Rain rain go away

It’s amazing how addicted we get to the television.

My poor husband has spent the last few days on holiday complaining he misses the tv.

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To be honest it has been a lousy few days. The weather has been so atrocious nothing but rain.
Camping holidays and rain really don’t mix.

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But what has struck me is how well the girls have done without the laptops, DVDs etc.

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They have actually chatted to each other again. I’ve even heard laughter at times, yes really laughter from teenagers can happen now and again.

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I think we are packing up tomorrow and heading home to the land of televisions and laptops.

Normally I would complain but to be honest after three days trapped in the caravan with an autistic child who wants to play outside hasn’t been fun.

So maybe I will miss the laughter but I certainly won’t miss the cold wet mud everywhere.

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Show and Tell Saturday

Do you remember when you were at primary school? Did you have a show and tell time?

I did.

It was an opportunity to share with your class what you had been up to or what was your favourite thing.

Well I’ve decided to bring show and tell to my blog.

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I’m going hold a “Show and Tell Saturday” and let you know what I’ve been reading, what I’ve been listening too and anything else that I want to share from my week.

I also hope that maybe you will join in and hold your own “Show and Tell Saturday ” and if you do please leave me a link in the comments. I think this will be a nice way of getting to know each other a little more.

So here goes ;

This week I have read the new book by Dan Brown.

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A interesting read but not I think as good as previous ones.

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I’ve been listening to the new album released by Demi Lovato and again a good cd but not with as many outstanding songs as the last one. It may grow on me in time.

It’s been a busy week we have had lots of appointments. Health ones and fostering ones. Thankfully all have gone well and we are now looking forward to our short break next week.

So that’s my Show and Tell Saturday now it’s your turn.

Have fun.

Tots 100 Blog Summit – Birmingham

Last week I attended my a blog summit in Birmingham. To be perfectly truthful I hadn’t a clue what to expect as I had never before attended one run by tots 100 and with the conference being free I wasn’t sure of the speakers or the experience that was going to be offer.

Now I don’t wish that to sound so snobby ( as I’m sure it does)but i can be rather cynical and believe in life you tend to get what you pay for.

Well I was so wrong, from the moment I found the venue I was surprised by the quality of the summit.

The venue itself was stunning and they had coffee on the go which anyone who knows me will relate when I say good coffee can make or break a day for me.

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The agenda was packed with a variety of sessions that I was excited to attend. So many in fact that I was seriously wishing I could split myself in two.

The first session I attended was the Grill Section, this was a chance to grill more experienced bloggers. Chrissie from Mediocre Mum (I was super excited to meet Chrissie as we have been tweeting on twitter for a while)., Helen from Fuss Free Flavours, Ruth from Geek Mummy and Sally from Who’s the Mummy and Tots100 All were happy to answer questions on anything blog related. I asked about changing your blog voice,my blog is featuring less posts about my children because now as teenagers they require more discretion on my part. Spoilsports.

The advice I received was really helpful and I left the session with pages full of notes. A big thank you to the bloggers under the grill.

Also in this session to Sally from tots100 even gave us a run down on how the metrics work. I confess I still haven’t a clue but that’s down to my lacking brain not Sally’s explanation.

My 2nd session was on advanced SEO being run by Judith Lewis and I’m sure it was super informative to many but five minutes in my head was spinning so I escaped to grab a coffee and some pain killers and took some time out before lunch.

Ooh talking of lunch it was simply yummy. A great selection on offer.
I ate well that day. To quote Oliver Twist “more please sir”.

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The third session I attended was run by Cathy from nurture store. It was all about getting the most out of Facebook. This was a really informative session and I’ve already been using some of the advice we were given.

My fourth and final chosen session was run by John Arnold on outdoor photography. It was really interesting and John is a great teacher as he makes it accessible for all at whatever level they are at. He also convinced me I needed a new lens for my DSLR, well that’s what I told the hubby.

After another break and more coffee the day came to an end with perhaps the most inspiring part of the whole event. A talk by Andy Cope the author of How to be Brilliant and other books including our family favourites The Spy Dog.

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My youngest wasn’t at all impressed that I didn’t come home with a signed book from him. Of course my fault entirely I know I should learn to carry books around with me in case I meet her favourite writers. Lesson learned.

Anyway Andy brought home to me something that I had forgotten for a while. He told us that happiness is a choice. We have too remind ourselves each morning that each day is a gift and to live it happy. That we could be a lot worse, we could have toothache. There was off course a lot more to Andy’s talk including percentages and oranges but for me it really hit home.

