Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Never Alone

Having been out of work for almost a month now, I’ve had a bit of time to reflect and review my life, and my heart. I quit my job because it wasn’t good for me. Being overwhelmed with feelings of frustration, discontent, and being trapped became a normality that I didn’t handle very well. 

I don’t think any one thing is to blame - I have been blessed abundantly, and I know that grace and mercy have followed me - yet my heart has been unsettled for years. What I know and what I feel have been habitually in contradiction, and those around me could not let me go on as I was. I’m not sure that those around have been aware of the extent of my feelings, I believe only God truly knows my grief. 

I grew up going to church, reading Bible stories, attending Christian camp. When I became old enough I taught Sunday school, had intense studies with fellow Christians, and even taught at the Christian summer camp that clearly influenced my youth. I have learned a lot about God and who he is, how infinitely loving and powerful he is, yet somehow I still don’t feel right. There’s something inside me that clutches to my consciousness and convinces me that I am weak. I am afraid. I worry about everything. I doubt myself. I am worthless. I am alone.

Some days are great. On those days I feel like the beautiful person people have told me I am, but other days I feel as if the world would do itself a favour if it would open under me and swallow me up. Sometimes I feel as if it’s already in the process of doing just that. I have a wonderful husband who believes I am the best person on the planet, but sometimes I don’t believe him. I have a MA degree that I studied for four years (and worked my butt off as a barista) to get, but sometimes I feel dumb, unworthy, and just plain stupid - too stupid to do anything of use in the world. I’ve been in my share of unfortunate situations - with friends, family, and work, and at some point have convinced myself that it was my fault, that I was the problem, even though I knew that wasn’t true. Sometimes I change clothes five times before heading out the door because suddenly everything I own makes me feel fat and ugly. 

I don’t believe I have a ‘good’ reason for being self-deprecating. When it happens, I’m usually not aware of it until it becomes an uncontrollable seed of thought, and when that happens it can grow in the back of my mind for days or even weeks. Being conscious of ‘thinking crazy’ brings me down to earth - and then the guilt sets in. What did I say? Did she see that meltdown? Was I mean - he was only trying to help? Does he still love me, even though I said that? Why should I be being so pitiful - I have SO MUCH to be thankful for?! 

The more I analyse what then just happened, the more self-conscious I become and I remember to pause and evaluate before reacting. This leads to good days. On good days, I can brush off the little negative naggings that insist “she aimed that look at you” and “he said that sarcastically - what did he really mean?” On good days I still don’t believe I’m the best person alive but I do know that I’ll be ok. I know that I’m just trying to make it through, like everyone else. 

I used to believe that staying strong meant that you could never let things get to you. Now I know that for me, it is impossible to be infallible. I understand that I am on a journey learning my limits, and I no longer believe limits to be a bad thing. I actually think it’s very healthy to know them, to be aware of how much I can take before I need to rejuvenate and evaluate if and when I step back into the ring. We must communicate our feelings so we don’t exceed our limits in silent tears. I know too well how to cry so that no one sees. 

I have decided that I have been through enough of feeling alone - because I know that I am not. I have known for years that God can change hearts, but maybe now I need to learn to let him change mine. 

I may still sometimes feel inadequate, unworthy, and anxious, but I have been reminded that I am on God’s side - and he is awesome enough for the both of us to tackle it. 

I will remember:

“The Lord is my strength and my shield”, therefore I am not weak. (Psalm 28:7)
God says “do not fear, for I am with you”, so who am I to be afraid? (Isaiah 41:10)
God says “do not be anxious about anything” (Phil 4:6) and how can I be, when he has assured me that “peace is what I leave you. It is my own peace that I give you.” (John 14:27)
When I doubt myself, I can instead “humble [my]self, under God’s mighty hand.” (1 Peter 5:6)
When I begin to believe that I am not enough, I will remember that “the Lord is my light and my salvation - so whom shall I fear?” (Psalm 27:1)
“The Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you”, therefore I am not alone. (Deut 31:6)

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Mrs Shelly Marie Galloway


As many of you already know I have been a wee bit busy as of late. I have finished university and will be graduating with 2:1 Hons of an English and Film Studies MA degree!

I also have been planning and organising and working away for what turned out to be a most wonderful day celebrating my union with the love of my life, Scott. I have had so many learning curves and new experiences which has deepened many of my understandings of the world in which we live. 

