Weekly round up… Half term here we come…

IMG_2886.jpg

“Your child is now half of their way through their reception year”

What?

It’s the beginning of our first half term holiday without the husbandface in his sprint collapse rhythm.

It feels surprisingly ok.

We’ve had a good week around these parts.

The sunny sunshine has been good for my head. The metaphor explosion epiphany moments during my latest counselling session suggested that there was some good deep work going on. A white dog appeared to outshine the black dog and introduce gentle kind thoughts into my self critical inner world. It felt like an intensely spiritual moment in a room where we don’t really talk about God much. I smiled like a loon for the rest of the day.

Later in the week I hit a strange wall of tiredness. I have a theory that the more I believe that the husbandface is healing and recovering, the more my body lets it’s guard down. I’m slowly slowly trying to ease my grip off pretending that I can control my world and make everyone in it safe. I’m starting to try and trust that this moment is really all we have to live in, enjoy, delight in and know God in. The future is unknown and that is. Wait for it. O.K. (sometimes. maybe. please God). Maybe working that out in counselling this week enabled my tired body to stop a while. Thursday and Friday afternoons found me asleep in front of Friends reruns on the sofa. It’s taken a while to realise that this is what I need in my hours away from the small ones.

I tried to run on Friday morning and had to stop. I physically couldn’t do it anymore. It might be time to start listening to my body and rest more.

On Tuesday afternoon my eldest weirdo sang sea shanties dressed in a pirate hat with the rest of his class to celebrate the finish of their pirate themed half term. I was super proud and loved getting to see his special book afterwards full of pictures and comments on stuff he’d done over the last few weeks.

I’m not sure what I think about the rather bizarre celebration of pirates that small people seem to be obsessed with. I kind of like the fun of it and have to remember that it really has nothing to do with actual pirates who were kind of horrific if you think about it for any length of time. Ah well. The boys are also obsessed with Swashbuckle on CBeebies right now. The only song I ever have going around my head at the moment is, ‘hey ho, swashbucklers go, take on the pirates, yo ho ho…’ (at least in this narrative the pirates get caught and made to walk the plank for their transgressions…). Secretly I love it.

I’ve been reading Douglas Coupland lots over the last few days. He really is a kind of weird prophetic voice reflecting on the transitions in technology over the last 4 decades. I’m reading Bit Rot and having my brain exploded all over again. Hoorah for his voice. I found a rather pretentious note on my iPhone the other day simply saying, “Why does no-one listen to Douglas Coupland anymore?”. We should. He has SO many interesting things to say about our world.

Talking of interesting things about our world. We watched in awe as Elon Musk’s amazing rocket went into space this week. We had genuine goosebumps watching two of the rockets come back to Earth and do exceptionally controlled landings. We are living in the future. It’s so odd. But wonderful. All at once. (Having read an article about Elon Musk’s personal life I feel less inclined towards him as a person but am in awe of the stuff he has managed to achieve so far, and that the dream of life on Mars may become a reality in my lifetime…)

In other wondrous news we are reading Swallows and Amazons to Son1. I can’t really get my head around this being the first time for husbandface as well but I am loving revisiting it. I’d forgotten it was my go to soothing book when I was growing up. If I couldn’t sleep or had a nightmare I would re-read this over and over again. I’ve read it countless times but haven’t touched it for about 20 years. It’s such an antidote to all the usual fast paced stuff thrown at us each day, nothing happens, everything is described in exquisite detail, including what the children ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s beautifully dull in places and then thrilling in others. I am fairly impressed the boy has stuck with it and can’t wait to show him Lake Coniston in the summer.

We are looking forward to the week ahead, we started today with a slow morning of museums and then some rest time this afternoon. Lovely friends are then coming to stay for a few days tomorrow.  I will try and keep one day in the middle for a very very slow day before the half term madness of our NCT group going to the theatre and Pizza Express at the end of the week.

I’m looking forward to hanging out with the small ones, they seem to like each other at the moment. Son1 is reading or trying to read everything in sight and we feel in a definite new stage of life, well apart from son2’s rather trying 3 year old moments. It’s hard being 3. Really. Anyways, a week out of normal routine looks pretty good right now. I’ll see you at the end of the week to see how things panned out…

How’s your week been? 

