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:

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 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.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Bomb 'Chelles

Since working in town I have had to get a lot of buses which in Scotland I wouldn’t mind - as they seem to have grasped the idea of a public service for the working class - but not in Peterborough. This leaves me getting in half an hour early at least and today, with only 4 buses going from my village into town I’m in 2 hours early, I’m catching up with you wonderful blog readers. Also with this in mind it should have been no surprise to me that the bus was 20 minutes late, or that I would be annoyed by it, but when I got on the bus something happened which I did not expect - a bomb shell, if you will - and it brought the Stagecoach-rant in my head to a stand-still...

    The story begins yesterday when I was ever waiting for the bus in the dry bitter morning weather and two older ladies walked to the stop and settled themselves to the left of where I was sitting. One of them leaned my way and said how she had just been commenting on how smart I looked (work trousers/shoes and winter coat/pashmina) to which I did kind of blush and say ‘thank you’ - I’m not quite used to compliments from strangers but it sure does brighten the morning a bit! She went on to say that I had a pretty face and how I’ve got everything going for me and probably had a line of boys after me and I said chuckling ‘may be, but only one that matters’
    Long story short they were lovely ladies and I said how I’d lived in Eye my whole life, at the end of the street that I had seen them walking- the one with the porch. When we got into town we went our own ways but this morning I got on the bus and there they were again. I sat down and noticed the older one Hilary was on one of the side seats, she said hi and remarked about how we’re always going to bump into each other now. They were only going a few stops from when I got on so stood up to depart and she said with a kind face ‘I know where you live now. We figured it out. It was your Mum who died wasn’t it?’ And there it was.
   We were not alone on the bus, by the way, it was actually almost full and it wasn’t quiet enough for her to whisper across the 5 seats between us so I guess that fact was learned to a lot of others this morning as well. In a mixture of surprise and embarrassment I replied ‘yes, yes it was’ and they got off the bus.

    I was surprised because of where it was said but also because it didn’t make me want to sink into the ground. I don’t think there is anything that can prepare you for things like that, but 19 months on it’s really not so bad. Yes, yes it was my Mum’s hearse they saw creeping up the road with the man in a top hat walking in front, and yes, I was in the back of the limo dressed in black. But here I am, getting up at dawn and going to my new job, I am making new friends and loving old ones like never before. 

Also, I saw this on Facebook and thought it was pretty accurate!

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

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

And it was all yellow...

My last post had the Preface (so far) for my book, and I've been working on it more than I had done as well but I'd like to give you, my lovely readers, a little update on things with me at the moment...

My Dad, sister and I went across to the continent last month for about 10 days, we went to take part in the Advanced Biblical Studies Series in Gemunden, Germany, for a week and stayed with some friends in Brussels the weekend before and after. I met up with a good friend Nahum and saw a bit more of Brussels, and the ABSS was a grand hit! I had been applying for jobs left, right and centre since Christmas and hearing nothing back, so had planned to accompany Dad on his Scottish excursions and BBS classes in East Kilbride, and then meet the Freed Chorale group there in May etc. which would have been brilliant fun, but I would not have saved any money for my studies continuing in September; but the day after we got back home I got a call from a certain coffee shop asking me to come in for an interview.
   On Friday I obliged, and it went swimmingly. On Monday I had a working interview which was also a lot of fun and yesterday I got a call and was offered a full time position to be a Barista at Starbucks!
   It all happened quite quickly and with marvellous timing, I can't help but think there's someone watching over me, giving me just what I need just at the right time...

Shanae and I, in the mean time, have been doing a lot of painting. We stripped the wood chip wallpaper from the landing walls and those around the stairs, white washed and painted them all and it looks pretty cheerful! It's funny how a different colour changes a place so much. I dare say those of you who had visited our house in the last 15 years (we think it had been that long since it was painted blue) will notice a big difference.

Needless to say, I recognise that sometimes change is very good. Be it change of pace, focus or just a new colour.

For those who asked me, here is the video of me singing Angel by Sarah Mclachlan at the ABSS 'Gemunden Follies'. :]

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Once upon a time...

For those of you who have been following my blog for some time, or who have read the earliest posts, you will know that I am writing a book. Recently my writing for it specifically has been little, I have focused on writing posts on here mainly, and plan to add them to the book in some way. I appreciate your support in reading my posts and the kind words you have expressed. I have written an introduction/preface to my book, and would like to have some feedback. It may not be the last draft but it is a start, and what better place to start than the beginning...


