Wednesday wonders: support network

Things are difficult at the moment; I can’t really explain why it’s just a part of the situation. However I am SO grateful that I have had a network of people around me. This network have consisted of regularly texting as well as meeting up with me for walks or coffee. Sometimes this allows me to talk through the issues going on but sometimes it’s just nice to spend time talking about nothing.

Do you have a support network?

I think one of the most important elements of a support network is having a range of people that you can turn to at different times. I think I would definitely say that there are certain people I would go to for different areas of my life. But there are also different people who look out for me and make those first steps.

That’s the other important aspect of support networks that they have to be two sided. Times when we need to take the step to seek support from others and times when we need to accept support that is being offered to us. It’s so easy for us to hide when we need to talk or to hide when others are talking to us and yet we need to take responsibility.

We also provide that support for others. That’s where it becomes a network.

Wednesday Wonders: all change please…

This week the husband has started a new apprenticeship, that is one of a number of changes that are taking place at the moment.

How do you feel about change?

Many people find the concept of change scary, whether it’s a change in lifestyle or a change in theme tune. However, as the picture above shows, change is sometimes necessary.

If being particularly picky then you would point out that we are changing constantly as we breathe, as our skin replaces itself, and as we gain information. Does it make it easier to face change if we accept that change is sometimes necessary and that is happening constantly anyway?

I’m not sure if it necessarily makes it easier to face, but I think it helps us to make the changes and gives the necessary support. We see change all around us in the natural world which would suggest it’s meant to be a part of life and we should just accept it and move with it.

So as the husband and I both move into a time of change it’s important to remember that change is part of life, it can be scary but it leads to something new and becomes part of our story – personally I find that quite exciting.

Wednesday wonders: what do you sea?

Each Wednesday I am going to be starting a specific blog post ‘Wednesday wonders’ I will still be writing other blogs but want to try and get a specific routine.

Last week we went to Deal, a favourite seaside town near us. We walked along the seafront and ate our lunch overlooking the sea.

The husband pointed out that there is something quite relaxing about the sea but we couldn’t work out exactly what it is. maybe it’s the waves going in and out; maybe it’s the vast expanse; maybe the way it joins the clouds; maybe just that it’s something different; or something else. Whatever the reason, most people I know find the seaside relaxing. My dad always loved overlooking the cliffs of Dover and if my mum ever went on a ferry she would favour going on the deck for the full experience.

We are very lucky with where we live and that we are able to get to the seaside so easily. We know that we find the seaside relaxing I guess the challenge is to make sure we go as frequently as we can.

What is it that makes you feel relaxed? Do you know what it is about that thing that makes you feel relaxed? Is that point of relaxation your first port of call when you need it?

I know that I can’t go to the sea every time I feel stressed but at least I know that is one place that helps me relax and I know of other things as well. I’m not always the greatest at using them but I’m getting better.

I didn’t drop the baby!

“I didn’t drop the baby” a sentence I’ve said a few times over the last few days!

We’ve just returned from a few days back home. There was a gathering of family and friends which included a primary school friend who had a baby about two and a half months ago. When I had confirmation that they were hoping to come along I was excited to see her for the first time in ages, and to meet the baby, but also I was slightly apprehensive about holding him. I twitch regularly, I’ve got plenty of protection on my phone for the number of times I drop it, and I bump into things. You can probably see where this is going… I was concerned that these things would happen if I held the baby.

However when they came, I didn’t think about it at all. When I was able to I held the baby, we went for a little walk to the conservatory, took a seat, a little walk back before he went back to his mum. It wasn’t until the guests had left, we’d tidied up and I suddenly announced “I didn’t drop the baby”.

There are times when we can get caught up in things that worry us, those things can sometimes stop us from doing what we need to or want to. It’s difficult to put those worries aside but that’s what sometimes helps. I honestly don’t know what happened that meant I was able to hold the baby and stay holding him but I imagine if I’d been thinking about what I thought ‘could’ happen I probably wouldn’t have held him in the first place.

We can’t let our worries take over our lives. We can’t stop doing things because of our concerns. I get frustrated with my brain, as frequent readers will know, there are times when I don’t do things because I’m scared. My challenge is to get back to the time when I just lived life, when I held my friends babies without question.

Hmmmmmmmm challenge is definitely the right word!

Are you on a journey?

Today we went on the Severn Valley Railway; specifically a steam train from Kidderminster to Bridgenorth. On the return journey the husband made a very interesting point. Considering we had caught trains up from Canterbury to Birmingham the other day, he found this experience more relaxing. Why? Because you could feel that you were moving and that you were heading on a journey.

If you are a regular reader you may be noticing a theme at the moment! I think the steam train is a good metaphor for life. If we don’t feel like we’re on a journey there’s a possibility of getting blasé; or stopping; or maybe even getting worked up and completely reliant upon announcements! However with the steam train life, it might not be comfortable and you might be fully aware of the journey through movements; chuggs; and horn blasts but you know you’re moving and you know there’s a destination.

Final metaphor moment… there was a stop mid journey where we got off for about an hour, looked round an exhibition and had a coffee. When we went back to the platform the train was on the middle tracks. It had to reverse out of sight to get on to the right tracks for us to be able to continue the journey. How often have you felt like you’re going backwards? Or that the journey isn’t possible at all because you don’t have the equipment? Sometimes that’s necessary to move forward we need to go back or we need to stop in order to move forward.

Absolutely finally none of it would have been possible without the driver and the rest of the team. Who is guiding your journey?

Where is your belief?

Watching the Olympics I have heard the word belief A LOT! When participants have been asked about their performance they have spoken about belief in themselves but also belief in their teams and from their teammates. That belief gave them a strength that they possibly didn’t realise they had.