As it reminded me of Livvy, and when learned of her condition and that we may not have forever. We had to make the decision to make each day count. To seize each day and live it to the best we could. To create those memories.

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In summary Blog Summit was pretty awesome. I really encourage any new bloggers or older longer standing ones to check them out.

It was informative and at times hilarious. Well worth attending.

Personally I had a great day I got to meet some new friends and catch up with old ones.

I got to enjoy lovely coffee while listening to speakers that really knew their stuff.

I left happy and with a notebook packed full of ideas and helpful advice.

A really fanatic day and a big thank you to tots 100 for organising it.

So my only question is

When’s the next one???

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Clothes for Summer

With summer just around the corner its now time for me to be looking out for summer clothes for my girls. This is easy for my older two as they refuse to let me shop for them anymore but my 12 year old still values my opinion. So we have been searching the web for things we both agree on.

Brodie is a multi -talented young lady (bias mom) she loves sports and also loves theatrics and I think her style reflects this.

IMG_0360 So when asked to choose a few items from AlexandAlexa she certainly knew her own opinion.

Her first choice was this fantastic Snapper Rock green two-piece 7 rash top UV swim set.

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I love this as its pretty but will also keep her safe from the sun’s dangerous rays.

Her second choice was beachwear, I can sense a theme going on here, I am hoping she is right and we have an amazing summer. This O’Neil Girls Floral Print Blue Beach dress is so pretty.

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This is fantastic from the beach to the the shops to the restaurant.

Her next choice I think has to be my favourite, its just one of those stunning items that would be suitable for all occasions.

This SuperTrash Girls Black Rose Dress.

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Of course her final choice is one that she is known to have a slight obsession for, shoes.

This time its a pair of DKNY sandals that caught her eye.

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* This is a sponsored post

 

True Value

For a few months I have been aware of the name Colin Brewer and to be perfectly honest it has not been in a great way. At first I just believed he was just an ignorant man but after reading this article I just don’t know how to define him.

Now before I carry on I have confess this is a touchy subject for me, I have lost a child with severe special needs and I now foster a child with severe special needs so yes this subject is close to my heart. So I can’t promise this post will be written from an un bias view point, but it is written from my heart and you can’t get more honest than that.

But I cannot not write about it because this man is so very wrong.

Colin Brewer states that he believes that we should look at our children as we do animals and if there are any weaknesses at birth we should to quote the councillor.

“When reminded that the lamb would be put down in that situation, he agreed, and said: “It [the lamb] would be put down, smashed against the wall and be dealt with.”And asked if a child with a similar impairment should be killed after birth, he said: “That would be up to the decision of whoever is there at the birth.”

 

We should consider smashing our child’s head against a wall!

I could be defensive at this point and tell you want I wanted to do to Councillor Brewer but I’m not going to.

Why because in a way I actually feel sorry for the gentleman.

He obviously judges the quality of someones life on what they can achieve or what they can do.

How awful is that? To only see value in ability.

The councillor comments are mainly aimed towards the cost of caring for a child or an adult with disabilities.

Again his value is in worth.

Well let me inform you Mr Brewer that you simply know nothing!

My beautiful daughter Livvy was born with a condition called Rett Syndrome, a illness which left her severely disabled.

Yes she required 24 hour care, yes she required medication and equipment but whatever the total cost of her needs was, what she gave back was a hell of a lot more.

She was priceless.

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The world isn’t run by money, no matter how often we are led to believe this.

The world is run by compassion,

by empathy

by love.

These were all skills Livvy taught us every day.

Take for an example my other three children Livvy sisters, they are remarkable young ladies who have a desire to work in fields that encourage, that care, that protect others.

The compassion they learned by having Livvy in their lives has made them better people, a greater contribution to society.

Their understanding and empathy is something that you cannot teach in schools, yet Livvy taught them.

My husband and I, Livvy’s parents were changed beyond your wildest imagination, we began to look wider than ourselves and learned of joy in the simple things.

We learned about advocating for others that were less fortunate than us, in all spheres of need. Poverty, disability, addiction.

Why because Livvy taught us compassion.

Livvy taught us the value of life.

Watching this brave, wild spirited young lady who had so many issues live life with such pure joy showed us the truth about life.

That each day is a gift to make the most of, to be happy, to make others happy.

Mr Brewer I could tell you of many others that were changed by knowing Livvy, Grandparents, relatives, friends, teachers they all learnt life lessons from this incredible amazing young lady. Strangers whose days were brightened by a smile. Professionals who were encouraged by her determination and bravery.