I woke up, wished that I was dead with an aching in my head, I lay motionless in bed. I thought of you and where you’d gone, and the world spins madly on.
    - ‘World Spins Madly On’ by The Weepies

   I have never read a self-help book about grief, and I do not intend this to be one. One reason for this is that I would not presume to know the gravity or depth of your grief and how ‘best’ for you to ‘deal’ with it. Another reason is that I am the worst person for taking advice and would not expect you to hither to mine as a resort to figuring out your own heart. Lastly, I am young, and I only know that which life has presented me thus far - but I am learning, and so share with you my experiences in the hope that they might encourage you through yours.

   My name is Rachelle, I am currently 21 years old. When I was 15 my Mum was diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension, a condition which like so many wears down the body gradually and manifests itself in breathlessness and general exhaustion. She passed away when I was 19, 3 days before her 50th Birthday, 10 weeks before my brother was due to be married. She is my reason for being, for writing, for believing and for loving the way that I do. Her great faith and gentle spirit encompassed so many in her lifetime. She was not a bold woman in the sense of being loud, proud, or in-charge. Rather, it was in her calming presence, continuing kindness and constant strength which surpassed understanding, and reached many a heart, that she showed me the way.

   Ever since I was little I have had the habit of writing whether it be poems, diaries, letters or lyrics and I guess as a natural outlet of comfort I turned to this passion just as life’s chaos flooded around me in 2011. In sharing my experiences with people I have had many uplifting conversations and have heard heart-tugging stories in response to my own. I realise that death is something that we will all experience, but it is something rarely spoken about - especially in my age group. I studied English and Film Studies at the University of Dundee until May last year when I decided that I would take a gap year to turn my diaries, focused on my Mum and family through her illness, into a book - this book.
   I started a blog about my book in May 2012 and it continues to be a popular read for family, friends, acquaintances and even the odd stranger. I have been encouraged greatly to continue writing, and shall do so until I am done. I have so much to be thankful for in my life, it is only in the past few years that I have begun to realise just how much, and started to learn how to say thank you to the One who has blessed me so greatly - but I know I am young and have much much farther to go.

"Teach us to realise the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom."
- Psalm 90:12

Thank you for reading! Please do let me know what you think, if not by a comment then an email or via Facebook :]

For your efforts, here is a lovely song:

Saturday, 23 February 2013

O Sleeper & Little Hands

Friday 22nd Feb
   I am so tired. 
It definitely has something to do with the mere 3 and a half hours sleep I had last night having been up with some good friends talking 'til 4 am. It mostly has to with the crazy amount, and range, of emotions I've been feeling lately. Some things aren't very easy to 'sleep off' - some things fatigue you so deeply that you carry them like a force within you, feeling the slight drag of each step and the pause before each kind smile...

Saturday 23rd Feb
   After I wrote that last night we had dinner with the people that had arrived for the family seminar weekend here in Gemunden. We had some singing and a devotional after dinner and then free time before bed. I had been feeling 'weary and heavy laden' with worries about home, a job, friends, and grief, but something happened that evening which took that sense of helplessness away. One of the women who had arrived brought with her her three children, two girls aged 5 and 2 and a baby boy of 6 months. I was making a cup of tea in the kitchen when the youngest girl, Lucy, came up to me and just stood and looked up at me. I looked at her and said 'hello' and she mumbled something inaudible. Crouching down to her I asked her what she said and she looked at me and said "Can you sing me a song?" I laughed, and she smiled cheekily back. It was so random, and so sweet, so I obliged and sang a bit of 'Jesus Loves Me'.
   The family sat opposite us at dinner and we got better acquainted, after clearing up and sitting down to sing, Lucy climbed under the table over to me and sat on my lap whilst we sang. Her sister proceeded to follow and I shuffled over in my seat so she could share it with me. A few hours earlier I had been dwelling with a great sadness and there I sat with two beautiful children who wanted to be near me, singing God's praises, holding their little hands. It was wonderful. 

   This weekend Monte Cox is giving lessons entitled 'The Word became flesh', talking about the true nature of Jesus - not just knowing the Bible but knowing the Author well enough to follow and represent Him. He spoke about an idea written in 'The Jesus I Never Knew' how the only King to ever chose his Mother and place of birth was Jesus - who chose to be born to a teenager, in a stable trough. He was put in a position where, when he met the outcast of society, he could speak to them as equals having been so low in social rankings himself. He gave hope to the helpless, and last night, holding that little girl's hand gave me hope too. For someone so small and actually helpless to want to be with me, even when sometimes I feel so small and helpless myself, well, it felt good.
   In helping others we help ourselves; in loving others, we are loved; and in sharing happiness the heart is glad.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Do be do be do.

