mountains.

It feels like I’ve not blogged for a cetury.  My iphone keeps me so connected with people that I can drop snippets of thoughts all the time rather than sit and be proactively thoughtful.  Lazy lazy.

I tweeted earlier this week that I’m now prescription meds free in over 16 months.  Yep, paracetamol is my drug of choice now.  And my hot water water bottle.  I love waking up in the morning feeling tired in the regular way instead of through the fuzz of amitriptyline.  It’s like I’ve come out of hibernation.

I’m confident to start building my walking up now.  One of the challenges I gave myself was to climb a mountain before I turned 30 this summer.  I guess I’ve climbed a whole other kind of mountain but it would be awesome if I could do a real one.  I expect it’ll be later than I thought – I may have to transfer it to what I want to do before I’m 40, ha! But I need to get stronger anyhow, so it makes sense to have an incentive.  I just need to find the lowest mountain in the uk…!

 

 

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rest.

It’s not often you get the chance to stop.  To really stop.  Even when I’ve been forced to lie in bed with lots of ice on my back, I worked from my laptop.  And then I’d hear the girls sqeal, either out of joy or distress and I’d force my non-cooperative back up out of bed and towards the source of the noise.  There has been a couple of times over the past year that The Husband had encouraged me to go and spend a few days at my parens in the Yorkshire Dales.  Evertime there was always a hundred reasons not to pursue it.

But when we talked about it a couple of weeks ago he didnt need to ask me twice.  After driving to and from Wales last weekend we both new my back would need to catch up with itself.  I knew I could do with a little rest.  No driving.  No picking Ruby up.  No supermarkets. No laundry.  No flying around from one place to the next.  So on Tuesday I met my mam at Lancaster and she drove me over the moors to their house.

I’ve been spoilt, sleeping in until my body told me it had enjoyed enough rest.  I’ve read no emails and done no work; trying to forget for a few short days how much work I have on before Christmas.  I’ve knitted and I’ve sewed.  I’ve read a book and fallen in love with Downton Abbey.  I’ve taken the time to think back over the previous weekend in Wales with 30 or so very awesome people, trying to tie-down memoried before they have the chance to float away.

I don’t take one second of this time for granted.  I’ve not rested like this in seven years and I know people have gone far longer who perhaps need it more.  Why do we not value rest enough?  We argue it slows us down but surely doesn’t it keep us going longer?  My physiotherapist asked me how often I alloted time in the day to rest my back – not including those times I am forced to rest through pain.  I stared at him a while, knowing if I didn’t look away I’d soon not be able to see him through the tears.  I didn’t need to say a word.  When he asked me why, I launched into a babble of justification as a mother, as a home maker, as a wife and as an employee.  Stopping when you didn’t need to is unthinkable right?

The next few minutes flipped all of this upside down and inside out.  He told me that I need to see resting as part of my physio plan each day, and it was what would strengthen up my body more than any stretch or exercise.  I always saw rest as the absense of action.  In music a rest is the absence of a musical note.  In working out, a rest is the absense of movement.  Surely?

Now I see rest as so much more than that – maybe everyone has always seen it and I’ve just been ridiculously ignorant of it.  There is always so much going on behind the scenes during any kind of rest.  A drawing of breath in music.  A regulating of the heart in working out.  It’s absolutely neccessary.  There is purpose in rest – it makes everything more efficient.

I will never be one to be comfortable with prolonged absence of activity.  I’m way too impatient and impulsive.  But, even forgetting the recovery from my back injury and thinking about life in general, I recognise that short bursts of regular rest  (I’m talking even five minutes to flick through a magazine or just sit for a while in quietness), should almost certainly make me a more patient mother and wife and more effective in everything I try to do.

Do you need a little rest?

 

 

disappointment.

It has been said that a successful blog needs a niche.  A specialism.  So you’ll find cookery blogs, crafty/DIY blogs, foody blogs, mummy blogs, etc.  I don’t have a niche.  I just try to record the ‘little things’ that can easily be forgotten, make sense of my jumbled thoughts and share a little bit of me.  Sometimes I write about silly stuff.  Sometimes I write about good stuff.  And sometimes I write about struggles.  I’m guessing the former make for easier reading! But you don’t walk through life without struggles, n o-one does.  And I pray that as I write about stuff that I find tough, that it will encourage you wherever you’re at.

There’s always an ‘uh!’ moment when I wake up and my back/pelvis/legs are playing up. I’m like a disappointed child that’s been told they can’t go to the park, because this stupid injury stops me doing all I want to do. But right now, I’m grateful for what I can do. I’m so sorry for ranting and whining, the frustration might make a little more sense soon.