I have experienced so much kindness, grace, and love that only further convinces me that we have a God who is always good. It has not been easy, but it has been so worth it.

Scott and I got back from a wee getaway on Sunday and for the past couple of days (and more to come) we are settling into our new flat. I have way too much stuff...

This morning a thought came to me, as sometimes they do, and I feel it is worth sharing. Even having only being married for a week I feel that I understand things that I didn't before. For example, I totally understand why Christ used marriage as a metaphor for His Church, and also how 'in the beginning' was the Father, Son and Spirit as one. I  confident that these understandings will be enriched with time and I am so excited about it.

These new wonderful concepts led me to think about some of my past thought and understandings, namely that of fear. 

Going into marriage was scary. Leaving my job in Dundee with my wonderful colleagues (and friends) was scary. The thought of living with messy boy for the rest of my life is, indeed, scary. A new life, the unknown, is scary. It is not a surprise that I have been overly anxious about everything this year, mixed with feelings of excitement, exhaustion, and exhilaration at the momentum of events. Yet I recognise this anxiety as fear, and remember that as Christians we are called not to be ruled by fear but by faith, and above all to hope in His promises. 

So fear and hope are the real rulers, in a sense, not merely anxiety or wishes as is commonly referred to. This got me to thinking about my actions and whether I could bring myself to own up to what I thought fuelled these actions - fear or hope. 

Specifically my train of thought went onto my most 'frequent' sin, if that makes sense, and I wrote this...

Many sins committed against each other are in lieu of being afraid of each other, the situation, or ourselves. Growing up and learning that one must not covet a neighbour's XYZ made sense as that seemed to me to be an anti-materialist/pro-eternal-life-ist lesson to learn that basically said 'nothing physical is worth it'. But I have experienced jealousy, and I do struggle with it often, keeping jealous thoughts (mainly reactional) at bay. I hadn't considered that wanting to BE someone else, or be TREATED like someone else is actually emotional jealousy. It is me being discontent with my present situation, praise, or human affection, and craving that I be in a 'better' situation. I haven't quite yet learned the art of being content in any and every situation. But I'm working on it. I have realised that if I believe that materialism is nothing compared to God's unearthly awesome glory then I must be convicted that emotional discontent is irrelevant if I am truly aware of God's adoration and comfort. 

As humans I believe it is natural to look inwards, putting ourselves at the centre of our lives. Through even just a week of marriage I understand that close relationships - even human to human - are impossible if each party does not constantly remember that they are not the only one in the union. Of course, then, how can we expect to have a good relationship with God if we are constantly wishing for better circumstances? We are disconcerting ourselves with God's intention for us and his innumerable blessings of we are consistently dissatisfied with our lives. We need to get over ourselves, and then get under God's authority. 

I am ever so excited to begin a new life as one with Scott, and it makes me joyful to remember that it is also a life united with God as we made covanents with Him also. 

I promised Scott that I would strive to see him as God sees him, in the light of His everlasting love. And I am much aware that I need to do the same with our relationship in marriage. Our life is not our own, please pray for us that we will continuously yeild to His will.

Much love,

Mrs Shelly Marie Galloway


Thursday, 23 April 2015

Dread and Delight

This time I really don't know if anyone out there is reading anything on here, I know I haven't for the past 10 months. 

So much has happened, as always. I've learned so much, as per usual - but I've only just begun to understand that this will never change. And I'm super excited because of it.

I have many ups and downs even in a week, sometimes even in a day. I know I'm doing too much, but my theory is that if I'm still able to do it, then why not?

These things being - finishing Uni. All coursework and my dissertation are done. I got ENGAGED (!!!) to the absolute love of my life, and we're actually getting MARRIED in just over SEVEN WEEKS (YAY!!!!). I've just finished updating my CV to get a new job in a new city for moving into a new home in June. All of the newness. There's at least 5 blogposts to be done about all of the above, but we'll get there.

Whilst I have forsaken blogspot for my crazy schedule, the break has done me good. I have still had many thoughts and revelations, and I will share them with you soon. I think the first one will be titled 'Why People Should Stop Saying Everything Happens for a Reason', so, brace yourselves. This is definitely something that's been on my mind especially with Mum's death, but also with how my relationship with to-be-husband has panned out. It's such a throw-away statement which ultimately rejects any kind of responsibility or consequence, and I think it's about time to ditch it. [Rant pending.]