   A few weekends ago Dad, Shanae and I visited the Grandparents in Devises. It was Grandpa's Birthday on the Monday and we went to the cinema to see Les Miserables, I made lasagna with Grandma which we had for dinner and a lovely cake Shanae had assisted with as well. Coming to this house as a child meant that we would play board and card games, do puzzles, go across the valley and make forts in the green opposite the back garden, have pudding after each meal, and no WiFi. The latter was not noticeable until recent years and now with such smart phone technology it is no longer as applicable, but it is interesting to see how dependent I seem to be on keeping in the cyber loop.

 I enjoy keeping in touch with people and playing games online with people miles away, and of course I blog, but it struck me a few weeks ago how I am not as alright being alone as I used to be. Losing Mum probably has something to do with this, but I think I've been searching for something for years now to occupy my time, other than myself.

When I was younger, about 9-13 I had my head stuck in books so much so that my brother would get frustrated with me when I would refuse to play games with him choosing instead to finish off a chapter or two in the latest Jaqueline Wilson book. I used to write a lot, poems, stories, letters, journals, and draw still life, people from photos and dress designs. I used to be quite content being by myself and doing my own thing and somewhere between then and late adolescence I got hooked onto social networking in different forms. 

When I started my journals for this book I reclaimed my passion for writing. Having started my degree in English and Film Studies I have rekindled my love of reading and expanded the horizons of my interest in film, but since my studies took a pause last May I feel I've fallen back into the habit of being cyber-social 24/7. A while ago I started 'The Glass Virgin' by Catherine Cookson and I'm over half way through it, an interesting read! At my Grandparent's house I completed a 1000 piece puzzle and remembered, I love puzzles. This may all seem elementary for some people, and maybe others are thinking my habits sound rather similar to their own, but I am discovering new likes and dislikes I was before unaware of because I hadn't spent the time to figure them out.

To make a long story short - I am doing more things now in the real world, by myself, rather than staring at a computer screen/waiting for a message response, and it's awfully refreshing. 

The other day I met a friend at my house and we walked up to a wee nature reserve in my village with a lake and watched the sunrise. I took along some hot chocolate in a flask and a few breakfast bars and we sat and talked and enjoyed the fresh breeze. It was surprisingly invigorating. Over the past few weeks I have been blitz clearing out my room, rearranging furniture and making it look generally more homey, my next project is to make a 'wall of frames' above the bed and it'll be done. A few days ago I dyed my hair red! My sister and I found the dye whilst clearing things out and I thought - why the heck not. 
   I have also been doing a few colourful things in my diary lately, and have a new idea to make my life from here on out more positive: I re-read my diary from last year and realised I complain in it a lot. Reading back over the things that went wrong, disappointments, sad thoughts and unwanted memories and I realised that they aren't the things that I want to remember. So I have decided that I will only write positive things in my diary. An idea on Pinterest was to have a clear glass jar and fill it with small notes of good things that happen each day in 2013, to re-read at the end of the year. If you use different coloured pieces of paper it can be a pretty display piece and you can be reminded daily of the good things that happen in your life.

So here's a wee list of things to brighten up your dull days as we wish the winter chills away:
- Go for a walk somewhere different (even just down a street or path you don't normally venture)
- Watch the sunrise/sunset with a friend (prefferably outside, if it's raining - take a brolly!)
- Drink Hot Chocolate in the morning (sweet starts to the day are always the best)
- Read a book (or finish all those ones you started and never finished)
- Do something different with your appearance (dye your hair/wear your good shirt to work)
- Clear out your room/redecorate (tidy house, tidy mind)
- Make a new playlist, discover some new music or get back into the stuff that you really used to love (I've been listening to a lot of country recently which reminds me of Spring Cleaning with Mum <3)
- Give a compliment a day (a 'Pay it Forward' idea - give a little love and it all comes back to you)
- Make something (a card/present/cake/smoothie - Valentine's Day coming up! We have a special ability to be creative, and Doing It Yourself can be rather therapeutic)

Do something new. Be content in what you have. Do something for someone else. And repeat - do, be, do, be, do...