We had a load of Avon work to do Saturday afternoon and because it was so warm we combined it with a bike ride for my 4 yr old and 6 yr old. Never ever combine work with a bike ride with a 4 yr old and 6 yr old. It was awful. The girls were riding into the road. I totally misplaced a receipt I had for one customer. I was all sweaty in the ridiculous September heat (too much information) and delivered the wrong products to a different customer which meant I had to go back with my tail between my legs. I walked away feeling like possibly the most unprofessional Avon rep EVER. There was a slight turnaround in the whole experience when I delivered to the last customer. She was so lovely and a little amusing. She was asking me if I had popped brochure through a door over the road and kept saying she’s ‘gone away for the weekend’ – and she kept winking and grinning when she said it. it was a little bit wink wink nudge nudge. I grinned back. And had absolutely no idea what she was going on about. Maybe she’s a little ‘wo-hoo’ but hey, if she happy to buy with Avon… SAM_0855

On the way home we walked past some brambles and found blackberries, Much excitement followed and we improvised with Ruby’s bag to collect some. This is when a nice little picture of our foraging efforts would be fitting, but I didn’t have my camera with me. A lesson learnt. Take your camera everywhere.  So here’s what we came home with.

 

SAM_0868

 

Not quite enough to make a blackberry crumble but it was still a very cool little ‘bolt on’ to the afternoon.

We got home and almost immediately realised I’d walked way too far. For the first time in months I had all tingles and pins and needles down my legs. Gutted.  Some ice, rest and X Factor later my legs feel a little better but the ‘sciatica’ symptoms are still clinging on.

Yesterday I continued to ignore the pain and spent the morning in kids church, moving tables and carrying Ruby.  She has been exhausted since she started school and she’s not really caught up yet.  By the end of the morning church meeting she was showing major signs of flagging and so when The Husband took her this was pretty inevitable:

SAM_0859

SAM_0861

Pushing my body when it was trying to tell me it was struggling took its toll and as we arrived back home at lunch time I crawled onto the sofa and upped my pain meds to the point that I was at before I started to reduce them.  Because I am chomping at the bit to get off all the medication I’m on, this was a bit of a blow.

Disappointment is rubbish isn’t it?  It makes you feel robbed and that all the hope has been sucked out of you, leaving you a little empty.  But it doesn’t have to be like that! There is hope in everything.   Here’s what the bible says about it:

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment.

Romans 5:3-4

We’ve heard its been said that we are what we eat.  It’s a good thing I don’t believe that or I’d be slow cooked chicken. I should eat more glamorous food.  We’re not what we eat.  We’re not even what we feel.  I wonder if our feelings get too much of a look in, and this comes from some one who mostly allows her heart to rule her head!  Feelings can be deceptive so we need to stand on what we know to be true.

Sometimes I just don’t feel I have what it takes, but I hold on to the truth that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).  Sometimes I can feel like plans have gone wrong but I stand on the truth that the plans of the Lord stand firm forever (psalm 33:11).

Sometimes I feel frustrated that ‘stuff’ just gets in the way of the important stuff – But I know that Our God is greater.
 

 

 

choice.

I’ve been spending a good amount of my days here…

 

I’ve definitely been bitten by the sewing bug. I made another skirt – this time for Chloe.  I went to fleetwood market and made my first fabric purchase.

 

As soon as I saw this seersucker  (no idea why it’s called that. anyone?) I knew Chloe would love it.  Granted, I did make it a little too long because I was over-concerned about making it too short, AND it’s a little see through (I’m going to cut up a pillow case to line it somehow), but I’m still happy with it.  And the major test –     Chloe loved it too. I only bought a meter of the seersucker, and kinda wished I’d bought more.

A chiropractor came over a few days ago and straight away identified a couple of things wrong with my back.  He said it’s all fixable and would like to see major improvement over a coupld of sessions.  Hurray – I was so relieved just to finally have some kind of answer and possible solution.  He warned me that over the next few days I’ll feel like I’ve been kicked by a horse and I woke up yesterday feeling just like that.  I kept checking in the mirror to see if there was bruising because it felt that tender. Today though my back doens’t feel anywhere near as bad and I’ve been warned to do very little.  This is way harder than you think it would be!

Half an hour after the Chiropractor left the post came through the letterbox and amongst the junkmail was a letter from the Pain Management Service.  It was confirming that I’ve been referred by the consultant and letting me know that there would be a 28 WEEK wait until my first appointment.  Yes 28 WEEKS. I just don’t have the words for that.  Actually I do because I emailed my MP about it!  Had I not felt so positive from the chiropractor I would have been in a pretty grim place after reading that letter.

But instead of feeling all narky over the NHS I’ll choose to be positive.  That choice is powerful.