 

Advertisements
Posted in Life on the journey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I’ve been reading, the January Edition…

Time seems to be moving at an all too rapid pace right now. So before February has disappeared, here’s what I read in January:

Liturgy of the Ordinary-  Tish Harrison Warren

A brilliant book which takes you through an ordinary day finding God in the midst of the everyday stuff we do. The first chapter on waking up and starting the day from a place of being worthy feels like a theme of the year that I will come back to time and time again. This book felt like a really refreshing drink of a read, reminding me about the good things of belonging to the Maker all over again. 

Turtles all the way Down- John Green

I love John and Hank Green, we’ve been watching their YouTube videos for a while and love their refreshingly positive look on the world – the kind that acknowledges the crap but then looks for the hope and the good in the midst of it all – not cheesy but believers in the reality that kindness and hope make a difference in our world. John has been very honest about his struggles with OCD and wider mental health issues. These things also play out in this book. I really enjoyed it for a closer look of what it’s like to live with OCD and anxiety. It also made me cry loads at the end but I’ll not spoil it for you…

A Song for Issy Bradley- Carys Bray

I’m not sure if I liked this but I couldn’t put it down. It was very unsettling, child deaths and a very religious family raised all of my fear levels. Unsettling but kind of hopeful. Maybe. 

Braving the Wilderness- Brene Brown

One of the first must read books of the year. This felt so important in our age of echo chambers and only hearing voices that agree with us. Brene argues for a bigger picture. More interaction with those who think differently to us. More nuance and understanding. More people standing in the wilderness and belonging out there between the silos of opinions in this world. Oh so good. Read it now. 

I thought there would be cake- Katherine Welby-Roberts

A quiet kind of a read. Reflections from someone attempting to wrestle with where we find our worth and value and how to start to believe in the reality of a God who really actually loves us. An interesting and reflective read on the start of a journey into maturity. 

Champion- Sarah Millican 

I refer to Sarah as my new best friend because I loved this read and have started mainlining her excellent podcast Standard Issue- a magazine type show for women that doesn’t really care about the traditional things women’s magazines tend to involve.  It also involves lots of funny women having hilarious chats.  I think it’s because Sarah is around my age that I have really enjoyed her reflections on life so far. I’m also going through a bit of an only reading things written by women stage at the moment. (That’s a blog post in itself.) I’m loving the different voices I’m hearing and starting to own and love the reality that I am a women too. (Part of me thinks it’s odd that it’s taken 40 years but at least I’m catching up with, deeply loving and identifying with the voices of women) 

My Animals and other Family- Clare Balding

Yep, another woman I now love. This one contains stories from her childhood  and teenage years mainly told through the horses she owned and rode. Again, reading about a woman forging her own path in a world that was very anti women doing anything has nurtured my love of being a woman and the voices of women. (Maybe that blogpost will come soon…). 

The Road Back to You- Ian Morgan Cron & Suzanne Stabile

Everyone (might be an exaggeration) at our church seems to be slightly obsessed with the Enneagram. We thought it might be time to get on the bandwagon. This is a really helpful clear introduction to it all. On the surface it can seem to be a bit of a personality analysis tool but it’s actually way deeper and more profound than a Myers Briggs type thing.

The book had a really helpful emphasis on understanding and having compassion on each other as we try and work out who we are and the things that affect how we relate to the world around us. I found it very helpful and am looking forward to finding out more. This year I feel like I’m on a journey to know who God has truly made me and enjoy the freedom which comes with that discovery. The enneagram definitely seems to be a good companion on that journey.

(It does come with a health warning not to start labelling all your friends and family with numbers that they might not understand, saying oh you’re such a 7 might not be such a helpful thing to do with it… Also this book was easy to read and funny. That’s a good combination.)

Cartes Postales- Victoria Hislop

Short stories from the Greek Islands, a lovely varied read.

