Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Time, Babies and Mothers

I just put my beautiful little angel down for his nap. This normally lasts long enough to get the dishes washed and check emails and not much of anything else. Normally as soon as i do anything else up pops his little head from his nap. Today however he has done something he does every few weeks, sleep for hours. Now you might say this is brilliant you have some time but and it's a big BUT I am on edge waiting for him to wake up. I have spent the last two hours doing odd tasks because I am afraid that if I start anything my little angel will awake and the task will never get finished. I have finally taken the challenge after two hours and decided that really this is wasting my time waiting for my little angel and I must do something. Today that task is to write a blog.

The most precious commodity you have as a mother is time. You cannot underestimate the value of time as a mother. First you want time to sleep. Then you want to time to do your hair. Then you need time to tidy up all the dirty nappies that you realise are causing that smell despite the little baggies you have been diligently using. Time you don't realise is very important, before baby running out of time in the day meant not doing the millionth thing on your list. Post baby you are struggling to find time to pluck your eye brows and really who shaves their legs anyway.

I have learnt every single day to value the time I have and to celebrate each achievement I make no matter how small. You might be thinking typical Pastor Purple any excuse to have a party. But do you know what? I think it is better to celebrate than to be depressed over the things you are not doing. Before my little angel I was an organised slight neat freak. In the first few months we moved what felt like a million times and suddenly my organisation was all I had to hold onto. I wasn't doing it well but it was getting done. Those small things like moving him up a size in clothes from 0-3 to 3-6 and actually putting the stuff that's to small away warranted a major celebration.

For each mother the gift of time will manifest itself differently. For some mothers it's a good night sleep, for others it is getting a pedicure and for some it's the opportunity to read a book. Whatever it is for a mother you know, try and help out it might just stop them going loop de loop.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Crazy Women

I had packed up for the nit and said non more blogging for me I will watch a silly romcom and go to bed. Unfortunately the movie I decided to watch was Knocked Up. I know I am not supposed to take films seriously but oh my days the female characters in this are little of the wall ok a lot crazy. Then I remembered this is not the first time I have seen women portrayed as crazy on film. Earlier this week I watched Why Did I Get Married 2 and let me tell you good female leads there was not.

As I sit here writing this blog I guess I am frustrated that so called strong female leads are not actually strong but crazy. It's subtle and we are supposed to side with the women after all the men are just bad or losers but truth is none of these women make any sense to me.

Here is another question why is having emotions a bad thing. I am sick of watching these films where women express their emotions badly and you hear men say ah emotions like you are talking about pure evil. You know emotions are not the problem it is the use of them that can be just like money isn't evil the love of it is. Frustration is an emotion and right now I am. Frustrated someone recommend a film where there are emotions from a woman and it's not condescending.

I don't think thankfully God holds this opinion of women and emotions therefore I feel safe in the knowledge of Gods love. But I do wish that the world would be better at dealing with women we are really not all stereotypes!

Life as we Know it

I have just seen the advert for the film Life As We Know It. It is released this year and I have no idea whether it will be a good movie or not. However the advert cracked me up. In it the mother character is upstairs in the bathroom while the father character is downstairs with the baby. Excitedly the dad screams upstairs the baby is walking and the mother flying downstairs in her towel says stall it. The dad not knowing what to do gives the baby a little shove he falls on his bum and starts crying just as the mother arrives and he has to explain his actions. It really is a great little moment.

Parenting comes with no rules and a lot of things you will want to be there for. This is not always possible. There can be nothing worse than getting a phone call from someone looking after your little angel and guess what, they passed another milestone without you. While this territory used to be the domain of fathers with the world the way it is many mothers are experiencing this for the first time. Is it easy to miss a milestone, no way, but does it happen, yes.

Here's the thing children are great and each time you see them learn something it can be magical. So while I don't expect you to be shoving the baby over so you can see the first step we all understand the pressure of just wanting to see them walk for the first time. Thank God for mobile phones with video cameras in them woo hoo. So I think I might go and watch the film because Lord knows as a first time mother I need to see someone else stumbling through it too.

Scrapbook Sabbath

I love scarp booking or having memory boxes or photo albums. So I have a chalking for this week. This challenge can be done with friends or family or even neighbours.