Five on a friday: Five things I’m looking forward to this next week:

*  Guilt-Free Rest (When I’ve struggled with standing I have always felt so guilty and lazy, but rest is what the chiropractor has called for so sitting down now I feel like I’m kind of contributing to my recovery)

*  Having some time with my parents while the girls are at school (They’re coming to help while Rob is away)

*  Starting to see all the decorating coming together, there may even be yellow on the kitchen walls!

*  Having a One-Tree-Hill free mind (this last week I’ve been watching the very last episodes ever online, so I’ve felt a little consumed with the drama.  It’s that same bitter sweet feeling as finishing a good book – you’re sad it’s over but relieved that you can return to reality again!

*  Thinking of creative little ways to celebrate Chloe’s birthday in a couple of weeks.  Time to get planning!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

needing to knit.

When this sciatica started back in October, somewhere between drug-induced slumber and tearful frustration I picked up a pair of knitting needles.  Now this wasn’t the beginning beginning of knitting for me.  The previous winter I had learnt to cast on, knit garter stitch and just about cast off.  I made two whole scarfs.  After that the needles were forgotten in the busyness of family life.  I picked them back up again hoping to distract me from the pain in my back.

We all need something that can take us away from the hustle and bustle of life, if only just for a few minutes at a time.  Reading, writing, painting, playing music, listening to music, gardening, photography, cooking, baking – anything.  We were made to be creative, it’s in all of us, we just need to find the right outlet.  For me it’s photography, baking and since only very recently – knitting.  Normally I feel blessed to be able to grab a moment to get my camera out or a half hour to bake a cake.  And for this season of my life, as I’m drugged up to my eyesballs in painkillers and limited with movement, I cherish the chance to pick up my wool and knit.  It’s a beautiful thing coming out of something quite bleak. With sciatica breathing down my kneck I love to knit.  I need to knit.

So this is where it all starts.  I’m working my way through a book – knitty Griity by Aneeta Patel.  I start here in a place where I have no idea how to knit a button whole, wouldn’t know where to begin with those weird needles that are stuck together with a bit of string and I have no clue what to do when you know you’ve gone wrong somewhere.  And I share this journey with you.

the waiting game.

I was standing at the sink when the clematis plant in our garden caught my eye.  I looked at the large buds beginning to bear the vibrant colour of what will soon become the petals, and smile at the anticipation of watching it bloom.  But then I looked away from the Clematis and scanned the rest of the garden.  I realised then that it’s unlikely I’ll catch those buds open out into flower.

The rest of the garden has very much shut up shop for winter.  I applaud those gardeners who meticulously work their garden into a seasonal rhythm so that their little piece of paradise is always brimming with flowers.  We can’t do that.  We call it a success when we have some kind of floral display in summer.  And I don’t think we’re alone.  I’d think that most gardens are geared around the warmer months.  Why?  So they can be enjoyed when it’s warm enough for us to be outside.  In the winter months we almost never go into the back garden.  When this clamatis blooms it will be beautiful but there will be no one out there to enjoy it.

So I watch this clematis, knowing the bigger picture, willing it to just hold on, to just wait it out a little longer until it gets a little warmer and everything else starts to grow again.  As beautiful as it is as a plant is it’s own right, I know it would be so much more magnificent if it could only reach it’s full potential when the rest of the garden is in bloom.  But as much as I silently urge the buds to wait for spring, I know that the plant is determined to flower as quick as it can.  Although the gardener knows that it will be be a waste for his flower to bloom when the rest of the garden lies dormant, the clematis is indifferent to its’ surroundings.

Do you see what’s coming next?  So often we have our own agenda.   The ‘gardener’ knows there is a reason for waiting but we’ll stick with our own agenda thank you very much, because it makes much more sense to us.  And even if our purpose is right, we want to hurry it through to full bloom as quickly as possible.  We live in a world where speed is almost always the priority.  When we eat out we don’t want to wait, When we stand at a store check-out we don’t want to wait.  When we order something on-line we don’t want to wait.  We want to lose weight but we don’t want to wait (or is that just me?!). We just don’t want to wait!  We fix our eyes on the prize and run at it full pelt, God help those who (even accidently) stand in our way.

If we’re honest we bring this mentality of instant gratification to our God given purposes.   We pray for something and expect next day delivery.  We feel God has laid something on our heart and then question our discernment as soon as obstacles block the path.  This is less about the what and more about the when.  You can see time and timeagain in the Bible where God has clearly laid out a plan to someone yet seems to have forgotten the fineprint.  Those minor little practicalities of how long it will take.  We often have our own timescale to the vision God has put on our heart, and it never includes hanging around.  Our action plans are based around human capacity and capability. All the while God whispers his plan for the vision he gave us and gently calls us to just wait for now.  But we don’t hear.  Our ears are filled with buzzing sound of our own agenda and the white noise of our lives.