This beautiful young lady who if you had your way may have not had this chance to make such a difference.

Dear Mr Brewer if I wish you anything I wish you this.

Please take a look at the children that you have dismissed as being faulty, of being worthless.

Look closely at their families and I promise you this. That even with the severest disabilities you will find joy. You will see parents caring for their children with a love that has no bounds.

You will see children who may be limited physically live life without limitations.

 

Love without limits.

 

Please Mr Brewer open your eyes and see true value.

 

It cannot be measured by money but by the lives you touch.

 

As I said Livvy was priceless.

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Making changes

For as long as my mind and my heart knows I have been responsible, but for longer than that I believe I have had a desire to be responsible.

To be able to fix, change, make things right.

But sometimes you can’t and its this knowledge this acceptance I am finally allowing myself this year.

You see if I don’t I will crumble.

It’s like I’ve been using my reserves, the last of my strength for so long that I simply have nothing left.

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My health has paid a hefty price.

My heart a lot more.

So 2013 has been a learning curve for me.

I cannot be all things to everyone, it simply isn’t possible.

This doesn’t mean I stop loving people or wishing them well. Of course I do but I have to put certain things first, certain people first.

My beautiful daughters, some may look at them and see happy healthy young ladies and yes they are all that but scratch a little below the surface and you will see three incredible young souls who have faced more heartbreak in their young lives that many will every see in a lifetime.

You will see three overly empathic children who feel the burden of pain for the outside world. Why because they understand, they relate more than they ever should.

You will also see three young ladies in the journey from childhood to adulthood with all the stresses and pain that journey alone can bring.

I want to be their strength, their place of comfort.

My marriage, yes I am blessed with a great guy but together we have been to hell and back. Both so very heartbroken and not knowing how to voice that pain. We have had to take time to remind ourselves of happiness and work on making it happen again.

I want to be the wife this wonderful frustrating man deserves.

My health , stress plays an evil game both on the mind and the body. At times my body feels so battle weary. The chronic pain drives me slowly insane. I need to focus on letting go of the stress and that overload of adrenaline that causes this heart of mine to flutter.

I want to be able to be healthy enough to enjoy life.

My job, I use these words tenderly as my job is maybe one of the best in the world. I have been given the change to love upon a child. To help make a difference. It isn’t easy anyone who has every cared for a special needs child could vouch for this, but it is so very worth it.

I want to keep making that difference.

Myself, for a long time this was where the shortfall would happen. Never giving myself time, never believing in who I am.

This needs to change, to be all of the above I need to love myself more.

I need to allow myself to live my dreams.

I need allow myself time.

So yes it’s been a season of change, but it’s been good. I am finally on the journey to self acceptance.

To look into who I am and say “you know what you are ok”.

To receive a compliment and say “thank you” without the need to lower my head and turn away.

But to continue in this journey I have to make changes, to prioritise.

I remember back in school a teacher telling me that “I couldn’t be everything to everyone”

She was right, though at the time I disagreed I just believed I needed to try harder.

Trying harder isn’t always the answer.

My life lesson.

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I was blown away by Rend Collective

Have you ever have one of those days that blow you away?

A moment that you never expected that makes your heart beat that little faster.

I had one of those amazing experiences Sunday night.

I was advocating for Compassion UK at a Rend Collective tour date.

Now I knew I was going to have a good night as I love volunteering with Compassion but I never expected to be completely blown away by some amazing music and fantastic worship.

The evening started with the artist  Ben Cantelon  to be honest I knew off him a little but hadn’t really heard much of his music but I have to say he was pretty incredible. He stirred up your heart in a way that you could sense the of the whole atmosphere of the church  change.

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Then Rend Collective took to the stage and WOW the place just lit up. Never have I seen such energy in a performance, in the music.

There was no fancy lights, no big instruments it was raw incredible talent being shown all to bring glory to God.

Their music was so fresh that I was just blown away.

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“Rend Collective Experiment is an eclectic collective of multi-instrumentalists from the North of Ireland. An inherent desire for something spiritually substantive in our increasingly artificial world is exactly what brought the movement of friends together. United by a common purpose, these twenty-somethings began exploring the intersection between God, life and community.”

The night was the final one of their Campfire tour and my goodness they were incredible. Yes I am gushing as they simply gave me an incredible high and called me closer to God than I have been in a while.

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Yet it wasn’t just the music that stirred my heart as the members of the band spoke about the need for us to remove ourselves from the artificial and connect with the real. That to be the church that Jesus calls us to be doesn’t just require us  just to attend a building every Sunday but to live as the light.