The idea
Create a group/family scrapbook memory of the week

How it works
For a week everyone should keep a photo diary and collect items from their week. At the end of the week someone should get the pictures developed and source a book for everything to go in. Then on sabbath everyone should get an opportunity to share their week and add things to the book.
To make the book as pretty as you like there are varying stickers and craft items you can gather together to help decorate the book pages. In addition you can collect bible verses from the weeks devotion and add them to pages.

This activity can be as creative as you make it. If you think well I am not arty then put together a photo album. This is an opportunity to see the week from someone else's perspective.

If you have children this can be a real insight into their world. This is an opportunity to connect with them on their level and not just impose your world view on them it might surprise you the way they see the world.


The survivors guide to being homeless: part 5

Have you ever done that thing just as you were getting into bed at night where you had this awful feeling that something was left open. Then you ran around quickly checking everything only to realise you checked it already the house is locked up like fort knocks. Well when you are homeless it is a new experience.

At first you are completely paranoid about safety because after all you don't know anyone and there is only a flimsy door that separates you and the whole house. Then you don't want to offend anyone by making a song and dance about locking up because you don't want them to feel no trusted. Finally you just conclude that you gotta do what you gotta do.

My husband and I probably differ on this quite a lot but as a woman I feel my safety is always a consideration. Not only do inbox want my stuff stolen because believe it or not I actually like the stuff I have. But I also don't want anything to happen to me so taking risks with my safety just doesn't seem sensible. So when I am staying alone in the bedsit I lock myself in the room oh yes I do. There I said it I am proud to say that despite the whole argument about fire safety I am more afraid of waking up and finding a stranger in the room so in lock the door with the keys behind me when I go to sleep at night.

Now this is how bad it is and I will admit it's bad especially as I watch every crime show known to mankind. The secrets out I am obsessed with all the CSI and Criminal Minds and Jessica Fletcher's I can get. But watching this stuff unfortunately makes me a little paranoid. So last night I went to bed with my usual routine of locking the door. Then proceeded to imaging how someone could knock the keys out of the lock and suck them under the door to get in. I know it's crazy but I am sure it was in an episode of CSI or something. I then remembered that was crazy thoughts and promptly went to sleep. I am obviously just fine so there was nothing to worry about at all.

The morale of this story, safety is important but don't go so far that you cannot sleep.

Quiet there are other people

The survivors guide to being homeless: part 4

Is there anything fun about living in a bedsit? Probably all the fun you have trying to be quiet because your neighbours hear every breathe you take. If you have been out seeing a friend the most fun is trying to get you, the buggy, the baby and the bags in the house up the stairs round the corner and into your room without disturbing everyone else. Many a silent giggling fit has been started by me almost tripping up the stairs on the fourth trip as I tried to silently put down a buggy.

Living in close proximity to others can be difficult. This is not like flat sharing when you are at uni. Mainly because generally you opted to live in a flat share with people from the uni. You kith not know them yet but you will meet them and for better or worse enjoy their company. A bedsit is totally different. There you are living in the smallest room in the free world with all your earthly possessions and then you realise that your neighbours who you don't know just said bless you cause they heard you sneeze. 

So silence and quiet become a commodity to be bargained with day and night. Everyone I happen to live with are very young and me well I may as well be ancient. Don't you find that you feel young right up until you spend too much time with a teenager well that's how I live. The one lesson living like this has taught me is that do unto others can be the most challenging words. My husband always reminds me that even though they are not doing it we would like them to so we must set the example. You have no idea how difficult this is. Most days I just want to stand and scream but then I remember it's not just me. I have a little boy who is watching to see how I handle adversity and learning how to deal with it himself. If I want to raise the kind of young man who is kind and considerate and loving then I need to demonstrate those things daily. 

Living in a bedsit provides us many challenges and being quiet is definitely one of them. However it also provides many opportunities to learn new skills like not stepping like an elephant :0) No seriously the opportunity is there to practice all those things we tell others to do especially children like be kind to others no matter what. Let me tell you I have a new found respect for the kids that actually manage this as it's not easy. As for the adults well we are not often challenged that way because we live in our own space and can block others out but when you share your space with others then it becomes real. 


The survivors guide to being homeless: part 3

I remember being a teenager and my mum gave me my first set of keys. This is the rite of passage for all young people. There comes a certain age when your parents think you are responsible enough that they allow you the keys to their home. I remember the excitement filling my veins as mum took me to go and get the keys cut for my very own set. I remember the thrill of coming him from school one day and being able to open my front door. I remember the first time my mum could forget her keys because I had mine. It truly was amazing and then one day the thrill wore off and my own keys just became a part of my life. The first keys to my own home. Every time I moved opening the door for the first time with my keys. Then a bad thing happened and I had no home and my keys were gone. 