As mentioned, I finished my dissertation. It wasn't that hard. Yep, I said it. It was a big project, very difficult to get my head around the enormity of the subject, but it was really enjoyable, and my tutor was ace. It was on 'Beauty and the Beast', looking at the evolution of the tale from Beaumont's originally popular story in 1756 to the most recent Disney version. It's the best story, and really sums up how our attitudes should be: "You must love something before it is loveable." [Paraphrased G. K. Chesterton]

The title of this post is 'Dread and Delight', and to be honest, they are the themes which have haunted me for the past year. Dreading doing the wrong thing, but ultimately finding delight when I realised that the only thing worth choosing is a relationship with God; and in Him are found an abundance of delights. I could go on and on and on, but right now I have jobs that need applying to.

I'll leave you with that wee update, with a promise to return and indulge you with my tiny wisdoms in the near future.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Even the stars, they burn.

I want to be honest in this blog, as I have been so far. The reason I haven't written anything in so long I think is because I don't know what to say. Not because there's nothing to say, more because I'm not sure what to share and what to hold back because I don't know how people will react to my thoughts. I've guess been having some trust issues recently and it's seeping into every aspect of my life.

As I said in my last post, this year has been difficult. I keep being faced with weird situations, I feel like I'm constantly confronted with things that test my patience, integrity and make me question my faith.

Yes, I said I question my faith. 

Whilst some people may read that and instantly understand what I mean, I still feel like admitting it is taboo. I could imagine some people raising their eyebrows at me as though I just admitted to joining a coven instead of going to church. But, honestly, I don't care.

I think taboo subjects are the ones we should talk about. Death, for instance. I had so many encouraging messages from people when I opened up about my experiences with Death saying they went through similar things and had similar thoughts, and it was good to know they weren't alone in that. I will be so surprised if my experiences with this don't also ring true for you in some respect.
Don't get me wrong on this either. I'm not saying I'm an atheist, I'm not saying that I don't believe God exists, I've actually not said anything about what I mean yet by me having confrontation with my faith. Mainly because I'm not really sure what's going on in my head and my heart. Recently there's been a massive change in my life and my heart feels heavy a lot of the time. It happened just after losing my job and I was encouraged to travel for a bit before getting back into a working routine. So I went home, visited friends (even modelled for one of them in a photo shoot), went to London, and am currently in Brussels.

I felt as though I needed to run away, to be on my own, to 'find myself' rather than physically confront my issues. I always laughed when people said they needed to 'find' themselves because, you know, they're right in front of you saying that pretentious crap. But I slap my wrist for it now because honestly, I don't know who I am. I'm trying this thing where I put myself first and actually think about what I like, what I want to do, where I want to go, and who I want to be around. I was brought up believing that Joy was putting Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last. I still believe that (or do I just think that I should?) I'm just not sure we should do it before we figure out how to actually put ourselves anywhere. 

My relationships got to a point where I would put myself in compromising situations to satisfy the needs of others. The first rule of care is that you can't care for someone without first taking care of yourself. You're told to put your oxygen mask on before your children's - what if you pass out helping your first two and your third child suffocates because you didn't make sure you could breathe? 
It is way too easy to get caught up in rhythms of sociality - especially within the church. We are told to live in the world and not be of the world, but I don't think I've really been living in the world. I mean, I've been here, but I don't even really know where here is. I have little conviction in what I do, even my writing is riddled with adverbs of probability because I just. don't. know. 

A friend of mine asks me questions. Questions that all lead down to simply 'So, what brings you here?' Here meaning this point in my life, the thoughts that I have, the feelings I experience, and the things that I do because of them. Socrates said 'To find yourself, think for yourself.'
   My friend reads a lot of philosophy. I studied some philosophy at Uni and got intensely frustrated because it all seemed so unresolved and open-ended. I now see that of course it is unresolved because philosophy is thinking. Due to its very nature it never ends, never stands still. And now, I'm ok with that. I believe in a God who is unchanging enough for the both of us, I'm just trying to figure out what that actually means for me, and where it will take me next.

Go read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

And listen to this.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

I don't know if you're out there. I don't know if you can hear me.

I haven't blogged since November, and that makes me a little sad. I also haven't written in a diary since before then as I've just not had the time. This year has been a challenge, to say the least, yet as I make my way back to sea level I can see there is hope and joy and good things to come.

