28 11 / 2012
27 11 / 2012
There are occasions in my life when I realise I see things very differently from those around me! Not that I am automatically right, and others wrong- just I am different. I wish this truth liberated me - but sadly at times it limits me! My desire to conform can be some what limiting!
The other Saturday I was enjoying the peace of an empty house decorating away, when a large group of lads (with the token swooning girl in tow) decided they were bored so would hang out in our street. Some trampolined on the bushes, others sat chatting, while the gymnastic practised their Parkour skills on our wall. This climbing up and jumping down is not a new thing for these lads, and to be fair it does not bother me, there is a lot worse bored teenagers could be doing! After about 5 minutes I heard something smash! Only then did I pay any real attention to what they were doing to see several of my belongings in the road (along with some smashed gnomes from the garden- Hence the noise). The lads had obviously been in our yard and garage and had started throwing our stuff over the wall to entertain themselves. They had not throw anything of real value, we are talking wellies, recycling, garden toys, camping pots and pans! The brand new car stereo and bikes were untouched! The gnomes they had thrown were the already damaged ones. These were just bored lads showing off, and I responded from my gut. I went to the back yard and chatted to them! I found 2 lads in the garage and calmly asked them what they were doing, and asked them how they would feel if someone had gone into their house and thrown their stuff about, or their little brother or sisters stuff about. Their first response was one of ‘what’s your problem’ with no sign that what they were doing was in anyway unacceptable! One lad on his way out of the garage pushed me, resulting in me falling over - mainly because of my own clumsy fault, and then,I think in a panic, he told me if I told the police he would ‘cut me’ and called me some lovely names. I was shaken that someone had been in the garage and messing with our stuff but the threats or encounter were no worse than a bad Friday night youth club. My feelings after the event were sadness that they, one- thought it was okay to mess with people’s stuff, two -really did have nothing else to do and three - that my response could have been more loving! My other feeling was that of how much I loved my job as a youth worker - especially spending time with ‘naughty boys’ who speak and act before they think but normally are braving it out to hide how weak they feel! One of the reasons we got into fostering was to hopefully make a difference in the lives of lads like that.
Now here is when I realised I am a freak!!! I posted a status on Facebook about what had happened and how it made me miss youth work - and a lot of comments later I was in shock!!! Many people stood in defence of me, though commented that it is not what they would have done, but I also received comments, text messages, and calls that accused me of risking the children’s lives as I could of been stabbed then they would of moved in on the children, and that others may be harmed as I did not call the police and get them off the street. I was told my actions were pointless as they would not change those lads. I was told I should have shouted, I should of used violence, I should of hidden, I should of called the police- and that ‘as a woman and mother’ (but lets not get onto the gender issue now!) I should not have been so foolish. I was shocked with the response, one that people thought I had no wisdom to judge the safety of a situation, but two the sheer lack of love people seemed to have for others. My actions were not about changing those lads, they were about loving them. At the time I tried not to defend my actions, especially on Facebook, but after much provocation I replied my saying - my response may not change them, but it changes me. I choose to be calm and loving, because anything else means they win.
On reflection I have learnt three things. 1. Loving people is a tough choice 2. I am different 3. Be careful what you write on Facebook!!!!!
One accusation was that of how as Ivy’s mother could I have been so stupid as to risk my safety! As Ivy’s mother I guess my view point is completely reversed! I would genuinely rather Ivy knew something happened to me because I choice to be loving to someone, than she knew I had gone out and shouted at, hurt, or responded disproportionately in hatred towards someone. I want to model to her loving first - despite the cost. So My aim is to remain foolishly loving, believing the best in people. This means I am going to have to get used to seeing things differently sometimes - I just hope I am strong enough to accept that I am a freak (and at times a misguided one!!!) because I want to choose love and set my daughter an example worth following.
24 11 / 2012
23 11 / 2012
22 11 / 2012
I think Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday. I love the opportunity to stop, and be grateful for all I have. A set point to focus on all that is positive.
This year has not been an easy one for lots of reasons, but yet I have so much to be truly thankful for.
I have an amazing husband, who chooses to love me even when I least deserve it.
I have 3 wonderful children who are a source of delight
My life is littered with inspiring and encouraging people who enrich my life greatly - in fact it is shameful how surrounded I am with greatness.
I have health, wealth and a house - three things that are often taken for granted, but rarities in this world.
I have the job of my dreams, and a job I choose to do.
I like myself (sometimes)- and that has taken a while to achieve, but maybe one of my greatest accomplishments! (well apart from the fact that Ivy, thanks to my coaching, can recognise the abbey road album cover - that maybe my actual greatest achievement!)
So many thanks, it is shameful how often I forget!
Today I am thankful, how could I not be!
17 11 / 2012
15 11 / 2012
12 11 / 2012
"Quality means doing it right when no one is looking."