So many of us attend our weekly service and thats great, but we should never leave church the way we came in.

I needed to hear these words, I needed so badly to feel this worship. I’m not having a crisis of faith just feeling lost about church.

Worship doesn’t have to happen in a church on a sunday, we can worship God in our homes, in our schools, in our play, around a campfire.

Faith isn’t a thinking its a doing.

If you have never heard of Rend Collective I cannot urge you enough to go check them out and Ben Cantelon too.

Their music is different, their music is raw, their music is soul refreshing.

Enjoy, I certainly did.

 

 

Star Trek makes sense

I’m told its my eyes that tell my story.

A few days ago I had to have my photo took for identity purposes. You know the one where you can not smile or pull funny faces.

I struggled with looking at this photo not just because i hate having photos took of myself but because I couldn’t hide behind my smile. My facade to the world.

This photo rather shocked me as I looked haunted.

A little lost.

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This led to an afternoon of self analysing not something I would really recommend. It can totally mess with your mind.

You see thinking never really does me any favours.

Well where was I?

Oh that’s right my haunted look.

It was as if my life had left a physical imprint on my soul and of course the eyes being the windows to the soul it was there for all to see.

I realised my identity has changed so much over the years. Not surface things like fashion, hairstyle etc but the roles I play in life.

I’m a wife, I’m a mother

But I’ve also been a mother of a disabled child.

I’ve been the grieving mom of the said disabled child.

I am now a foster carer to a disabled child , a foster mom.

Different roles at different times yet which one left the haunting.

It doesn’t really need a answer does it.

Losing a child is so strange it’s as if life moves forward but a part of you is left in the past.

Haunting the memories.

It’s as if you hold on to the then rather than live in the now without them.

I watched my first Star Trek movie the other night and they were talking about alternative realities and that made sense in a strange way.

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A part of me is still in pre November 7th 2008.

It’s not about non acceptance it’s about holding them close and never letting go.

I believe all of us have a haunting.

A moment in time which we can never let go.

A time in your life which shaped who you are today.

I see my life as a jigsaw I was born complete but through life I have lost or left pieces behind in different places and at different times. I won’t be complete again until eternity.

But that’s ok.

I think this is what makes us human the ability to connect to form bonds.

The courage to give away pieces of ourselves.

So a jigsaw am I.

Or as my husband says missing a few pieces ha ha.

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Today my daughter should be 14.

Today you would have been 14.

We would be all gathered together as a family to celebrate your special day. Spoiling you with attention and of course lots of gifts.

Yet we can’t.

Instead there will be an empty place at the table and all that we have to hold on to are our memories.

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Each with a moment,

a memory, a gift that we cherish.

I confess I’m angry that I can only visit your grave today.

That I cannot hold your hand or stroke your beautiful blond hair. To twist one of those cute little curls around my finger.

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To hold you close and share those light butterfly kisses.

It hurts,

I want to sing happy birthday to you and get to watch your eyes shine with laughter.

I want to watch you rip off the paper from your presents with impatience and excitement.

14 years old

I often wonder what you look like now.

How have you aged?

Is your hair still as curly as it was or has in grown down long and straight.

I wonder what you would have enjoyed if you were here, would you be a one direction fan? knowing you It would more likely be Paramour or the script. You loved the beat of rock music. Guns n roses were your favourite.

I can imagine you in band tops joining me in the love of anything gothic.

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How I wish , how I wonder.

Its breaking my heart today, you should be here blowing out your candles. Trying to grab the biggest piece of cake. Loving all the attention this special day brings.

I know you would be cross at my sadness,

But my beautiful girl I miss you so much.

I’m angry that I have only had 9 of the 14 years.

Losing you is a pain like no other, a knife in my heart forever being twisted deeper.

I take your balloons, your flowers to your grave and the knife goes deeper.

But I think of you dear Olivia, I remember your courage your true audacity to never give in.

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I close my eyes and hear you whisper on the wind.

I’m here mom, I’m playing with the balloons and smelling the flowers.

I’m here mom, by your side everyday.

Dry those tears mom, listen to my laughter as it carries on the breeze,

Feel my love wrap around you in the warmth of the sun.

I’m not gone, I’m just out of sight for a while.

Hold on mom, please hold on to my spirit and my strength.

I close my eyes

I feel you in the sun and I wrap myself up in the breeze.

You are my heart and as long as it beats you are with me.

I miss you sweet Olivia.

Happy heavenly birthday

14 today,

I love you to the moon stars and back again xxxxx

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