Tuesday, 16 December 2014

H is for Happy!

Well, hello my poor neglected little blog!
I am very sorry that I have not been here for quite a while now, but life has been just so hectic!
So, while I have a few quiet moments, actually to myself, I thought it was about time that I updated my latest news!

I AM HAPPY!!!

I know right?? I never thought I would be saying those words, so soon as this! But it's the truth!
There a few reasons for my new found happiness:

1) I am loving life and my place in it so much more now that I have placed my faith and trust in God. I pray more and try to stress less! I feel so loved and protected and it's just an amazing feeling!

2) I have the most amazing, supportive family! My kids might drive me nutts, but they are what my day revolves around! My dad might be a little demanding, but he can't help it with his MS. My mum might snap at others a little, but she is only human and very tired and over-worked! This whole new outlook has just made me try to be more understanding and patient - I don't manage it all the time, but I know that it is achievable!

3) I think I have met the man I want to spend the rest of my life with!! This is probably had the biggest impact on my happiness, if I'm honest!
I decided (with a little encouragement from my mum) to try out Classic FM Romance, to try and meet a nice man, seeing as I was well and truly over the Ex now. So, one evening I spent an age ticking all these boxes on the forms, placed a photo of myself (really hated that bit!) and the I uploaded it! I had interest from a couple of nice men, but nothing that seemed to instantly 'click' as the right person. Two days later and I log on to find that a man with the most gorgeous smile had sent me a message! We started to message on the site, then found each other on facebook and eventually exchanged phone numbers! Then I spoke to him on the phone! I know! Me, talking to a stranger on the phone, by choice!! Unheard of ;-) Then we were talking every night! He came to spend the night in a hotel near where I live. We went out to dinner and then to the cinema and it was just brilliant!
Then I went to see him for the weekend where he was working, but only ended up seeing him for an hour! He had booked me a hotel showing as being 6 miles away from where he was working, but it turned out that it had been calculated across the water! I was in fact 1 1/2 hours away! I still can't believe he got a taxi and came and surprised me for that hour - costing him £250!!! Crazy man ;-) I actually spent a beautiful weekend at Southend-on-Sea, exploring and having some 'me time'!
He has also met my kids and my mum and dad! The kids loved him, as he was on the floor being silly and playing with them! He even came with me to collect Little Man from school, which I hadn't expected him to do. My parents think he's great! He sat and spoke for a while with my dad and just loved my mum's cooking - all set the right impression, confirming for me that he is just amazing!
Since then he has been constantly working, but we still manage to message throughout the day and talk every night, unless one of us falls asleep ;-) I think that is one of the things I love the most about him, we talk! I never really had that with the Ex! We talk about everything! Religion, everyday things, family, past, future hopes and dreams, it's just brilliant!!
He is gorgeous, kind, caring and someone I can tell everything and anything to! He knows all about my depression and the fact that I can't work at the moment, and it doesn't bother him!
I told him I loved him the first night I met him in person and I truly meant it! He told me that he loved me too! We now tell each other how much we love each other, every single day! Oh, important information, his name is Michael and he is South African, so has a gorgeous accent too! I always knew I was going to fall for a tall, dark, handsome man ;-)
So, there we have it! My reasons for being happy!
I hope that in this hectic time of Christmas, you manage to find some time to sit back and look about you for your 'happiness' too!  xxx

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

I'm now Confirmed!