Long story short: this year so far I have lost my handbag including purse, passport, Bible and phone in it just before I was due to go to the ABSS retreat in Gemunden, and this last week I lost my job which I loved and took for granted that it would set me up working full time over the summer. 

This time of year is particularly interesting as Mother's Day draws near and shops are glorified with 'special gifts' for the 'most special person on the planet'. Needless to say it pains me a bit when I remember that my most special person is no longer on the planet, and hasn't been for quite some time now. 

I have had innumerable freak-outs this year, to which my love Scott will confirm, but I have been humbled in the way he encourages me to be strong when I feel that the world is telling me I'm worthless, stupid and unwanted. Sometimes it's easy to think we're alone in this world, being victimised by others. Scott reminds me that I am not alone, and I have overcome so much already - too much to give up now.

It is easier to believe criticism than it is to remember compliments and, surprisingly enough, I'm really going to try harder at keeping a positive attitude when faced with challenges. 

Looking back over my previous posts I know that I have been blessed with a family so great and strong that no matter where I am, even 300 miles away from my hometown, I have a home wherever they are. For that, I am grateful, and I know things will get better soon. 

If you have a very weak stomach, don't watch this - it contains zombies...
If you happen to not mind zombie images, give this a go, it's pretty good!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

I have a dream...

In Clarkston gospel meeting on Saturday, I made these notes...

John 8:31-37 (NLT)

   'Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings.  And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth," Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” “But we are descendants of Abraham,” they said. “We have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean, ‘You will be set free’?” Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave of sin. A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free. Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message. Everyone who sins is a slave of sin.  A slave is not a permanent member of the family, but a son is part of the family forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.  Yes, I realize that you are descendants of Abraham. And yet some of you are trying to kill me because there’s no room in your hearts for my message.'

Martin Luther Kings speech 50 years ago this August. The first famous sentences are as follows...

"I still have a dream... one day this nation will rise up and live up to its creed and say, 'We hold these truths to be self evident: that all men are created equal.'"

The hairs on our necks stand up when we hear the first sentences of that speech. The idea of a free world is magnificent. For all of us. How is it that there is a universal understanding of freedom? We ALL have a need, a desire, to be free. But free from what? How is it that 7 billion people, who started from just two with nothing but the earth and it's produce, came to the point of despising and exploiting eachother?
   We ALL have a need to be free, free from oppression, from all the 'ists and 'fobics' you can conjour, free from each other. But I believe it's something bigger than that. All of us have a need to be free from sin.
   If only we freed ourselves from selfishness, pride, dishonesty and greed businesses would be fairly run and governments would be honorable and kind to their people. What seems to me like a simple solution of the world's problems of course is complex when I think of my own life and my own sin. Multiplying my sins by 7 billion I see quickly that it's no wonder the world is so messed up. But thank God that we have a Saviour able to clear a world of debt. Thank God we have a Father who loves us more than Himself. Sometimes it feels as though there is no way out but there is always light at the end of the tunnel if only we look up to Him.

The Speech: http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Have_a_Dream

Saturday, 10 August 2013

God only knows what I'd be without you.

  I can't believe I've not written anything here for about a month and a half and I apologise to any of you that enjoy my little whims and stories. My last post was about me trying to trust that things would work out and what do you know, a month and a half later things are almost perfect. I have moved back to Dundee in preparation for starting Uni again in September into a charming flat with a lovely flatmate in a fantastic location (a street away from the main shopping centre/10 minutes away from Uni). I also have a job at a local coffee shop - Henry's Coffee House - the second of two stores owned by some local people and the other store has open mic nights which I'm hoping to get involved in and I'll let you know if I do!
  So yes, I'm working a couple of days a week and loving settling into my new flat and getting to know my flatmate. One thing I would request is for some prayers that my student finance gets sorted out. Some misunderstandings and lack of correct advice has meant my application may not get in on time so I'm still 'concerned' on that front. Lord willing, all will be fine, and I'm assuming He wants me to get my degree...

   Throughout July I was trying to sort out a flat for me to move into and found one, as well as working and packing! My sister came back from her epic journeys in Central America and Texas and we (again) saw some American friends in London. I had the girls from work over one night and we had some amazing chats, and I also received leaving gifts from three of them <3 It's funny how you can make such good friends in such little time!