The Music Shop- Rachel Joyce

I loved this book so so much. It was a celebration of all that music can do to your soul and I was reminded how much I love music all over again. If you love music and a collection of slightly eccentric characters this one is for you.

Over to you- what books have you been loving this month?

Posted in Life on the journey | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Weekly round up. Once more.

IMG_2441.jpg

I squint at my watch. 

4.40. 

The small boy next to me wiggles and whispers a cute wakey wakey in my ear. 

I growl a shhhhhh and turn over, he mutters back into sleep and I listen to funny women on my latest podcast obsession. The ladies of Standard Issue (well worth a listen) amuse me back into a coma until. 

6.35. 

The small one grabs my face with his tiny hands. One day he won’t want to do this and so I begrudgingly breathe in his gorgeousness until he cries out ‘I want the grumpy one’. Er. The grumpy what? The grumpy suit instead of the happy one? I switch the light on and we confusingly rub our eyes at each other until he demands carries down the ‘dairs. 

I stumble into coffee. 

We all navigate each other in the morning. Sometimes well. Sometimes not so well. 

The small ones run down the hill to school. Vague goodbyes, faces already absorbed in the fun in front of them. 

Lighter I walk up the hill. 

Clothes exchanged for running gear and I head up and down hills, my brain chugs away on self analysis and just why I was sad this morning. More to dump at my counsellors door this coming week. 

Red faced I return to the house, dancing long to songs from years and years ago, awaking memories and a sense of me before all of this. 

I run for the bus. Make it. Sit down. Write. Head up. We are here. 

Opening the door to a friend’s coffee shop. Warmth and familiarity hitting my gaze, hugs, smiles and joy as I sit and drink coffee. 

Three friends. We sit and chat. And chat and chat some more. Skimming stones of conversations. Inspiring other thoughts and topics. Jumping around and pouring out. So many thoughts, threads and themes.

Now back on the bus. Head aching from no lunch yet and listening hard.

So much to process from our conversation, thoughts to write down and spill out. 

Pause

It’s easier to write descriptive pieces.

But.

In the spirit of this being a round up of the week and not just a day in the life thing…

We’ve had another normal week. With our ordinary issues. Dealing with son1’s grumps post school. Trying to get son2 to not shout his demands like a mini dictator at us. Getting back into running. Seeing friends. Celebrating another year of my Mum. Sleepless nights. Big Bang Theory. Walking up and down and up and down the hill. Miscommunication. Not really understanding myself or why I am reacting the way I am. Some connections and theories rising to the surface.  Assurances of love. Meals with new friends. A walk on the downs in the sunny sunshine. Noting once more the new space we dwell in right now. Working through the monthly budget. Smiles. Cuddles. Tears. Peace. Tentatively exploring all things enneagram and the start of knowing ourselves more. The joy of conversations all through the week about this muddled thing we call life.

It’s been ordinary on one level and yet still extraordinary. Having energy to hang out with others is a new thing. We are still adjusting to what we can and can’t handle. Getting back to trying to communicate beyond what is necessary with each other is still a new thing in our life together. I want to remember to talk about what is in my head. Because, you know, we can do that again. 

These days of space at the end of the week are wonderful but I’m slowly discovering that life expands to fill whatever space there is. If I want to write then I must make time. These days will always be full of running, cleaning, people and reading. Those are my natural go to things which require very little from me to make happen.

There will be few moments of twiddling my thumbs thinking ‘ooo I shall write now’. If I want it to happen I need to make it happen. Which makes me wonder if actually I’m just happy hanging out, going with the flow of stuff to do rather than making an intentional space.  Or.  Maybe I’m scared of the space. Who knows. One to think about some more.

Right, somehow pick up time has rolled around again.

Happy Friday one and all.

How was your week?

 

Posted in Life on the journey | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday roundup…

Today I’m writing from the lovely farmhouse that our church is renting with the idea of some kind of community forming out here. Whilst that vision is developing we are using it in various forms and ways. Thus I find myself sitting in a room listening to people making soup in the kitchen, small children are being taken outside for a walk and a friend is reading by the fire. Every other Friday some of us are gathering out here to relax, create, read, walk, soak up some pretty time and maybe ponder what the future might be for this space.

