Tuesday, 20 August 2013

A Letter to tuck in your pocket (Letters to)

This is for you to tuck in your pocket. To keep with you through the ups and downs of the day, through the topsy turvy of life. It doesn't matter if you fold it neatly, or scrunch it into a ball, the message will remain. It doesn't matter if you accidentally put it in the wash with your new blue jeans, the words still stand. 

In this season of your life, cherish the blessings, the troubles will soon end.

This, for you, is a beautiful season. You are young, you are healthy. You have a brand new baby boy who is ever changing and amazing you, whose naive and unconditional love and trust for you pushes you forward to be a better person, to set a good example. 

You have so much to sing about, yet your voice is so often silenced. Your eyes can sometimes only see the struggles, the reasons to cry, to close the doors and succumb to the anxiety and fear. Your tunnel vision sees not the beautiful friends and family whose support and guidance could lighten the load, the burden, if you would only let them, but instead sees the solitude of adulthood, the bills which need paying and that light on the dashboard which won't go out and will surely fail the MOT.

You notice how others don't have to look for bargains in the supermarket, or buy the 'own' brands, or justify that Starbucks coffee until they are blue in the face. You wave goodbye to friends as they set off on their holidays, or admire their new driveway or conservatory and you try so hard to just be happy for them. You listen with a smile to their grand wedding plans, you squeal with excitement in the appropriate places but you can't help but compare it to your own budget wedding, the one you will have to do on the cheap if you still want to pay the mortgage in the foreseeable future.

You are scared of what's around the corner, anxious about juggling night shifts with being a full time mother. Let me remind you. This is just a phase in your life, this is not the forever. These times will pass, and the sweet fruits of the season will remain. 

This is a reminder to you, please tuck it in your pocket, keep it close. Cherish the blessings, the God-given miracles of life, build beautiful memories, take many pictures, pray hard and always remember, the troubles will pass, this is just a phase, don't let them block the view of your beautiful season.

And it truly is a beautiful season.


Linking up this fortnight with the lovely Ruth @ learning {one day at a time} for the fantastic Letters To link up. This fortnights prompt is 'Letter to tuck in your pocket'.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Why it's been a great day

 How many times do we hear people say 'it's been a great day today!'. Well I don't know about you but this is not something I hear very often. Usually it's 'been a hard day', 'been a tiring day' or 'same old same old'.

For me, today has been a great day, and I will tell you why.

Today has been a great day because I woke up with a roof over my head, because I awoke warm and dry and comfortable next to a man who loves me.
Today has been a great day because I had more then enough food in my cupboards to fill my child's hungry belly.
Today has been a great day because I spoke to one amazing friend on the phone, and shared cups of warm tea with two other equally amazing ladies.
Today has been a great day because my son slept for two solid hours during nap time this morning. Today has been great because when his pasta dinner got stuck in his throat, one slap on his back turned his panicked face back to a smile, and as he breathed again, I breathed again.
Today has been a great day because as of right now, my hard working husband-to-be still has a job. 
Today has been a great day because I had time this evening to enjoy sweet tea before bed and read about beauty and grace and wisdom shared through writing.

To many, this might be a boring day, certainly nothing extraordinary. But I say this is a fantastic day.

How easy it is to forget those in the world who do not awake to warmth, or even safety. Who fear their starving children might not make it through the day without food or clean water. How many are losing loved ones to illness or accidents. How many people are alone with no one to confide in, no shoulder to cry upon and no hope to hang on to.

It is all too easy to view our lives as mundane, to covet what others have, to wish for more. It is not as easy to remember the many blessings disguised within the everyday.

So please, dear reader, I urge you..take note of the hidden, hum-drum blessings and be thankful each and every day, for those are the details that make your day a great one!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Letter to the one who noticed (Letters to)

You might have noticed the way I breeze through the corridor with a melody on my lips, with a rhythm in my hips and a spring in my step. But do you notice that there is a song in my heart? Do you notice the small moments where my palms are ever so slightly tilted towards the heavens, where my eyelids flutter closed for a brief second or two?

You might have noticed the beautifully designed book which so regularly holds my interest, adorned with butterflies and flowers in the sweetest shade of pink, and you may have wondered what it is that intrigues me so. But do you notice the way I clutch it to my person, embracing the bindings between readings like a child reluctant to let go of a security blanket?