  My Dad drove me up with my sister at the end of July as we all went to Camp Tayside for a week. The morning we were due at camp I had an interview at the coffee house and a trial shift set up for the Monday after camp. Held inbetween Dundee and Forfar Camp Tayside is a summer camp for 8-17 year olds run by the Dundee congregation and other Young Adults in the UK. This year we had a couple from the States, of whom Jason was the main speaker at the week. The theme was 'I AM News' and we acted as a news team researching and reporting on this 'Jesus character' from the first century. It was such a good week, really uplifting to see young children so intrigued about our Saviour and encouraging to see them lifting one another up. I was a councillor alongside one of my great friends Amy and we had a room of wonderful girls who were cheeky and funny and made it a week full of smiles.
   The Monday after camp I had a trial shift at the café and the next day I had my first shift. Needless to say it's been one busy month so far.
  I have been visiting Scott as well and we attended his cousin's wedding at the beginning of August. It was a beautiful affair with deer skulls and woodsy ornamentals as centre pieces. There were some beautiful desserts brought by guests which were displayed on tables with old pictures of the Bride and Groom and their families in frames around them. (Picking up some good ideas!)
   I'm going to a wedding reception tomorrow of one of my good friends in Dundee, she was my boss a couple of years ago so we go back a while and it'll be an experience as she's Muslim so the ceremony, décor and dress will be interesting, I'm excited. And I'm sure I'll post pictures for those interested.

   As far as Thoughts of Shelly Marie goes I've not had any revelations lately, perhaps except that I've learned that things will work out - one way or another. I reiterate from my last post that we are not alone, and I'm excited to get back to writing my book.
   Now I have my own space and time to myself I think I can really get back into remembering, I got upset last Sunday because we sat in church and we sang something about getting to heaven one day and I thought to myself again 'Mum's already there'. It still gets me that she's not here, I really find it hard to grasp that I can't ring her and tell her what (flatmate) Claire's like, and I can't ask her what colours I should accentuate in my bathroom. I can't tell her what Scott's cousin's wedding was like or tell her about the cool crafty things they had and I can't tell her that I miss her. It's just strange, and I wish it were different, and I wonder if I'll ever know why.
   But I'll trust in the One who makes all things and knows all things and hope that I'm on the right path.

   Be safe, stay excellent, thanks for reading. x

 Check these out as well if you like:
My boy's new tune (he's working on his band's album!) Unheard Song:
[Also listen to his cover of God Only Knows originally by the Beech Boys. It's fabulous. And it's stuck in my head!]

And an interesting article 'My Husband Is Not My Soulmate':

Friday, 28 June 2013

If you give a little love you can get a little love of your own.

I haven't blogged in a while and I have had a lot to say - just not the time nor the energy to write it.
   When not working as a Barista:

I travelled to and back from Scotland three times this month and have spend 3/4 Sunday church services with the congregation in East Kilbride. 

I went to London twice this month as well, both times with at least one American contingent, giving them some deep British cultural education and wonderment.

I took a day trip to Cambridge with my American best friend. <3

I surprised one of my best friends for her son's first Birthday party in Dundee.

Co-made an amazing board game for Scott's Dad for Fathers Day.

And I lopped most of my hair off for charity.

So it's been a bit crazy.

But this is June. A wonderful name for a wonderful month. 

   I had promised to let you know how the whole 'hair chopping for Little Princess Trust' thing was going (apologies for not being more informative until now) but it is going and has been going amazingly. I GOT MY HAIR CHOPPED yesterday and I'm still feeling weird about not being able to twirl my locks at waist height but I'm so blessed and encouraged by everyone who has donated and taken part in this journey.
   At a last check I have raised £243.08 and need £350 in total so we're doing pretty well! I am blown away with people's generosity in this and people's kindness in the whole thing. I will be donating 7''-15'' of hair with my layers so that's quite a lot, hopefully some little girl will enjoy some shoulder length curls. I'm excited for her (or him if he's a total little rock star)! 
    If you would still like to be involved please visit https://www.justgiving.com/Rachelle-Boyns and donate what you can. The money is so the wig can be made and any surplus will go towards funding other wigs as well so it'll definitely be used for a good thing. 
 Here's evidence of the chop (and a curly experiment)!