It’s a lovely place to be on my day off. This week has been another good one. A week of embedding into life in this new routine. A week of reminding myself that it’s ok to enjoy life. A great session with my counsellor helped me think through the idea that as people we are made to flourish. She talked about the flourishing aspects of nature and internally I could feel my thoughts turning to reject such a notion. I am much quicker to see the decay, the darkness, the death of nature. But, as the next few months will show us, nature flourishes. Green shoots are already coming out of the ground. Snowdrops followed by daffodils followed by bluebells are soon to be seen all over our estate. It is ok to be in a season of flourishing. And yes, we are only two weeks into this new season but already I can feel my soul unfurling. I’m fighting my need to add caveats of maybe it will all end tomorrow. But I am trying to embrace joy, trying to feel it deeply rather than dismissing it or being scared that it will leave again.

Small pause whilst I talked to interesting people and ate amazing lunch.

After a lovely morning I’m now back in the more familiar zone of my house with the small people laughing at Peppa pig in the background. They are both hoping I’ll fall asleep so they can watch all the tv. They may be in luck today. No sleep with a small boy coughing in my face all night has led me to a tired zoned out kind of afternoon. But. The joy is still lurking. The sun shines wide and light seems to be streaming in once more. We have a fairly chilled weekend ahead of us and I am grateful for the slow pace right now.

How’s your week been?

Mmm. This sofa is so comfy. I might just lie down and close my eyes. Mmmmmmmm.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Weekly round up…

IMG_2816.JPGIMG_2815.JPG

It’s Friday morning, the sun is streaming through the windows our living room, highlighting the vast amount of small people smear marks all over the place. I shall resist getting out the window cleaner until the sun disappears tomorrow and the marks are hidden once more.

I’ve just been for an 8k run up and down the green hills around the back of our house.

Martyn Joseph is pounding out of my speakers in an effort to drown out the loud silence all around the house. For the first time in a year the house is still. There is no-one asleep upstairs, there are no small people running around demanding I play with them. There is just me, a hot cup of tea and a whole load of space. (actually 3 hours of space but still, 3 hours…)

We have had a week of starting to learn the art of long distance running. We have slowly figured out what combination of routine works best in the morning, how to get us all dressed and fed in fairly good moods and ready to head out of the house to face the day. Mostly it works when I have coffee and Bible first thing, then shower, then interaction with my lovely family. Mostly it works if son1 gets dressed before husbandface leaves for work. Mostly we are learning.

Son2 has settled into the world of nursery in a week of great change, no longer is the beloved Daddy around all the time and now he is hanging out in the place he’s briefly visited for over a year. Now he has a book bag of his own and can choose a book each day to take home. Now he has his own lunchbox and water bottle. Now he gives me his huggle, kiss and a smell and then heads off to play. I now return home three times a week with no children around me. I think this world will take some getting used to.

Already I feel lighter, more able to cope. Already, though, I have all the feelings about this new stage, relief that we’ve made it through the baby and toddler years, gladness that finally I have my craved for space after 5 years of waiting. Wonder that we’ve made it this far, amazement at the two delightful boys who trail up the hill together. I also feel the fear of sending them out into this world, knowing I cannot control the choices they make, knowing that they will get hurt and hurt others. I feel the call to make this home their safe refuge in the midst of all their storms. I feel the terror of what next and the hope of what next and the daily daily daily just keep putting one foot in front of the other and we’ll get there. I feel the call of the ordinary wonder, the meaning in the unseen, the reality of a God who is in All Things.

I ran and ran today, not chasing the speed of the sprint but the long long long slow pace of someone who just needs to keep moving. This appears to be my metaphor for the year, long and slow. Not rushing. Being here. Loving the people around us. Not wishing time away in dreams of a converted van (one day, one day…), not scared of what this empty space means, not rushing to find the meaning because the meaning is already here. The meaning is in today. Looking up, looking around, noticing the world and having the strength to keep on putting one foot in front of the other.

I have no idea what shape the space of these hours will take but for now there is a book and a sofa awaiting me before I eat lunch and pick up the smallest of our team. That’s a good kind of small.