Some of you might have noticed my ability to smile through the terrifying and maintain optimism through the hard times. But do you notice the fleeting words of praise that keep me steady, the whispered butterflies of thanks and please that give me hope?

Look deeper, and you might notice. It is no secret. It is not just for me. God wants us to lift our hearts and voice to him, to sing praise with every soulful note within us. He wants us to immerse ourselves in his word, so we can show Jesus' love to others. He wants us to stand firm against him in all our struggles, to trust in Him and spread hope to the hopeless, strength to the weary and help to those in need.

So through my troubles I will keep singing, I will keep reading, learning and growing.

I will keep smiling and I pray that you will keep noticing. 

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
John 13:34-35

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Today's 'Letters to' is 'Letter to the one who noticed'. The link is now open and ready to receive all your wonderful posts! 
The next 'Letters to' will be on the 20th August with the delightful Ruth Povey over at Learning {one day at a time} and the prompt will be 'Letter to tuck in your pocket'.


Saturday, 3 August 2013

When 'how are you?' is not worth saying

The calls come interspersed between loads of laundry and sprays of polish. I hear the 'quack quack' over the whirr of the washing machine (yes, my ring tone is a duck!) Immediately my hands are empty and reaching for the phone, certain that the caller will be one of a small handful of people I look forward to hearing from. And it usually is (when it's not someone encouraging me to claim back PPI!) 

With the phone tucked snugly between ear and shoulder, I resume folding clothes and washing dishes - It's probably going to be a long chat!
'How are you?' is not worth saying, we already know, we probably spoke only days, maybe hours before. We share stories of the day, the things that made us smile and the hilarious things our children did that morning. We explain our worries and fears and re-assure each other that we too are feeling the same, that you are not alone. We discuss the deep issues, the anxieties, the depressions, the longing for more, and we encourage each other, we share love and life and experiences. 

Most importantly, we build each other up where others tear us down.

Where would I be without my small handful of dear friends, without my therapists, my cheerleaders, my mentors...my sisters. Who would I be without those who make me brave, who make me kind, who guide and mold my life without intention, who simply care enough to call amidst the frenzy of raising children and juggling the responsibilities of life.

As hours pass and husbands fall asleep alone, and we really must go but just one more thing! - and it doesn't matter if the signal fails or the battery dies, because the next time I'm cleaning skirting boards and I hear the 'quack quack', my hands will be emptied, my ears and heart ready to listen, and I'm reaching for the phone.

Story (Five minute friday)

He sat in the same chair day in, day out. It was close enough to the television to enable him to watch the few programs he enjoyed, but far enough away from everyone that he wouldn't have to make conversation. He liked his chair to face the window and became very angry when the red alarm button was not in his good hand. 

He was one of thirty people living in the home, which to him, meant he might as well be invisible. His eyes would almost pop straight out of their sockets when he was angry, and gloss over when he had given up trying.

Outwardly, he appeared to be miserable, a man who could not accept his fate, chained to a wheelchair rendering him helpless in the hands of carers, carers who tried to please him with their smiles and 'good mornings' and 'mmm treacle for pudding today!' which can only have highlighted to him how treacle and smiles from strangers was the only thing he had to look forward to.

But then there was his wife. As able bodied as minded, she would visit him a few times a week. Still very much in love, his face would soften at the sight of her. His eyes glossing over once again, this time drowning in memories instead of fighting painful tears.

I sat with him one afternoon, after his wife had planted kisses on his lips and lifted his spirits enough in the few hours she was there to last him until the next visit. I can still remember his smile, so warming and rare. I sensed an opportunity in that moment, a chink in his well crafted armour. I sat myself in the chair closest to him, leaned in and said 'so what's your story?'.

And he told me.

He told me about his days as a soldier. He told me about war and how he had witnessed so many awful things. He told me, that he met his wife the very day he returned, was married 6 months later and has loved her ever since.  He continued  reminiscing as I hoisted him into his wheelchair, and as I maneuvered him into his box bedroom. Still we walked down memory lane as I handed him his toothbrush and helped him into his pyjamas.

He smiled as he placed his head on the pillow, still glowing with the warmth of beautiful memories relived. And as I switched off the light, and walked down the quiet corridor, bedroom after bedroom, I wondered how many others were keeping their own secret memories locked inside, waiting for someone to ask 'What's your story?'.

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for Five minute friday! This week's prompt is 'Story'.
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