Back to some Thoughts of Shelly Marie:

   One thing that has definitely been on my mind throughout the whole month is trust. I am now in a long distance relationship and find that things play on my mind perhaps more than they used to. We are most afraid of what we don't know, I guess. Two of my friends are about to go into long distance relationships as well and they share the same woes with me on this. Whilst it sounds like I'm talking about trust within the realms of fidelity and such I'm more thinking about trust in the sense of agreement. Each of us have essentially agreed to work together for the remainder of the closeness, whether that goes on for the rest of our lives or whether it passes us by. But 'what if...' is always the devil's advocate. What if one day the other person just finds you 'too much' for them to handle?
   I find myself on emotional roller coasters still and I thought I would be more level headed by now (lol). I have a desire to be able to take care of myself because there have been times in these past 21 months when I have felt so alone, so helpless, and I don't ever want to feel that again.
    I just had a conversation with my Dad about me moving back up to Dundee for Term starting back in September. I have nowhere to live at the moment, nor a confirmation of my student finance, nor a job lined up and I can't even access my University online account to check my modules to start prep work for classes. There is so much uncertainty about my return that right now that I get upset daily because it doesn't feel like it's going to happen. But it will. I have at least two months to get it sorted out and I know a lot can happen in two months...
   I've not had the best run with close friends or boyfriends past - it's hard to admit to yourself that the other person just doesn't care enough - and I'm surprised time and time again when my problems turn into hindsight and when my worries are calmed by the guy I'm proud to call mine. I am reminded to count my blessings and am assured that everything will be ok - because I am not alone. In talking to my Dad he reassures me that as a family we leave no one behind, and I know that God is looking out for me too. I'm sure He's going to spring some cool plan on me last minute and I'll wonder why I ever worried in the first place. So trust. It's a lot, but I think if I work at it a whole bunch more things will feel a lot less than they are right now. 
   No one gets left behind, and we are never alone.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Just do it.

After a month or so of debating and discussing I have decided to just do it and am getting my hair chopped for charity. I've made a JustGiving page for easy donations:

   As many of you know my Mum passed away in 2011, not from cancer, but since then it has made me realise some of what others go through from different causes. I want to help people as and when I can and it just so happens that I have an abundance of hair that I'm finally willing to (mostly) part with. The charity Little Princess Trust is unique in that they literally give wigs to children who suffer from hair loss due to treatments for cancer. As one who has always had pride in my locks, I sympathise, and would like to do what little bit I can to maybe make one child's experience not so terrifying.
   I hope to raise at least £350 as that is what is required to make the wigs free to those in need. Any excess would go towards others that the cost of which was not fully covered already.
   I'm aiming to 'just do it' at the end of the month, but it'll be whenever I raise the money for it I think, so get donating and help change a life.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Because I know you by heart.

I haven't blogged in a long time and I apologise profusely, but life has been very busy lately. Work, friends getting married and I am just coming home from a week holiday in Glasgow to see friends and my now boyfriend (!).
   It's all very exciting and I am so thankful to know that even after what I've been through I still find happiness and peace and joy in life.
   Listening to music on the train home one of my favourite songs comes on by Eva Cassidy called 'I know you by heart' in which the lyrics tell of a true love, picturing someone dear from memory and feeling as if they're there - you know them by heart. 

"You left in Autumn
The leaves were turning
I walked down roads of orange and gold.
I saw your sweet smile
I heard your laughter
You're still here beside me every day."

   I worry that I will forget Mum, but I do know her by heart and I will learn more about her as we reminisce years on and as I learn more about how she shaped me.
   I love the song because it makes me think of the idea of knowing someone by heart. Knowing what makes a person passionate, what makes them tearful, and knowing how to take care of them when they aren't so sure themselves. I have relied on people so much this past year and I fully appreciate the relationships I am blessed to be a part of.
   I think it starts when you realise that you're not that strong on your own and then believing that that's OK, and then moves on when you accept that you are enough - more than enough - to be wholeheartedly loved by others. And it's wonderful. So wonderful.
   So listen to that song, and feel the love...

Friday, 26 April 2013


   Life has been busy busy busy recently which makes for a change from the lazy winter I had job searching etc but it means I'm tired a lot and don't write as often. Need to get myself more organised maybe... We'll get there!
   It was a lovely day today with the most wonderful morning I've experienced in a long time with a perfect cool, still, air that greeted you ever so freshly. I got to work early so got my almond filter coffee and sat reading 'A Room Of Ones Own' by Virginia Woolf, smiling at one line which I knew my Dad would appreciate;
      "If truth is not to be found on the shelves of the British Museum, I asked myself, where, picking up a notebook and a pencil, is truth?"