When I looked up the word belief it said “trust, faith or confidence in someone or something” that’s what these olympians need, and it’s a great example for us to follow. Many of the contestants have been making the heart shape with their hands, as shown above. I think this has been because of the lack of support in the stadiums this year. They have been showing their encouragement to each other but also as recognition of the result of the encouragement they have received.

Belief is often associated with religions or the spiritual, and I think this is linked with another definition “an acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof”. People believe in aspects of spirituality for many different reasons, maybe because of things they have been told or experienced; but it is their belief and that belief then gives them trust and confidence in the future.

So where does your belief lie? Is it in God? Or in yourself? Or maybe it relies on other people? I imagine for many people, although one maybe stronger it’s actually a mixture of more than one. The belief I have in myself comes from a belief in a God who created and loves me, but also from a community of people who believe in me as well. It’s taken me time to realise this, and to accept that I NEED that community at times when I’m struggling to find any belief in myself; but that’s OK when it’s all part of the journey.

I’m going to end this blog with the chorus of the title song of the movie ‘the Prince of Egypt’ hopefully you’ll see why – especially if you’re familiar with the movie!

“There can be miracles; When you believe; Though hope is frail, it’s hard to kill. Who knows what miracles you can achieve; When you believe, somehow you will; You will when you believe”

Who are ya?

I am in the process of completing this cross stitch that I was given as a birthday present. Just after I had started it I was watching the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. Whilst I was watching there was a flag bearer who was wearing a gold sequin face mask. The commentators made a big deal about this because they said it made sense that she was going to the games with the mind-set of “I’m aiming to win Gold”. What’s the point of going for bronze? Yes the participation is important but there is always an aim for a Gold medal!

I then looked at my cross stitch. Do I need to have a different idea of who I am and what controls me? Do I need to have a different focus? I’m not sure of the answers but I think it’s something that is going to be on my mind in coming months.

Then when I went to Church this morning my friend was speaking on John 6:1-21 which is the story of Jesus feeding the 5000 and then walking on water. We were reminded that as Jesus was walking on water towards his disciples he said “do not be afraid it is me”. Yes the disciples are in a storm but they are also aware that have a miracle worker with them.

I feel I’m in a storm at the moment if completely honest. After Church this morning I was reminded I’m not in that storm on my own. THAT is part of who I am – believing that I’m not on my own, yes there will be times when I’m in storms but I can make it through. When I get through the storm I might be a different version of me but I’m still me and still not walking alone.

I think it’s important to have an equivalent of a gold face mask but we can’t let it take over. It can be a symbol for encouragement but essentially we need to be who we are, walking the journey we are on, changing as we need to and accepting it as it comes.

Lost

I can’t imagine that there is anyone who has never lost something. Maybe keys, an item of clothing, a ticket, the remote, and many more. What do we do when we have lost something? We look in various places, retrace our steps, lift up things, and probably ask other people.

How about when we feel lost ourselves? Again I imagine this something that most people have experienced.

Our actions will probably depend upon the cause of the loss in the first place. Is it relationships? Family? Work? Religion?

No matter what the cause of loss I think one thing that is essential is faith, faith that whatever has been lost will be found, or that something new can take the place. That is incredibly easier said than done. So how can it be done? I find that this is where other people come in. By talking things through there are paths that are found, it may take a number of walks down different paths which leads to tiredness, exhaustion and possibly even anxiety but one of those may lead to a place of comfort, belonging, clarity.

We all experience loss off some description, we need to make a decision about choosing to find, but I’m sure it is easier if we also choose to ask for help with the search.

Juxtaposed

Dad and Gav

The end of May and beginning of June is now such a time of juxtaposition for me. My birthday on the 31st May and then today (1st June) is the anniversary of dad leaving us.

Yesterday I celebrated my 40th birthday, and I was so pleased that I was able to celebrate with friends and especially happy that mum was able to come down from Birmingham. However there was a notable loss – dad sitting in his chair under a tree being visited by friends and, I imagine, causing trouble of some description and telling stories of me as a child and most definitely being sarcastic!

Today marks two years since dad left us, there’s part of me thinking it seems longer, but also part of me that thinks it seems no time at all. The simplest things remind me of him and the relationship we had.

White cliffs of Dover

Since mum came down we made sure we went to the white cliffs of dover which was dads favourite spot, especially sitting on the edge watching the ships come in. Then yesterday the husband did a speech saying we were like ships always coming in to safety. Life is strange, we never really know what’s going to happen. Yes, dad has left us physically but he will always be a part of my life and there will always be memories and reminders.

Eye of a storm

Yesterday I essentially got blown down to the bus station as the winds were so high. However, once I got to work, and was in my room although I could hear the wind blowing outside I was safe indoors. The eye of a storm is the centre of something like a cyclone, with crazy weather around it, but actually clear itself.

About three weeks ago I felt I was in a storm myself. In the space of 9 days I was crying at some point for 7 of them. I was ignoring close friends, and allowing things to get on top of me, and to be overwhelmed. One day I went for a walk with the husband we were talking. By speaking to him about what had been going on, but more importantly how I had been feeling, we were able to decipher what might help.

I’m someone who needs people even if sometimes it is just a “hello” as I also enjoy being alone! Must be very confusing for others. New situations at work mean I’m hidden away but also that everyone is running around; so to actually see anyone either to say hello or to spend time is difficult. However, for me to recognise that that wasn’t helping me, has, in itself, helped.

At the moment we don’t know what the weather is doing minute to minute let alone day to day; but we can be prepared for all conditions. I didn’t have a clue what was going on with me a few weeks ago. I couldn’t control the tears, and the way I was responding, but now I feel that when I’m in a storm-type scenario I can get to the eye. Knowing the storms are always going to be there but it is possible to move to safer ground.

(Apologies for any meteorological errors in the metaphor!)