So many exciting things have been happening in my life lately, happiness, finding love, but that's for another post ;-) This post is about my growing love of God and belief in Jesus, which was confirmed for all to see at my Confirmation ceremony last night :-)

It was a lovely ceremony, not at my church, but still quite a close one (they take it in turns as to who hosts the service) I had my first Communion as well, which was really nice, even though I can't have the alcohol! I had discussed this with my vicar Brenda, who has been helping me on my journey. We decided that I could just pretend to take a sip, as no one would know! Then I could fully take part, without having the alcohol that I'm not allowed ;-)

The bishop of Reading confirmed me and 5 other candidates; three young kids, a small lady in her 80's (though she didn't look a day over 65!) and a man in his late 30's-early 40's. It was lovely for me to share this special evening with such a range of people, emphasising to me how my faith is shared by all walks of life :-)

The part of the service that sticks with me the most, was when the bishop asked us if we were ready for this step, but not just with our minds, with our hearts. He told a story of when he had been hesitant with the paths that God seemed to be guiding him along. The first being when he went to Ethiopia. He thought only for three years, but he actually ended up staying 9! Then he was being called back to become the Bishop of Reading, and again he hesitated, not sure if he was ready. He told us that hesitation is a natural part of being human; we won't always be sure that we are following the right paths, but if we trust in God and believe with all our hearts, we will do the right thing. So, all he asked of us, was that our hearts were ready to accept God and be filled with his light and love, even if our minds were not quite there yet! He told me after that he could tell I was fully ready, as I spent the whole service just beaming!


I am so glad and grateful for this new chapter in my life and step forward with my faith! It was lovely that my vicar Brenda, her mum Mary and my mum all came along to support me too! Brenda also gave me a beautiful cross as a gift, which was just sooo lovely of her! I 'm still carrying on meeting up with her, continuing my journey and learning from the Bible. Next time we meet, I am going to have to make sure that I have my little 'thank you' gift all sorted, but I have no idea what to give her!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Random Act of Kindness

Charity has been on my thoughts a lot lately. With all the suffering in the world I keep seeing and reading about, it's no wonder!
However, these thoughts have really been building up now, in the run up to Christmas and the turning of the seasons towards winter. I keep thinking that I want to do more, to help more people, but I never seem to quite know what to do or how to help.

The concert I went to with my mum to watch Il Divo, turned into a chance for me to help someone, even though it was only a small act.
As we all filed out into the streets after the concert, there sat on the floor at the bottom of the stairs, was a man, wrapped in a sleeping bag, head down, begging. He was totally silent, with just a hat place in front of him.  I only watched him for a few moments, before I decided that I wanted to give him a bit of money. Before I got to him, I watched a woman place a few coins in his hat and walk away. Most people ignored him or pretended that he wasn't there. As I walked over to him, preparing just to place my coins in his hat, something just made me want to do a little more. So I crouched down next to him and asked him his name. It took a couple of tries before he actually looked up and saw that I was talking to him. I looked into the eyes of a tired, sad face and I just wanted to cry. We talked for a few moments, he told me that he was Edward. I said I was so sorry that he was homeless, and asked God to bless him. Before he left, I stayed beside him, and I learnt that he had been homeless for 15 years. As he left, with my money and others now safely tucked in his pocket (or possibly his bag, I don't remember exactly) he said goodbye and we waved at each other.

Now I know I only gave this man a few pounds and the hope that he could find a hot drink somewhere, but I think actually talking to him was the more important part for me. I wonder how many times we pass homeless people on the street, everyday without giving them a single glance or thought? Or the, 'I have seen you, but I'm going to pretend that I didn't' move, or even worse, some judgemental thought along the lines of 'why don't you just get a job!' etc.

I think that this has actually reinforced in me the need to do some charity work. I have been getting so much stronger and better over the last few weeks, so I think the time has come to find someone to help! Off to look at the volunteer opportunities in my local area, in just a moment.

The other thing it has made me realise is just how fortunate I am.
Sure, I have a mental illness, that causes me no end of problems, but I also have 2 beautiful healthy children. I have loving family and friends and a roof over my head. I have clothes to wear (even if some are holey and very very old!) and more than enough food and water to eat and drink.
I am more blessed than so many, and for that I am truly thankful!

I wonder if this year, in the run up to Christmas, we could all take a moment and think of those less fortunate than ourselves. A random act of kindness can go a long way, no matter how small!