I remember the first time I had to hand my keys into the reception of the place where we were staying and realising that I no longer had my own front door. I cannot put into words the pain it caused in my heart to do that. But it was worse when my husband arrived. It was one thing to go through this alone with the baby and worry about the safety of my child. But to put my husband through this, made me feel so guilty that I had taken away this right of being an adult from someone else. Now I didn't do it as such it happened as a product of my circumstances but nevertheless there it was we had no keys to our front door. 

The system is set up to do what they think is right for the majority. But if like us you were a product of circumstance and find yourself homeless with no keys of your own. Then you need to find a way to survive through a system that dehumanises you. For me I found strength in numbers. I still had keys to my mums house and so could get a shower when times got rough but more than that I had someone who shared the experience with me. But if you are going it alone how do you cope? Well I think your biggest source of strength is your friends and family. Instead of allowing the keys to control our lives everyday we got out and walked. Whether we had somewhere to go or not made no difference just the defiant act of leaving the room in God's hands and going out gave me strength. 

Keys may not mean the world to you in fact you might just lose your keys all the time. But when they are gone and there is no getting them back for a while you can feel a lose of control. There are so many ways that are destructive to keep control but I suggest that instead of trying one of those share your pain with your loved ones you might be surprised at how they can help support you at times like these. 

Do not let the lack of keys control your life till you stay in all the time. I know so many people who in that situation stayed in and locked the door just to feel secure. The danger is that when you close that door to the sunshine outside not only does the vitamin D not come near you but feeling depressed can come all too close. The dangers of being homeless is that you can slip into oblivion, off the edge and out of contact. The important thing to remember that although your circumstances change you are still you. All the things you liked before you still will you might just have to be a bit more creative about them.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Mummy it's Me

Someone told me during my pregnancy that I should write down my experiences as a mum to be. Then when my little darling was born someone shared that I really should write down my experiences. To be quite frank I thought they were nuts. Quite a few people said it and finally I thought well I am writing a blog anyway so it wouldn't hurt every now and then to write a thought about being a mummy,

Question though, when does a new mum have time to write?

Between a hyper active little darling, family who want to see said hyperactive little darling and trying to maintain a good relationship with the hubby. Do you think I have time to write? I barely have time to think. I must say I play little mind numbing games on my phone but writing well that's a different matter.

Writing requires a certain amount of concentration in order that the reader may understand what your saying. Well that is something I struggle with always have. Good at talking, OK at writing. But I am determined that I will do it because if one person reading this quick note finds some hope to hold onto amidst the chaos of being a mother then for that I am happy.

Just as I am getting started my little darling wakes from his nap so in true form I gotta run and deal with my little darling. So I guess that's what makes me a mummy the rush to be with the little darling...

Location:Upper High St,Epsom,United Kingdom

Monday, 13 September 2010

Children, Young People and Adult Truth

Today the papers are covering a story about Davina McCall who has revealed that she told her daughter the truth when asked about drugs. McCall a former drug addict said when her daughter asked her about drugs she said they felt good but the after affects were horrendous. The British media have jumped on this and for the most part have given her a really hard time. Let me state I think the British media on this point have lost their minds!

My husband and I as youth leaders are constantly asked to do programmes, host discussions and counsel young people about sex, drugs and rock and roll so to speak. Our constant discussion is over this very question that McCall faced with her daughter. Do you tell the truth that actually all the things you shouldn't do feel good? After many years of working with young people in varying capacities we both came to the conclusion that honesty is the best policy.

This position has not been an easy one to come to but like McCall we have had to weigh up the consequences of not telling the truth. My husband always tells me that when he was younger "the church" would tell him and his friends that the world was bad bad bad and you should steer clear and not partake. But when they got older and realised it was actually fun and enjoyable they felt lied too. Now my husband is quick to follow that with the story doesn't end there and the consequences of your actions can often not be fun. But by then it was too late for the relationship between them and the church to be repaired the lie had already been told.

Often adults struggle to interact with teenagers and as a teacher I have seen this from both sides of the story. Parents, teachers, youth leaders and adults in general struggle for numerous reasons but one reason I realise is truth. Children and young people have a unique ability to see through lies. As a young person grows they begin to investigate life for themselves and see for themselves what their parents have been teaching. At this point the young person faces the world armed only with the education they have received and no real experience so if the adults lie about their experience what then for the young person.

