a success, of finding ‘the one’ of being fulfilled. No guarantees of reaching your goals, living to a ripe old age or attaining your dreams.

What is it then, within us to continually seek to try, to find, to hope and to keep going, even in the face of adversity. Is it all our intrinsic resources that push us on, or are there extrinsic factors at force?

It must be both but, even with the best will in the world, sometimes, it seems like a hard battle to fight or difficult mountain to climb, and then we feel defeated.

Then, sometimes out of nowhere it seems, that all is not lost, there is another way to climb the mountain, once rested, and not all battles need to be won in order to succeed and feel a sense of hope again.

Adapt, be absent and acceptance are the three ‘A’ s that will help pull you through the rough times. Accept that there is a difficulty, stay absent, for a while, from the usual routine or the usual people around you, and soon you will find a way to adapt to the changes that you must face.

There is no guarantee that things will always stay the same. There will be ups and downs. There will be losses and gains there will be love and pain but all will not be lost and something of value will be taught.

I lost a very dear friend recently. My heart was broken, for her, her family and for me. She is a huge loss and leaves a massive void.

We won’t grow to be old ladies together. I had never even contemplated that…. She died too young, but she had a good life and she enjoyed her life to the full. She lived with love and shared her love amongst her family and friends.

So in this sorrow, in this grief and hurt and pain there has to be acceptance and life must adapt without her physical presence. Making ourselves absent, giving ourselves time and self love, to come to terms with the loss and remember the good times is crucial in the process.

There is no time limit, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. For me, I believe she is present, all around us. I talk to her, pray for her, look out for signs of her. I keep her alive in my heart, even though I miss her and the rest of the life, she should have had. Yet I’m grateful for the time we did have….

So what now? One step at a time. One day at a time, we move forward. It’s all we can do. We live, we love, we hope, we pray, we dream. We must stay humble and grateful for the time and love we shared and for all our loved ones lost to us, live on with them in our hearts…. Until we meet again…..

Authors own

The tomorrows

Though the tides will ebb and flow and the night will turn to day
The steps that go one, in front of the other
Will always carry you, along the way…..
Hearts filled with love and sorrow
Will carry over, all the tomorrows that you do not have
But live on through those left behind who will tell stories of their encounters, and we will smile, as we recall, with such joy, the love and laughter that we once shared and so, you will live on another day, and more, until we gather together again, and dance and laugh and hold you tight, in our arms…..

Authors own.. Coombe Abbey, tranquil walk

Dinner for two

I took you to dinner that night
We sat by the window
A view of the river Lee flowing past
A beautiful orchid and candle
Central on the table
I layed my napkin, carefully, thoughtfully, on my lap
I hung my head a few seconds longer
Composing myself
Before looking at the chair opposite me
Smiling, imagining you sitting there
Knowing
That sometime after dinner
We would have our very last factime
It would soon be time for you to go
You were being called home
To your eternal rest
I had to prepare myself
To face the reality
That this was it
And so, I took you to dinner
And I stared at that chair
Smiling at you, as though you were there

Toasted you, our friendship
And told you I loved you forever
I thanked you for being my friend
I told you I was blessed to have met you

45 years wasn’t long enough
I explained I would forever keep you with me
I raised a glass to you
I told you I was sad that you had to go
But I understood it was time
Acknowledged that you were tired
And ready to go
Told you how much you would be missed by us all
But you already knew that
You knew how special you were to us
I didn’t want dinner to end
I didn’t want any of it
I wanted you here
To be in that chair for real
Laughing and chatting
And being healthy and well
I wanted that, more than anything
And I know
You did too…..

Downsizing….. What it means

Sometimes we just have to let go, feel the fear and do it anyway. When we let go it is exciting, exhilarating and liberating

Photo by Ono Kosuki on Pexels.com

It’s nearly completion date and that can only mean one thing….. time to start packing and sorting and selling off/giving away what I no longer need, the ‘stuff’ that is surplus to requirements.

We all have it,’stuff’ even if we don’t mean to have it, but the ‘stuff’ piles up, in our homes, our cars, our bags, everywhere.

We accumulate over the years. We change our cars, our furniture, our decor and style, and our homes.

Now I am changing my home, yet again, but this time, for a smaller home. I have lived in small before.

When I first left home at age 16, I lived in a bedsit, tiny room, shared bathroom and shared kitchen. I owned very little, as it was furnished. I owned easily removable things, like my record player and records. Some pictures and a few ornaments.

Over the years my properties have got bigger and bigger and so has the amount of stuff and furniture. This one is the biggest, the one that I am about to leave. This one I designed, on a piece of paper, handed it to an architect and then proceeded to build it. From start to finish, it was my project, my taste, my style, my design.

It has housed my husband and I and our children for 23 years. We have fostered 13 children and have 4 grand children who have all walked the floors of this house, slammed the doors, laughed and cried within the walls and played out in the garden.

The decor has been changed numerous times. The rooms have been re organised many times and we have ran a couple of businesses from it over the years.

We have accumulated a lot of stuff in the process and now I have to undo the doing, because now, we are going smaller again, but big enough to still be a down size….

Will I miss my house? yes of course. Do I feel emotional about it? certainly, but the time is right for our next adventure.

The only thing is, most of my stuff is too big for the new house, or the wrong style. I have a very eclectic taste and I have some wonderful pieces of furniture, from Edwardian to Victorian to very modern.

When we decorate rooms we always feel better about them and are pleased with the changes we made, but eventually, we tire of it, well, I do anyway, and so we change it again.

We do the same with cars and clothes and they seem much easier to shed and to move on without any major emotional distress, right?

That is what I keep telling myself now, about shedding this house, and all we have done here, with all the aforementioned people that were here with us.

I keep telling myself, ‘it is just stuff, you take the memories with you’. But I do feel a little bit attached to some of the stuff too.

Then I think, but someone else can get the pleasure out of that beautiful piece of furniture and I can get excited about sourcing a new piece for my new house. I get a buzz from finding ‘nice things’. A new project, a new beginning, a new style, a new neighbourhood. Exciting, daunting, liberating, all at the same time.

The sorting and packing and picking and choosing, now that is the real dilemma, but it has to be done and so today I made a start.

I cannot tell you how many times I changed my mind about things, but then said, just let it go, like Anna, in Frozen, time to let go.

My pictures, my paintings, my bits and bobs, they can be easily packed. My books, now that is a different matter, I would nearly need a small van for those alone, I cannot let go of them quite so easy….

The procrastination has come to an end and the ‘sorting’ has begun. It is with mixed feelings, but ultimately, happy and excited ones about the change that we are heading into as we progress to our downsizing.

Were going from 6 beds to 4 beds from 3000 square feet to 1600 square feet and from an acre garden to a quarter acre and can finally get rid of the ride on lawn mower and cut down on the mowing!

I look forward to a smaller house to clean, to paint, to decorate, to garden in and to have new walks, new views, new people to meet, new places to discover, a new place to make and call home, for our family to come and visit and enjoy with us.

So it’s full steam ahead and on the home stretch now, into completing the transaction for our new home! Watch this space……….