Friday, 31 October 2014

I love Il Divo!!

Well, I managed to complete another of my Day Zero Project challenges this week by going to watch Il Divo at the BIC in Bournemouth on Wednesday, with my mum!

Here we are waiting for them to start!


If you have no idea who they are, then briefly, they are 4 gorgeous singers with use their classical / operatic techniques to sing a wide range of musical genres! David, Sebastien, Carlos and Urs have now been together for 10 years making music in their own Il Divo style! This is the first time that I have ever seen them live and they were just amazing!!



Sorry for the poor quality photos, but I took them of the souvenir brochure I bought!

Sunday, 12 October 2014

This is me.

So, for yet another time in my life, I have hit rock-bottom. Not surprising since I have just had my divorce through, found out The Ex is engaged and now also has a baby on the way!
Things got so bad that my depression pinged and the kids have been staying with their dad (well more like his parents!) since last Thursday night when I fell apart. They are going to keep the kids with them until Thursday and I am so so grateful - flowers, choccies and beers will def be sent as a huge thank you!!

So now, I have finally got my butt out of bed and washed and dressed, I have decided that it is time to take a long hard look at myself; who am I? What do I want / need? etc. I think usually I start making these elaborate 'Plans' of what I'm going to do next and focus on next, without ever bothering to take a look at the starting point! Usually, my plans start really well, but then run out of steam pretty soon, (usually because I get ill again!) Maybe I expect too much of myself, and set unrealistic goals? Maybe I think of too many 'projects' and things I want to sort and change, giving me too much to cope with? Whatever the reason, I am now ready to face who I am. I'm also scared and a bit emotional (thanks depression!!) at what I think I am now!

Ok, no more putting it off....

This is me:

I am 32. I've not got a problem with age, thankfully! It's just a number. You know the old saying  'you're as old as you feel' well I can actually make that a bad thing! I can often feel about my actual age on a good day, but mostly I feel like I'm 85, tired and totally worn out!

I have 2 children. I'm a mum, a SAHM. I often think I am a rubbish mum. I don't have the energy or patience I want to have and think I need in order to be a good mum. I love my kids and they mean the world to me, but  I need a break from them from time to time. This is the first real break I've had from my kids in term time, ever. I do my best, but it's not good enough at the moment, I always want to do more. My Little Man is still dealing with his dad leaving our home, but he's getting there. My Little Miss is finding her independence and just has so much energy that I can't keep up! I know I am blessed to have them, having suffered a miscarriage, but I feel like I'm letting them down at the moment.

I live with my parents. I am so blessed and grateful to have my amazing parents here, supporting me. My mum is amazing, especially by helping with the kids, but she too has reached breaking point. This break from the kids will benefit all of us really! Also, it will allow the guilt of putting even more pressure on my poor mum, where she has to do what I can't, to have a break too! Living at home is brilliant, but I often feel like I'm not a 'real mum' as I don't run the house, or make the decisions, for example, buying groceries or what we are going to have for dinner - all those little annoying things that 'normal' mums do, I don't. I think I've sat back and accepted that my mum makes the decisions - she does like to be in control of things, so I let her and just go with the flow. I want to have more of a say, to help out more and do more. In time I think I will.

I have some serious problems. Depression - it has been coming along and kicking me off balance now for the past 15 years and I hate it! I hate how every time I seem to finally be getting better something will happen and back my depression drags me, right back to the bottom of the spiral. Back into the darkness, where I have to claw my way up the slippery slope, back towards the light and a happier place. It is exhausting living in this cycle! A lot of the time, I just think, 'why bother, why not end it now?' but I'm too much of a coward to listen to that negative voice and actually act on it - thank God!
Self-harming. I have been attacking my skin since I was about 12 years old, when I got bullied. It is routine, it happens daily and can escalate when I'm doing really bad. It happens more when I'm stressed. I think it might be a bit of ocd, as any imperfection I see on my skin - spot, mark, pimple has to go. A doctor told me once that he thought I had something called 'dermatitis atrefacta' but it never really went anywhere. I can't stop it, I've tried. At the moment, I attack my chest, face and left arm, but occasionally my legs too. It sucks, as I know that each time I pick my skin, I am re-infecting it and so the cycle keeps going!