You cannot make decisions for young people but you can arm them with the correct information. It's not good enough to tell a lie or half truths in the pursuit of what you think is best. In the end the truth is always going to better.

Location:Upper High St,Epsom,United Kingdom

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Thick Tights are not Leggings and Leggings are not Trousers

While I was pregnant I rediscovered the joys and comfort of leggings. To me leggings are a pregnant woman's best friend. The comfort and ease with which you can wear them are just amazing. They stretch round the belly with ease and comfort. Leggings were my best friend.

Post pregnancy I still love my leggings especially because I have a bouncy 8 month old who requires mummy to be just as bouncy as him. However now I have to be slightly more conscious of what I wear with my beloved leggings. During pregnancy all my tops came down long as they needed to go over the belly and be comfortable so by default the covered the bum. Post pregnancy my tops can be of varying lengths but when wearing leggings this is not advisable.

Today while walking back home I saw a young lady who was in shape toned and slim wearing leggings with a cut-off t-shirt. It was not a pretty sight. When will people learn leggings are not trousers. No sooner had I passed this young woman than there was a girl in a nice coat and top with thick tights on. If the wind blew I would have seen more than I should off. Tights are not not leggings.

I know this might seem silly to state the obvious but there is nothing worse than seeing more than you should on a young lady. From underwear all too apparent through leggings and who knows what through tights it seems that somewhere in our quest to be individual we have lost the plot. A short skirt and some colour pop tights look great but a long top with tights looks tacky. Leggings with a long top looks great but leggings with a short top just looks tacky.

It doesn't matter so much your size or shape no one wants to see your underwear or your private bits. Please for the sake of those around do us a favour and cover up it won't hurt your style I promise. Below Boohoo.com show us how it is done.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Less Than 0.01 Percent

9/11 brings up strong feelings all over the world for very different reasons. But for one small town pastor and his congregation the way of dealing with these emotions is to burn the Koran. Condemnation has come from all quarters and there is a lot of fear over retaliation. I have even joined in the condemnation on my Twitter and Facebook page. But I decided I really needed to think about this situation and what it means for Christians.  

Counting numbers in religion is fraught with difficulties. However there are accepted approximate figures that are often used. So here they are 

2.1 Billion Christian approximately 33% of earth population
1.567 Billion Islam approximately 22% of earth population

Can one man make a difference? Well apparently a church congregation which makes up less than 0.01 percent of the Christian church are having a profound affect on the world. People are worried about the retaliation for Christians the world over. People are worried about the effect on troops in the Iraq and Afghanistan. 

I am curious.  Do we not think that Muslims have common sense? I am positive that the vast majority of muslims know that Christians don't feel like burning copies of the Qu'uran. Or is it that since we are intolerant of the minority violent fanatics who profess to be Muslims, that in turn Muslims will be equally intolerant of the fanatic Christian minority?  I am sure that the vast majority of Muslims and people have dismissed this man for being an extremist with serious issues. Those that would take him seriously are just looking for an excuse to act upon their anger. Terry Jones just happens to be it. 

What this man is doing is wrong.  He is doing something in retaliation with no real understanding of the consequences of actions, of Islam, or dare I say it, Christianity. But when i look at what this man is doing and the reaction from others it seems to me that yet again christians are apologising for Christianity instead of this man being outed for the prejudiced human that he is. 

In today's society Christianity is generally marginalised and ignored unless there is something negative to be said. All this negative attention on a minority of people who do not represent Christianity make the God I believe in to be a liar.  Something I am sure God is not. 

So with this man about to do his best to desecrate another religion so to speak, I will stand firm in my faith, denounce his actions and I will not feel ashamed. He does not represent me or my faith or my God. So I will not be hampered by this man but will continue to love my God and my neighbour. 

A Good Summer Dress

A little late I know as summer is setting but if your off for a bit of winter sun then now is the time to grab a bargain. If you head onto all the major high street stores websites you will see great little summer dresses

for sale at huge discounts. Shop around cause there are real bargains to be had.