If we push through with plans in our own time-plan and in our own strength they might well come through ok.  Just like my Clamatis it might even look quite good.  But it will miss out on just how incredible it could have been.  It will miss out on being part of something bigger and greater.  It’s ironic that misplaced passion and dedication to something could result in us missing out on part of what we were passionate about in the first place!

I don’t write this as a discerning wise woman.  I hate waiting.  I’m like  a cat after a mouse once an idea has been birthed within me and it makes complete sense to me to  just go for it (and keep on going for it full throttle until the idea comes to fruition!).  I’m impatient, impulsive and stubborn.  God bless my husband.  So from experience I know how frustrating it feels to have a vision that is only just beyond my reach.  I could tell you story after story of me bulldozing my way through something that I ‘know’ God wants me to do and do now.  For a long time the idea of having to wait days or weeks would frustrate the living daylights out of me.  I’ve not long realised that eternity isn’t as fussed about the difference between one week and six weeks, like we are.

It’s not a coincidence that throughout the bible God fulfills his promises after a season of waiting.  David was annointed as king years before it came to pass.  God gave Abraham and Sarah a wife a son after a painful time of waiting.  God told Joseph that his brothers would bow down to him but Joseph went through a whole lot of ‘life’ before it happened.  More often than not God takes us the long way round to reach what He has promised us.  There’s way more learning to be gained that way.

The psalms are packed full of this idea of waiting on God.  In Psalm 27:14 it says “Wait for the LORD;  be strong and take heart  and wait for the LORD”.    When we truly stop where we’re at and wait for God He always shows up.  Sometimes he shows up so quietly that you might not even know it.  The God who made everything we see and feel is not an instant gratification God.  He’s a God who wants you to rely on him, wait for  him, listen out for him.

We’ve forgotten how to wait.  Living in this society of gimme gimme gimme and now now now we just don’t know how to stop.  We need to learn how to relax into the peace that comes when you accept the God has the bigger picture and he has it all under control.  We need to learn as God’s people to rest in Him.  There is ultimate freedom in handing our time-scales over to God –  it means we don’t have to stress about the fast pace competition anymore!

I wrote earlier that we can have our eyes focused on the prize and run full pelt.  You may have received a specific calling from God and have had various confirmations that this is the direction God is taking you in.  That could be to develop a provision for local homeless people, or to plan and deliver witty but thought-provoking sketch for a church service, or to find a way to reach ‘unchurched’ young people in the community.  These are all awesome areas of ministry that God will have undoubtedly placed on our hearts.  And to put 100% into something is to give a worthy offering to Jesus.  But in everything we do we need to identify and remind ourselves of the ‘prize’ we’re fixing our eyes on – the one thing that makes everything else fade into the background.  Let’s look at what the bible says about fixing our eyes:

“…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…” (Hebrew 12)

It can happen so quietly without you even knowing it.  Taking our eyes off Jesus for just one moment and then our eyes become stuck on something else.  That’s why God asks us to daily die to ourself, to daily fix our eyes on him and to daily lay our agenda’s and time-frames at the cross.

It’s all a waiting game.

Trains, lists and chocolate.

The only positive side to this sciatica is that I’m forced to slow down. I’m always wanting to slow down or wishing that time itself would to cease to whizz by in a blur. So I have a load of thoughts jumbling around in my heavily medicated head.

I don’t know how people cope with long term pain – because it’s doing my head in after 10 or 11 weeks.

I think I’ve lost the key to the tuck shop money tin. Again (note to self – let someone else look after the key).

I’m pretty sure it’s not right to already have a chocolate hangover a week before christmas and I’m very sure it’s not right to have only mars bars in the fruit and veg drawer of the fridge (note to self, eat more fruit and veg to balance it out and jobs a good’n).

It’s a week before christmas!? No no no, I haven’t done nearly as much as I wanted to do in the festive season. I mustn’t have made a list about it. If I had had a list I would have been way more succesful in my christmas festivities (note to self, make a list next November).

If its christmas 2011….That must mean it has been ten years exactly since The Husband and I knew we weren’t just two people in the same social circle. He totally pursued me. Well he at least asked for my phone number at the new years eve party we were both at. There is some pursiut in there surely. But ten years. A whole decade. Blimey.

We’re low on loo roll, really must get some more tomorrow.

I wonder what Rob will do on the train tomorrow. It’s been ages since I went on a train by my self, so don’t know what I’d do.

Medication is making me too sleepy now, I wonder if I’ll dream of trains lists and chocolate.