I am over weight. I hate this, but I have started to work on it. Since The Ex left, I have lost about 3 stone in weight (mostly due to stress!) I have tried to improve my diet and exercise more (eating better, cutting out diet pepsi, started kickboxing), but at the moment, I am emotionally eating and have become a couch potato!

I am unemployed and on benefits. I hate this so so much! I want to be able to provide for my family myself, but my health prevents me. I hate knowing that if only I was better now, then my new life could finally begin! I want to work so badly and I would do anything, absolutely any job, as long as it gave me a chance to earn 'my own' money, I would do it! But then I think, who would want to employ me, when there are hundreds of healthy, fit, reliable people out there also looking for a job? I desperately want to do something to help others - like voluntary work, but I'm scared. I'm scared that no one will want me. I'm scared of having any responsibility at all, in case I let them down.

I think I'm lonely. I am blessed with amazing friends and family, but since The Ex left me, there has been a hole in my heart. An ache that comes from losing who I thought was the love of my life. He's been part of my whole adult life, we had been together since I was 17 and he was my first real boyfriend! So I think lonely and heartbroken pretty much suit my situation!

Ok, it's not all doom and gloom! I do have a couple of things I do like about myself ;-)

 I have cool eyes that change colour dramatically. Depending on my mood or what I'm wearing, my eyes change from bright blue, to greeny-blue to bluey-grey. Most of the time, I have a bluey-green colour, but very happy me is bright blue and the total opposite is bluey-grey! Thankfully, I don't often have bluey-grey coloured eyes!

I believe in God and am a Christian. I love Jesus and am trying to live my life in a way that reflects my beliefs. I am very early in my Christian journey, but for the first time in such a long time, knowing that God loves me and protects me, has made me a little less afraid of the world! I pray every night, and have a long list of friends and family who I ask God to give an extra special blessing to - it grows continually ;-) I go to Church as often as I can, usually when I am well enough to wake up early enough to make it! I am working towards my Confirmation in November and I am so excited! I have been reading the Bible and learning lots of new things, but I want to have a bigger Christian life than just reading and praying! I want to join the Christian community and help others and learn more about being a Christian!

I want to help others. I know there are many in this world who are in need, that I have more things than most; a home, food, clothes, family, friends so lots to be grateful for! Being on benefits, I feel morally wrong spending 'other people's' money on charities, even though I feel they deserve it! I have limited myself to putting spare change in charity boxes and spending £8 a year supporting the British Red Cross.
I also try to help by donating to charity shops. Every time we tidy and sort a room in the house, unwanted things are bagged and donated to one of the charity shops in town. The only things that are kept to sell are big items that belong to my mum! I'm not one for trying to squeeze every last penny out of my unwanted things, by selling them on Ebay or Facebook. If I don't want it and it can be of use to someone, then off to charity it goes!
Finally I am a big believer in trying to help change things in the world. I know I can't make a big difference, but if by signing my name to a petition I feel strongly about, or sending a letter to my local MP helps someone in the world, then sign away I do! I have a number of sites that I get sent petitions from Avaaz, Care2, SumOfUs and 38 Degrees. I can't believe some of the shocking things I have seen happening around the word! I hope that by signing and sharing these causes with others, then changes can start to happen and the lives of others get better!

I keep trying to improve myself. I read lots of amazing bloggs and follow lots of inspirational people on Pinterest and Facebook to learn new crafts, or parenting tips, or positive thinking! I google all kinds of things, but mostly methods to help me be a better mum. I have pages and pages on Pinterest of all the things I want to do - crafts, activities for my kids, places I want to visit, recipes I want to cook. I have my Day Zero Project to keep me going and trying new things. I may get knocked down for a bit, but I keep trying to get better, I haven't yet given up!