Anyhow, here is something I wrote just a few days ago...

21 April 2013
   This morning I sat on the sofa in the living room drinking my morning tea and I thought for the first time so clearly 'I really miss Mum. And I can't believe she's gone.'
   When I arrived at work yesterday after lunch I received a text message from Dad saying "About to take to the skies in a Tiger Moth. Love you. Xxx." Dad and his friend Paul had headed out to Duxford Imperial War Museum that morning and it had briefly crossed my mind that on such a fine day, and with Paul's profession providing him with over 3000 hours of flying experience, that their jaunt might result in appreciating the vehicles from more than just ground level. So when I received this text I thought 'Dear bless us all' in a Mum-like fashion and got on with my shift. A few hours later I felt my phone vibrate, alerting me of another text message, and having forgotten about the message from Dad and it suddenly rushed back to me and the thought crossed my mind that this text could be one of more emergency... As soon as that clicked, a quivering peace reached consciousness that said 'if so, at least he died doing what he loved most', and that surprised me.
   I don't worry like I used to though, to be honest I don't see the point. I dont' worry about others as much because I realise I can not change their immediate path, all I can do is prepare myself to be ready to help with whatever consequences that may come. 
   I imagine that, should I be blessed with children, this mentality with rapidly repent but for now I will enjoy not worrying. 
   "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
   So this morning I sat down on the sofa drinking my morning tea and I looked at the carpet with the dust bits on it, I thought of how I'll spend the rest of the day after church ceaning because when I get home from work in the week I'm exhausted. I thought of how Mum used to sit, with her tea on her lap, one leg over the other, with me, and how it seems a lifetime ago. It was actually 1/10th of my life ago, I think, and it occurs to me that when I'm 40 I would have lived more days without a Mum than with one, and how I have to accept it because 'that's life'.
   Though I find it's not a hard thing to accept - 6 weeks ago I struggled to remember how many syrup and coffee shots were in a Caramel Macchiato compared with a flavoured Americano but now I can make drinks for hours without really thinking about it. I know how new habits can gasp fast and how some old habits die hard if you have no choice - but it's sometimes a hard thing to believe.
   It's not a hard thing to accept but it's a hard thing to believe.
Saying that I think to when Christians take the communion and I think how it's not hard to know I'm forgiven, but believing it is another thing when I know what I've done.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

One Grande Almond Filter, a Cinnamon Swirl and a Tid Bit for today.

   As you know, I've recently started a job as a Barista in Starbucks in my hometown of Peterborough - so you should totally make a wee trip and come get a coffee!
   It is still going well and I have been enjoying my new routines, new responsibilities, new friends, and my new 'usual' of almond syrup in the filter coffee coupled with a cinnamon swirl mmm. As I have been enjoying these things, and with Easter now having been and gone, I have been thinking about 'newness'.
   There is much value placed on the 'new' today, "out with the old in with the new" sort of thing. In the film 'I Could Never Be Your Woman' the character Mother Nature says that the way of life is that the younger you are the better you are because you're prettier, more agile, stronger etc, yet I'm partial to the ways of different cultures where a 'wise one' is consulted when dealing with community issues. Our Western society feeds off individual impulses and independent success but I think we are wrong in so many ways. I digress...
   Whilst we get excited about new things and hastily throw away the old sometimes we forget that consistency and commitment is also what keeps the world spinning; Consistency in routine and in morals, and commitment to each task and relationship. I am trying to take this on board with even the simplest things - like finishing novels I started reading a year ago, and keeping on keeping on with this book... [Fuelled by my almond filter and cinnamon swirl!]

   So basically my tid bit today is of course, make life exciting with newy newy newness - start of grandly, but remember to keep going and finish well!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

*Irish accent* Give you over.

Tuesday 26th March 2013
   I am sitting in Starbucks at one of the high tables in the corner, looking out over my workplace before my shift starts in 14 minutes. I have just finished going through my blog posts, picking out recurring themes which may become chapters in my book - I’ll then gather the similar writings and make them legible with a bit more insight, we’ll see how it goes.
   One theme I picked out I titled ‘Self-Strength’. It is the confidence we find in ourselves after rock bottom, and as much as it may sound like independence, I am not really sure such a thing exists...