If your like me and like to stock up for next summer for some classic dresses end of season sales are the way forward. Being a fashion leader not follower means buying clothes you love not what it fashionable. So shopping at end of season is great.pp

I say all this to say I just had a look through Pearl Lowe for Peacocks and saw that there were some items left especially this yummy dress. It is the classic summer dress, great fabric, brilliant cut and can be worn dressed up or down. If like me you love a good dress this could be the one for you. Add a pop of colour for a beautiful summer day or if your thinking of being daring then try out leather accessories. Either way this dress is bound to tickle your fancy. If I had money I would snap one up especially since it's on sale woo hoo.

Silence is Not Your Friend

The Survivors Guide to being Homeless: Part 2

Yesterday while watching a morning news programme they reported that the reason that some people end up on the street is silence. They showed the story of a young women whose relationship ended with her partner in bad circumstances and she had no where to go. So she stayed with friends for some nights and then slept on the street when she felt she was outstaying her welcome. She never told any of them what was happening and all of her friends assumed she had somewhere to stay. No one ever knew her situation because she stayed silent. She walked the street and put her life in danger, and she did it all silently. It wasn't until someone found out that she received help. 

In our situation we were vocal about our circumstances; our friends and family knew upfront that we were going to be homeless. The result? At every turn someone offered support, a hot meal, a bed to sleep on or just a listening ear when it was getting tough. My favourite was one day when I was feeling very low and a friend called to cheer me up and she shared a secret, she was wearing big knickers! I cannot tell you how we laughed and laughed and how much it cheered me up. It was a small thing but it got me through that day and the next actually. 

Silence is very powerful. Sometimes people think that if you just say nothing it will all be ok or the problem will go away. Sometimes people think that silence is better than the shame of someone knowing the problem. But silence can be destructive. Yes it is prudent to be mindful about who you tell things to but if you tell no one about your situation you will struggle alone with a burden that could easily he halved by others. 

The other thing that surprised me about our situation was that because we had spoken about our situation how many of our friends had been through being homeless. So many people shared with us the pain that they had been through not having a home. We were able to minister to others because we had shared our story. When there is silence it not only can make your own situation worse but it can make others suffer too. 

Silence is not your friend when your homeless or being made homeless. There is help available and all you need to do is ask but if you just stay silent then you can never get help. 

The Straw that Broke the Camels Back

The Survivors Guide to being Homeless: Part 1

My experience of being homeless has really taught me so much. I remember when I was younger i would wonder to myself how do you get to the position of sleeping on the street. It wasn't until I went through a situation that I realised how easy it would be. As a result of our situation I feel I want to pass on what I have learnt that is helping me to survive. 

It seems that each day some new challenge comes along that just makes it that much harder to remain positive in the situation. So I am writing this survival guide as much for myself as for someone else who mitt be going through this. You see the small things in life that just wouldn't phase you ordinarily can just push you that step too far making it seemingly impossible to cope. Let me give you an example. 

We live in a bedsit which means there are communal areas, shared facilities and people with which to share all of this with. This week our buggy tyre has been slashed, I found blood in the bathtub and it wasn't my families, and the people broke into a room in the building which we have all been told off for. But do you know what the straw is that almost broke the camels back? Well it wasn't the fact that we sleep on a sofa bed which now seems like it's breaking. It wasn't that I have no funds so even going to the store to buy a bottle for the baby is impossible. It was the rice cooker breaking down! Let me tell you the story. 

My husband had gone out with a friend, I had put the baby to bed and it was my turn to get some food. I thought the easiest this was some rice so off I went put the rice and water in turned it on closed the kitchen door went into the other room and closed that door and sat down and waited. Now you have to close each door because you don't have a flat you have rooms and so privacy is just not an option unless the doors are closed and even then you can hear inside each room. But as I sat there I knew something was wrong so I got up and went back into the kitchen. Upon entering there was a strange smell that hit my nose and I realised the lights were not on the rice cooker I checked the plug and sure enough it was broken. Now I know your sitting there thinking hey how can a rice cooker be such a big deal, well it is. When the kitchen space you have been given is the size of a box the rice cooker it a life easier and now it's gone. Now since in this story I am the camel I happy to tell you my back didn't break but should I let you into the secret of why? Well because I laughed. 

You see the first thing that you need to survive the homeless situation is a friend with whom you can laugh about the silliness of the situation. Without that there can be many a crazy day. 

So if you are ever in the position of losing your home for whatever the reason I think there are a few tips that should help to keep you sane and I plan to share with you my tips to surviving being homeless and first up is laughter. Trust me this one will come up again and again but that's because you cannot underestimate the power of laughter.