How’s your week been?

Posted in Life on the journey | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Weekly roundup…

26229356_10155859252610479_7269532040987720227_n.jpg

Somehow we’ve made it through our last week of being out of routine. Next week husbandface starts his new job, son2 will start at his new nursery and we will plunge into some kind of new normal. 

This week has mainly been about fighting the large black cloud of January. I really struggle with this month. It’s been hideously dark in the days and I am finding no motivation to live well.  I know I need to eat well, run and read in order to thrive in this life.  Somehow hiding on the sofa under a blanket whilst consuming every last sweet thing in the house feels much more satisfying. Except it’s not. I wouldn’t mind if it was. But. I operate better with regular exercise and eating vaguely healthy things. This week it’s all gone a bit wrong… 

Ah well. 

The small voice of self kindness is whispering in the back of my mind. Something about being slow, kind, gentle and patient with myself. Something about my worth being bound up in a great love that transcends circumstances, choices that aren’t all that great and the dark gloom that encircles me.  

The black dog has loomed large this week but there are things that can shrink it. 

So.

The good in the midst of the bad and ugly has been:

Some nights in my bed without the smallest one on my face. Slowly we make progress with his sleep- thanks to the amazing patience of the lovely husbandface. 

Fun times with the boys. Being amused by their interactions and general increased ability to communicate slightly better than a couple of months ago.

Small signs of spring on the way. A purple flower in a hedge on a gloomy walk around our streets. Sun bursting in the distance through the murk across a stormy sea. The parting of grey clouds to reveal blue sky beneath. Birds singing at twilight.  A sunny morning run along the seafront. Face turned up towards the sky trying to soak in every ounce of vitamin D from the sun before it left again.

26229642_10155864507135479_5550033950104927381_n.jpg

Sitting in my counselling room reflecting on change in my approach to myself.

Sitting in my spiritual directors house noting change and the return of ordinary issues in after the massive bolder of the last year and a half has been moved away.

Laughing wryly with the lovely husbandface at the return of the old issues, grateful that maybe we have a chance to tackle them and see how we’ve changed as they return.

Husbandface’s face.

Sitting in a pub with a new friend, deeply loving the indulgence of Friday night drinks away from bedtime in our respective houses. Swimming the depths chats. Mmmm.

Son2’s insistence on being a dog for the whole of a 45 min walk on the seafront.

Son2’s excitement about starting his new nursery this coming week.

Drumming at my African Drumming class. Being made to solo and kind of loving finding the rhythm and doing some big hitting around it, in it and through it.

A slow Saturday start. Brownies at the market. Park with the small ones. Coffee in hand.

Onward we go through January… How’s your week been?

Posted in Life on the journey | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The first Friday round up from 2018

100_2834.jpg

The fog lifts from 2017 and into 2018 we go.. 

I think the Friday round up will continue into 2018.

Because, well, somethings shouldn’t change all that much. And it’s good for my head to know I will make myself write at least once a week.

It’s Friday lunchtime and I’m sitting, not on a sofa with a small person watching some inane TV, but in my parents house. Mum’s study/spiritual direction room is a haven of peace and tranquility, as is their whole house, summer house and amazing labyrinth at the back of their garden. It’s a good place to come and hang out for a few days.

For the first time in a long long time I am having three days to myself, days to do whatever I like with, days to live in someone else’s rhythm for a while, days to read, write, sit and generally not have to look after any small people. It’s been amazing. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been heaven. I still have crazy anxious thoughts, time off doesn’t always equal times where I am perfect and my surroundings are perfect. Life sadly isn’t like that. BUT. It has been and is still for the next 18 hours or so, a wonderful gift. It has been amazing to run without the voice that says, hurry up and get back to move on to the next thing. It has been delicious to not have to get out of bed in the morning, no voice demanding to ‘go down the ‘dairs NOW’.  It has been lovely to have space to read without thinking about what the next thing will be. It has felt like a holiday, time to decompress and truly relax.