10 11 / 2012
It is strange how important cinnamon rolls have become in my life over the last few years. There are several reasons why others may perceive this is so - firstly I make yummy ones, and my friends tell me this, and often request them for birthdays and events. Secondly Ivy is born on world cinnamon roll day, so there is always a joyous event for the first rolls of the season on the 4th October ( yes there is a season! I will bake them from the 4th till the end of January, but that’s it!!! Much to a certain Mr Burn’s sadness, as before Ivy arrived he would always receive the first tray for his birthday on the 2nd) However these two things are actually completely unconnected to my love of baking (and eating) cinnamon rolls, that is solely down to my love of one man - my Grandpa.
Even being able to write that name cuts me deep! Since he stepped into a better place referring to him as that has been impossible for me. When talking of him I say grandfather, or granddad, names I never used in reality but my subconscious coping mechanism! I never intended to retire that name, but to use it admits he’s gone, and I still don’t think that is something I can do.
For those who did not know him, your life was lacking. I don’t mean that in a pat eulogy way that is incapable of speaking ill of the dead and white washes their wrongs and turns all deceased into saints. He was flawed, but also an amazing man. He taught me to look outside of myself and love unconditionally. He taught me to appreciate what I have, as many have a lot less. He taught me to be generous and having integrity is a better goal than riches. He taught me that I only need to be defined by my dreams. He taught me to laugh at myself. He taught me it is okay to be different. He taught me to stand up for what is right, despite the cost. But most importantly he taught me I was loved- unconditionally. My favourite quote is by Gandhi- we must be the change we wish to see in the world. My favourite person was him- who showed me how to apply it.
I have so many memories of wonderful times spent in his company. Some huge, some life defining, and some funny and some inconsequential.
I remember working alongside him in the homeless soup kitchen he ran. ( he also built houses with homes for humanity, visited inmates in prisons, and countless other selfless acts of love) I remember him letting me get involved, despite my age and giving me over 100 eggs to scramble! (Now of course I may have been given this job because he couldn’t be trusted with it, as I remember an occasion when while making pancakes his Parkinson’s getting the better of him and the batter ending up all the walls!) I remember him encouraging me on my first visit to go and sit and eat with our guest, telling me they were just like him and would love seeing my smile. He taught me to love, not fear, those who are different from me.
Whenever I see a dry stone wall I will smile at his excited exuberance of how amazing they were on a visit to the Lake District. I laugh as I remember him in telling me how strong they are leaning on it to prove his point - only to knock it down!!!!
I remember chewing gum in the back of his ute.
I remember swimming in the lake at the farm with the dogs
I remember him coming to live with us in the UK for a while as things at home weren’t that easy.
I remember him holding me while I sobbed.
I remember him building a pond with me, because I always wanted one. I don’t ever remember him telling me I couldn’t because I was a girl or too young.
I remember telling him I fancied a chicken soup for lunch ( yes I used to eat meat - it’s a long time ago!) and it taking him hours, as the can said ‘cream of …’ So he thought it needed to be added to a chicken stock, which he made. He taught me a lot about going the extra mile.
I remember him smiling and saying hello to everyone he passed in the street. I remember being mortified and telling him we don’t do that in London! I was firmly told - everyone needs a smile!
I remember so much, a litany of meaningless moments of love and humour. I remember funny songs, and phrases. I remember words of wisdom that I still adhere to. Sorry if I bore you!
When I smell cinnamon I still think of his smile. Returning from school to that smell meant we were not alone, we were safe. The sight of him kneeding bread at the kitchen table, telling us to wash our hands and get involved! Telling us to let it all out, that the bread could take it! To beat and stretch and kneed and have release. I remember one day when I had been scared by a spider him making the dough into one and chasing me with it! When the bread returned from resting, double it’s size him telling me that despite all it had been through it still grew, that nothing would stop it, and the more beats it took the more it would grow. I remember his lessons without explanations- he understood that we got it! He understood us!
When we got the call he was dying I was 8 months into a difficult pregnancy and told I was not allowed to fly to be with him. For that I will be eternally sorry. Not that I did not say a goodbye, but that I let him down at the end. The time I’d last seen him he’d asked me to come to be there for my Mum and Aunty as they would need support. I am so sorry that I failed him, after a lifetime of him saving me. I know he would not see it this way! But head and hearts are hard things to marry sometimes. I guess the distance has also meant that I have never said goodbye properly.
When Ivy was born she took the name of his wife (who died when I was very young) as Colin is not a great girls name! Her arrival on world cinnamon roll day seemed to be somewhat meant to be ( esp as it was 16 days after her official arrival date!) so now when I bake my rolls it is for one reason - my Grandpa. The man who shaped me and my world more than he will ever know. Every time the dough rises i know i can never be beaten and when i smell that cinnamon cooking I know I am safe and loved.
08 11 / 2012
06 11 / 2012
04 11 / 2012
03 11 / 2012
01 11 / 2012
26 10 / 2012