   So I wrote that and then had to go to work. I must apologise for being so out of the blog loop lately, but I will use the example above to explain why - I got a job! YAY! Barista at Starbucks and it's going so well. Made lots of friends and meeting new customers, getting to know the regulars, making amazing coffee etc., yeah it's all grand. I feel so blessed with this job, I'm having trouble trying to fit in all my other blessings like friends up North who are getting married and celebrating first Birthdays but to be honest it's a good problem to have. 

I've had a couple of thoughts recently which I'd like to share with you. The one above about thankfulness but also the one above about my possible chapter: Self-Strength. 
   I have been thinking about it for a while, the idea of moving on after something in life grounds you, like my Mum passing away (a year and a half ago today). I have been thinking about what makes a person get back up and try again, whether the strength or 'independence' is a discovery one finds alone, or whether there's a lot more to it than that. 
   I have always believed in some form or another of 'the butterfly effect', the way that one thing changes another which can change another which can change another which leads to you and changes your life. 
   Sometimes miracles happen and we have the choice to accept or reject them, other times we are given blessings and we can chose to acknowledge them or give them up. Looking back over my life so far I can see the people who had been put in my life and I see their purpose. I can see the opportunities that were placed in my grasp and the outcome they had. I can also see when I ignored advice, when I went a way I knew I shouldn't have, and yet I am now OK.
   I will never give up hoping that the best is yet to come, I will never give up on those I hold dearest, and I will never give up trying to be the best me I can be. Why? Because I am not alone. I can see where other's worked for me or with me for my successes and I remember the people who help pick me back up.I have been given so much that I have no excuse to give up but every excuse to give over. Give over to something bigger than yourself; give over, and give back.

Here is a cute example of not giving up/finding strength in giving over:
 Aaaaand here's a video I came across this week...

Kid President spreading the love and meeting some amazing people: 

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Dream a little dream of me...

   I had a dream within a dream. Mum was there. She came into my room (which wasn’t my room but such is the nature of dreams). I couldn’t believe it, I asked if it was really her over and over and she just smiled back at me. I tried to remember her jewelry, she wore a necklace with a tiny heart on it. I knew I was dreaming, in my dream... I just hugged her, touched her face and her arms, she had such soft skin. She looked more real that I have seen her in a long time.

   Strange to think that once she was here indefinitely and now I sometimes have trouble picturing her face.

   I don’t remember what was said other than me asking if it was really her and her smiling back. I would like to say she said everything was going to be ok. But if she didn’t verbally, she said it with her eyes. I woke up from that dream - still in another dream - and turned on the TV, as if I knew the continuation of it would be on the TV. And there I was, standing behind a counter serving people food and drink; and there she was, watching me, putting things on shelves away from the counter, facing the real me. I screamed at myself in the TV to look up and see Mum but I was so engrossed (and TV people can’t hear real people anyway). Then something strange happened, Mum called my name, to the me in the cafe with her, and I didn’t hear her. I watched me walk past her and didn’t see her, and she wasn’t upset. She smiled and I got the notion that I would only have been able to see her if I’d have needed her, and at that time I didn’t so I couldn’t. Then in the dream some people walked into my room and I glanced away from the TV for a second, when I looked back and tried to explain what had happened all they could see was a woman in the corner of the screen overlooking the coffee shop scene, to them she could just have been a customer in queue, and I was gone from the picture.

   I had a dream with Mum in it almost a week after she'd died. Mum and I were walking along the street carrying one of our white garden chairs between us. I began to limp a bit and Mum suddenly stopped, put the chair on the ground and sat me in the chair and lifted it, carrying me along on the chair. I protested because surely she wasn’t able to carry me safely but she carried on. I woke up bewildered - how on earth could Mum do that and why was I dreaming about it. I instantly told Sara about it (we’d slept in the same bed) who said maybe it was her telling me that she’s still ‘carrying me’, perhaps more than she had been able to on this earth. And I hoped she was right.

   I think dreams are amazing things. They give me precious moments that maybe never really existed, they show me things that might not be true; yet I remember them as if they do mean something to me, as if they are a part of my life. When Mum comes into my dreams it sometimes feels more real than the world I live in, because in my world Mum is there, and I wish I could dream forever. My memory of this one is already fading, I had to write it down instantly as I woke up as to not forget it completely. But I do remember her face and I do remember her hug and for now, that is enough.

   When I came on Facebook this morning I was reminded it is Mother's Day, which made me all the more glad that I saw Mum last night. Happy Mother's Day to all you special women blessed to have children. You mean more to the world than you think <3