It feels oddly fitting to start the year with rest. To start by knowing this year isn’t about my efforts to be amazing, to know that I am not in control of my family and their well being, to stop and let someone else take the reins.

I came with a sense of wanting the profound thoughts to flow. I feel like we’ve climbed the first peak of many mountains in this adventure of being parents. I feel like there are new peaks to be explored in our wider lives and in the raising of small ones. For now though, my hiking boots rest at the cairn at the top and I sit gazing over the sun drenched vista all around me.

100_0059.jpg

This year I’m actually going to make it back here. Buttermere. The best place. Fact. 

This year feels like a turning point kind of a year. We are 5 years into the raising small people thing, the eldest is established in school, the youngest has just had his first settling in session at his new nursery. He’ll go there for 15 hours a week in a couple of weeks time. For the first time in this strange season of life I shall have extended space in my days. It feels like we are moving from winter to spring. I do not feel like a frozen tree frog this year. I feel like air might be coming back to my lungs and that I might have some energy once more.

Husbandface is launching into the 9-5, 20 or so days of holiday a year, world. He has only ever known the adrenaline lurch from term to holiday, holiday to term. We as a couple and family have only ever known what it is to plough through the term and eventually find breath in the holidays. Sprint, rest, sprint, rest. Now we embrace the long slow middle distant runner world. We need to find our pace, our rhythm, how to breathe in the long walk home. (can you tell I’ve been running lots in these couple of days…).

We have no idea how all this newness will go from this viewpoint up here. I can’t predict how my lovely husband’s health will be, how he’ll settle into the new routine, how me and the boys will be with each other with him back at work. I can’t control how we will all live in this new world. We just have to put our boots back on and walk out onto the path ahead.

There are exciting projects going on at church, potential worlds to get involved with, one day we will actually join a small group and rest that longing in our hearts to get to know people in a deeper way. As I look at the view I can see that we have been held up this mountain and we will be held as we journey on. I can feel my faith unfurling again, truths that have held me thus far still holding me now. I still believe in the cup, the cross, an empty tomb, an unfailing love, a reason to keep walking on and hope in a future of unimaginable relief awaiting.

Last year, for the first time, I claimed a word for the year. It was treasure. At random points throughout the year I saw treasure all around in our long dark tunnel of long term illness. It was good to treasure things up in the black inky night.

This year I’m going to go with rooted, and not just cos it’s a Christian cliche kind of word… This year feels like one of being rooted where we are, digging deep down into our community, digging deep to plant the new jobs and rhythms of life that we will experiences. I want to be rooted by streams of living water, I want to be a tree that produces good and healthy fruit. I long for our family to flourish and know more and more of our Maker who holds us here and calls us to love those around us.

I want to be rooted in the fundamental reality that I am worthy, I am loved, I am beloved. Before anything I do this year, before I put on identities of being a wife, motherhood, friendship, church involvement etc.

Before all that I am Kath, beloved of my heavenly parent, created as a beautiful poem, loved with an everlasting love. I do not have to prove my worth with how I spend my time, how many friends I have, what works I do, how good I am at my different roles.

I wake and I am loved.

Before anything else happens in a day.

I am worthy.

I belong.

I am held.

I am sought.


I am loved.

From that place of secure rooted safety I am then free to love my family well without my worth coming into question when I mess up, hurt them and don’t make good choices in my love. I can be free to say sorry, to ask for forgiveness, to know redemption rather than believing the lie that I am no good. I am free to choose wisely how to spend time, to set healthy boundaries, to love deeply and well because my worth is bound up in something so much greater and unchanging.

That’s the theory I’m working with anyway, some of the time my brain mashes up and calls me selfish for even thinking I could be of worth and value. Ugh. Thankfully I have an unchanging reality of a God who comes and seeks and finds his children, who seeks out the lost because of their utter worth and value to him. Who didn’t leave Adam and Eve when they rejected him but who came out looking for them. Who always takes the initiative to come and find and hold and love.

Phew. Unchanging realities are good to throw myself on when I go down the rabbit holes of my mind.

And that’s about it for now. I’ll be back around this blog here and there each week. 

See you around on the path.

Posted in Life on the journey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment