Hold on

different then

 

Every day brings changes and sometimes I want to run and hide from them.

I want to return to the time when life made sense and my heart wasn’t broken.

Yet I know I cannot, I am not now who I was then.

In fact I barely recognise the old me at times. It’s not the hair colour or the extra pounds it’s the scars on my heart that make me different.

Life changes you everyday and sometimes the changes are good and sometimes they aren’t but for everyone change is an opportunity to grow.

Becoming a mom was one of the greatest things I will ever achieve but I never expected how having children would change the way I view life.

Having a disabled child was something I would have never foreseen, but getting to be Livvy’s mom created something inside me I am so very proud of.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this…..

Sometimes life will throw you in a direction you didn’t have planned, send you down a pathway you didn’t want to go. It may be hard, it maybe heartbreaking but don’t give up.

Know deep in your heart that every journey comes with  its own unique scenery. Places too see  so breathtaking you would have missed if you had taken the journey you had planned.  Places that will bless you heart, soothe your soul.

You may meet people you would have never have met if circumstances hadn’t of changed.

Worlds apart colliding to produce incredible friendships.

I  know I have met some of the greatest people since I became a parent to a disabled child.  Parents with passion and determination. Parents  with compassion and loyalty. So many have really blessed my life and I am so proud I get to call some of this crazy bunch my friends.

I never imagined as a child I would be a Foster carer but here now I know how incredible my job is. How amazing it is that I get to love on children in need.

Yet  even beyond fostering I would have never foreseen in a million years I would be a university student, working towards a degree that will allow me to help children who have faced neglect and trauma.

AND….

Even here in this little piece of the virtual world,  I never would have considered that this place where I share my heart, my thoughts would bring me so many experiences and create so many connections.

 

No matter how life seems right now, trust in yourselves.

Trust that tomorrow is a new day.

Keep fighting and hold on tight.

We cannot go back to yesterday

and today may be hard

but tomorrow may just be amazing.

A beautiful place 

This week I’ve spent my first night in our local Acorn’s children’s hospice, giving the staff chance to get to know my little one whilst I’m on hand and I cannot believe how amazing this place is. 

When Livvy was still with us the word hospice filled me with fear. As far as I was concerned a hospice was where children went to die. 

I was so wrong it’s a place where children live.

In the last 24 hours I have seen so much laughter, 

so much love 

so much life. 

Children with smiles that light up a room, laughter than echoes through the corridors.

It’s a truly wonderful place , full of staff that really care for the children and for who nothing is too much trouble. 

I cannot believe how wrong I was. 

Yes it’s a place that cares for severely disabled children but it’s not the disabilities that are seen here it’s the characters, the spirits. Here in this special place children are simply that children.

It’s a welcome relief for parents knowing they have a place that their children can go and be cared for whilst they get their much needed respite. 

It’s a magical place where children can escape the boring parents have fun and laughter with friends.

Honestly it’s beautiful.

The support that families receive is second to none. I personally know of two families who walked the painful journey of losing their child with Acorns by their side. Of course it doesn’t stop the pain but having someone who understands is priceless. 

I have really enjoyed my stay here and I know little one has too. We are looking forward to more visits and the making of more memories. 

Please take a look at what amazing things Acorns achieve. 
  
The children and families they support

Acorns has helped over 2,470 children and their families since it was established in 1988

Last year2, Acorns supported over 760 children and more than 980 families, including those who are bereaved:

Acorns is currently supporting:

Over 250 children and around 340 families at Acorns in Birmingham3

Over 200 children and over 280 families at Acorns in the Black Country3

Over 190 children and more 250 families at Acorns for the Three Counties3

Read more about how amazing they are here

Please take time today to check out your local children’s hospice and maybe even consider making 2016 the year you decide to fundraise for them. Every penny raised in a penny towards keeping families together and children happy. The services and support is so needed.

For more information on Acorns and how you could support them visit here…

#SaveourNHS

As a mom of children who have complex care needs that often require medical support and hospitalisation. I have had many opportunities to witness the dedication of junior doctors. I have seen compassion and professionalism in the midst of exhaustion.

Yet no matter how hard they work the present government doesn’t seem to believe it’s enough, trying to force them into working unsafe hours putting themselves and the patients they care for at risk. 
  
This week the junior doctors decided to say enough is enough. They have asked that the government listen to their concerns and worries for patient safety. They ask that’s they be allowed to do what they have trained for and protect patients not to put them at risk.
  
I was completely behind the junior doctors on Tuesday and I continue to stand beside them today. Jeremy Hunt is risking the lives of patients and in the process also trying to destroy our great NHS.

I’m not willing to sit down and let this happen. I dread to think of where my daughter would have been without the amazing care and treatment she received from the NHS. How my foster sons now would be.

I am actually writing this from a hospital ward and here on the front lines all I can see are professionals who deserve a hell of a lot more respect from our government than what they are currently receiving. Nurses, Doctors, Consultants and so many more dedicated hard working individuals. It’s about time our present government realised the true value of these people and work tirelessly towards restoring the pride of Britain, our NHS. 

I want to see politicians working as hard as the medical profession in putting people first. Let them realise that privatisation is not the way forward and that fair working hours is not only about financial impact but also is a must for public safety.

As for me I will continue to stand behind the junior doctors and all those working towards keeping people safe.  

I will continue to be extremely grateful to the Dr that worked on my son today, the theatre staff that held me when I broke down in tears. To the nurses that showed me patience and kindness and to the many more medical professions that have blessed my life. 

  
No price can be placed on human life, Jeremy Hunt needs to remember this. 

I stand beside the junior doctors, I stand beside the nurses of the future and I will continue to support all those fighting to save our NHS. 

  

 

My new normal 

The last week or so has seen major upheaval in what i class as my normal. One moment I was a mom to four teenagers and the next I am imersed head first back into the world of babies. 

Life as a foster mom can do this to you and as a special needs foster mom life can certainly throw you a few curve balls but it’s very different being a mom of a baby at 20 than it is at 40. But ignoring all the aches and pains and the need for sleep I’m loving every moment of my new normal. 

I’m being reminded of the therapeutic value of a baby cuddle. The sweet aroma that comes from babies, is oh so special that nothing else comes close.

I love the laughter that a young child brings to the home. Even the stroppy teens cannot help but smile with a babe in their arms.

It certainly has been a shock to the system, but a so very welcome one.

So right now I’m proud to say I am a mom of four beautiful girls and two amazing foster boys. 

My life is chaos but my heart is full. 

        

My word for the year 2016

As I start the new year I want to continue with my tradition of choosing a word for the year. A word I hope will be something I can turn to throughout the year.

My word for 2016 is ‘truth’.

2015 was a year of two halves. A real mixture of celebration and heartbreak. 

I got to live some amazing moments, walking the catwalk for amazing brands at Style XL in July. Not just jumping over my self confidence barriers I crashed straight through them. I’ve enjoyed every moment that I got to model and have grown so much in confidence. I’ve learned what I like to wear and how to wear it. Hoping 2016 is another year full of fashion and fun. 

Stylexl15

The experiences I have had from the plus size fashion world have been wonderful but to be truthful it’s the friendships that have blossomed from this community that have really blessed my life. I have had the great pleasure of meeting some truly radical, inspirational women. Women who fight daily to get women of all shapes and sizes equally represented in the world of fashion. But also women who have really shown me what community means, support, guidance and encouragement. 

I also got to start on the journey of achieving one of my longest held dreams. I started my degree course in September. I still get goosebumps when I realise that I’m now in the 2nd year of my degree. I was lucky enough to move past year one due to the prior knowledge and training I have had. My degree is in Therapeutic childcare and I’m so exciting to be learning as much as I can to help and support children who have faced neglect and trauma. This is truly where my heart lies. The fact that I’ve also made some rather lovely friends on the course is a true added bonus. 

To be fair 2015 was a good year, I have had some incredible moments and a lot of things and people that I am so thankful for. 

I’m also ending 2015 with a new addition to my family as we have opened our home and hearts to a second foster son. So be prepared for some baby posts as I find my feet with my new addition. To say I’m a little excited is a massive understatement.

2015 also brought with it some amazing opportunities for Livvy’s Smile, we created some wonderful memory making days and got to see some truly beautiful smiles. Excited to see what we can achieve in 2016.

  

  

Yet 2015 hasn’t been all good, I have watched my friends walk some painful paths. We have to say goodbye too soon to those who just couldn’t stay. Nothing I can say will help ease the pain of these losses but we will remember and honour those we miss. 

So why am I moving into 2016 with the word truth as my beacon? I’m not sure if I can actually find the words to describe why and what this means to me but I guess I will try. 

For a long time I have felt lost, like I wasn’t hundred percentage sure who I was and to be fair what I believed and what I wanted to stand for. Yet over 2015 I found myself really searching deep inside about what I wanted from life. Looking into oneself has never been easy for me, I tend to self judge and cause myself pain. Yet this last year I decided to stop blaming myself for anything and everything and know my own truth.

So that’s why I’m moving into 2016 with the word truth at the forefront of my mind.

I’m going to focus on knowing my own truth, I’m going to work towards being able to help children know their own truth.

I’m going to stand up for the truth needed in the world today. To see all people treated equal, fight discrimination against disability, ethnicity and faith. To see everyone celebrated for the people they are. We are all unique amazing individuals. We live our own truth.

So as I welcome in 2016 I do so with excitement and joy. I’m know the next 365 days are going to be full of challenges and changes but if I could have one wish this year it would be no more “too soon’s.”

So today I wish you all a Happy New Year and hope and pray that 2016 is all you wish it to be.