I think I am feeling a bit better since I began writing this post! I know I have some difficult things going on in my life at the moment, but there are also plenty of positives!

To summarise my dreadful waffle (sorry about that!)

I'm a 32 year old, stay at home mum of 2 children, who lives with her parents. I have severe depression and self harm, this makes it hard for me to work and so I'm unemployed and live off benefits. I have just come out of a relationship, so I'm feeling lonely and a bit heartbroken. I have hit rock bottom, but there are still things to be positive about! I am a Christian, who likes to help others and I have funky eyes that change colour ;-) I have more than most and just want to get better so I can earn my own money to support my family. I have a lot to give if I am brave enough to try, and I know that I will always keep trying to improve my life and others!

This is where I will be looking back to in 6 months time to see what has changed - hopefully quite a lot!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Paying-it-forward challenge complete!

I have been trying to get back on track with my Day Zero Projects, which have been sadly neglected for a while!
So, this week, I got on with my challenge of sending 5 (I only had 3 agree to join the fun!) people a random gift sometime before the end of the year.

One was a friend, Clare, who I saw a couple of weekends back. She and her new partner are expecting a baby, and arguing over possible names! So, I offered to get her a baby names book, which I popped in the posted this week. I know, technically not a surprise, but something useful all the same ;-)

The next was a girl I worked with as a waitress, Charlote. I had no idea what to get her! Then I got thinking about her facebook page, and all the posts where she looks so beautiful (as she does!) so I decided to get her a £10 Boots voucher. Then she could treat herself to something!

Finally, the lovely Jen over at Jennifer's Little World, agreed to be my third person. I LOVE following her blog and all the crafting she does! So I wondered if there was something I could get her to do with crafting - I looked over her posts for ideas and even through her Day Zero Project list, for some clue. I decided in the end, that I was so worried I would send something she already had, that a £10 Amazon voucher would allow her to choose something she actually wants or needs!

Now I hope that they continue the challenge and send their gifts on to 5 other people :-)

I am now officially divorced.

When I think back over the last year, these were words that I thought I would be really happy to see in black and white, but that's not the case. I thought that I would be having a 'New Beginnings Party' with some of my friends, celebrating the end of one chapter and the start of a new one, but I haven't.
I have actually taken the news quite badly! Which has taken me completely by surprise!
But is it surprising that I am low and sad, when you think of the fact the The Ex was my first ever real boyfriend? That we had been friends since I was 9 years old and finally progressed to in a relationship when I reached 17. That after our 4 year engagement, (which started on my 18th birthday) we made it to 9 years of marriage - so a grand total of 14 years together! That he really hurt me when he left and started up a relationship with a friend of ours! That he didn't even wait to be divorced before he got engaged to his latest girlfriend!
Hmmm... when you look over the last year, I think I'm entitled to a few weeks of feeling like crap! I never really had many tears when he first left - I had 2 kids to look after (with a heap of help from my family) plus a massive crisis in my depression to get over at the same time. I guess I buried every feeling, put on my brave 'it's all ok' face and carried on.
Happily, it's not all doom and gloom, I genuinely have no ill will towards The Ex and am extremely happy for him! His family and I have recently mended our relationship and I am so touched that they will always see me as family, no matter what!
I guess I just feel a little lonely now. I would love to have a special someone to talk to. Someone to give me hugs and kisses and tell me that everything is going to be ok. Someone to go on dates with and have a bit of fun with! My new soul mate. I know that he is out there somewhere, but that I'm not quite ready for any of that yet.
I'm going to focus on getting me better (I'm already doing sooo much better than this time last year!) being the best mum and daughter I can be and finally continuing to help sort out our home - massive progress made already!
At least, I'll continue to do that, when I find where my 'get up and go, has got up and gone to' ;-)