Rocking out, and Eating Elephants

Do you know the song, Party Rock Anthem?

(I am very familiar with a variety of party/dance music – and not just because I have a teenage daughter. The familiarity dates back to when she was a little girl. She’s a dancer, and thankfully their dancing teacher always finds ‘clean’ versions of songs for them to dance to, even now. Strangely enough, my whole life, this type of music has always been a genre that has ‘got me going’. If my house needs a good clean? Dance music will be blaring. Even though I am in my early forties ๐Ÿ˜› )

Back to the song I mentioned above…
There’s a repetitive line in it that says : ”Everyday I’m shuffling”.
Well, for me, I’m on the hunt for clown shoes, because I feel like ‘Everyday I’m JUGGLING’.
On any given day there are so many balls in my air space, all at once, that it takes a very large amount of effort for me to keep them there. I’d love to say that I am always 100% successful…. but like with any good circus clown, at least one needs to drop at some time, or else it wouldn’t be funny, right? ๐Ÿ˜›

I am relieved that most times, when I drop a ball, it isn’t too much of an issue. It’s minor things I may have let slip, or forgotten – no harm, no foul. Yesterday I dropped a ball though that could have been really serious. Thankfully, somehow, there was a Plan B (I still don’t know how there was a Plan B, because I had completely missed Plan A!!!) and so what could have been a serious problem, was just a minor bump in the road.

Last night, as my son was ‘passing through my space’, and heading to the shower, he made a comment about what had happened – which is odd because I had not said that I was open to discussion about the issue ๐Ÿ˜›
(In actual fact, when I briefly relayed a summary of events to the kids, I pretty much warned them that I was feeling super sensitive about it all, and so anything they were planning to talk about, even if unrelated, that they knew would add to my stressed out mind should probably be put on hold till today…. unless it was an emergency.)

And yet my son’s comment didn’t stress me out. It was one of those things that makes you stop and think, ”Who are you, and what have you done with my kid?” ๐Ÿ˜›
And it took my thoughts a little further too ๐Ÿ˜‰

I am definitely ‘pro having an attitude of gratitude’, and even though some days are truly landslide days, I still find something to be grateful for.
I am also a ‘little things’ person – I notice and appreciate the small things, and I believe they do count.
It’s definitely a ‘lifestyle’ for me – a mindset that I have that I do without even knowing that I do it half the time.

And yet, surprisingly, there are still things that I ‘forget’. Little things that I see, without seeing.
(Kind of like when I bump into someone who says to me, ”I’ve driven past you about four times this week, and I’ve waved every time. You looked right at me, but didn’t wave back.”
And I have to tell them, ”I probably wasn’t actually looking at you – I was probably watching all the cars where you were, trying to anticipate their next move for my safety sake. I’m so sorry…. if I had seen you, I promise I would have waved.” And there is always a nod of understanding and a sympathetic comment, and off we go. Because where I live, driving on our roads is treacherous, and we all know it.)

So… sometimes it is only after a time of TRUE and QUIET reflection on events that happen, that I am able to fully SEE what I already saw in the moment. You’d think I’d do better at seeing these things, because a lot of times they’re actually kind of repetitive… but each time, there is a new ‘take away’, in some way, and so I can’t help but wonder if perhaps it’s not so much about the repetition / learning the lesson of seeing them every time ‘properly’, but more about the additional small things that get added along the way.

Desmond Tutu said something once, regarding ‘big’ problems :
”How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”
The meaning behind it is that pretty much most things in life that seem daunting or overwhelming can usually be accomplished or ‘solved’ by going slowly and taking on things a little bit at a time. But of course, this is not always perfect, because hey, as we all know, some things just aren’t in our control – no matter how much time we spend chewing ๐Ÿ˜‰
But I still agree with him for the most part, if there are no control issues.

That said…

When you are presented with more than one elephant, as in a few of them? Let’s face it, that means more than one bite at a time…. and you just aren’t going to have the space in your stomach for those first bites, no matter how much you love to eat ๐Ÿ˜›
And you ARE going to feel overwhelmed and out of sorts.
Probably even more so when you gain a new elephant the next day!
(Isn’t life just the funniest thing, the way everything seems to ‘go wrong’ at once?)

But last night, I was reminded yet again :

I might feel like a clown (minus the shoes because I can’t find them) in a room full of elephants, juggling far too many balls to probably be considered ‘healthy’, and I might have the odd moment where I actually end up dropping a ball (which I do not find funny at all, sigh – until much later on ๐Ÿ˜› )

BUT there’s a bigger picture, and my hope and my faith (which may be different to yours, and that is okay) sometimes works behind the scenes, and I get blindsided by goodness, especially when I had NO plan to start with.

I’ll leave you with this little note :

It is always good to have a plan – to be prepared, to have a goal with a strategic step-by-step to get you there – and to have a Plan B… C… D – because you never know what’s going to work, right?
But somedays? Somedays you just need to breathe, trust, let go, and see what happens (quote by Mandy Hale)…. especially on the days where you forgot to make a Plan A!!!
And on those days? When things turn out okay even though you dropped the ball?


Don’t forget to breathe out a huge sigh of gratitude! It will give you a reason to smile at least ๐Ÿ˜‰


Follow up post – matters!

I started writing this post yesterday. And then, due to a chain of events beyond my control, I had to stop. By the time 7pm rolled around, I was just too exhausted to ‘be present’, and so here I am…. editing as I go…. finishing what I started ๐Ÿ˜‰

On Wednesday morning, I wrote and published this post.
By lunchtime, in my mind, there was so much that could be added to it, so much more that needed explaining properly, the realisation that I had probably not expressed myself correctly.
And as I lay in bed in the dark, trying to still my mind and drift off to the place where all my dreams come true, ( gee, I wonder why ๐Ÿ˜› ) I concluded that the post should probably be deleted, for a multitude of reasons.

It wasn’t written properly – my posts are very seldom what could be called well-researched though : most of the time, I just speak from my heart.
It would probably be misunderstood because it may have come across as a contradiction to the other things I say.
It probably wasn’t ‘clear enough’ in general – no one would relate in any way, and the lack of clarity (and seeming contradictions) would probably unleash quiet judgements and disappointments in me/my character.

I woke in the morning, determined to log on and delete the post – hoping that those who had already read it would still visit my blog again sometime.
But first, I needed coffee. And I needed to attend to the ‘Mom’ side of life – so I got my daughter going, got myself ready, took the girls to school (my daughter and her friend), put a load of washing on and gave the dogs their breakfast.

I logged on to WordPress, and found a comment on my post that had me reeling, in a good way. From a regular reader whose blog can be found here.
Read. Love. Livethe above is why your words meant so very much to me.
AND…
Your words reminded me of something that has become so very special to me in the last few months – words from another dear friend and blogger :
If you helped one person from their brokenness and despair to the place where they realise their potential your life would be a life well lived.”
(I actually have this printed out and stuck on my bedside cabinet so that it is the last thing I see at night, and the first thing I see in the morning.)
Those words have come to mean so much more to me though than just ‘brokenness and despair”.

They are a constant reminder to me that I cannot change ‘the world’ for everyone, but I might be able to help make it a little easier for at least one person!
That I may not be able to make a difference to a multitude, but I can make a difference to someone, and that matters!

And so my post remained, because Read. Love. Live commented – and the real shocker for me was that they found it the most relatable post thus far!
I probably could have deleted it… because I had my ONE person. But I decided to let it stay, just in case there was someone else… and there was. And then I thought, ”Well, who knows… maybe in a few months someone else will stumble upon it and need it, so I’ll just leave it right where it is.”

Some feedback on all the ”perhaps” parts of the original post :

I reached out to two of my ‘close circle’ – who both live about twenty minutes away from me, but I don’t get to see them very often because our schedules seldom coincide. Ha ha ha! (And of course, there’s currently a pandemic!)

But I reached out to them realistically.
I knew neither one could actually practically help me. I also knew that they probably couldn’t help offer solutions simply because the things I have going on have not been a part of their own personal life experiences.
So there was no expectation that if they responded, things would magically disappear or change.
And I also didn’t expect ‘proper’ responses – because I understand ‘life happens’, being busy with commitments happens and has no reflection on whether or not they are ‘making time for me and love me’.

These two friends are a mother and daughter. They have been in my life for 24 years now. And yes, we have that friendship where we can go a month without talking, and you’d never say it when we do get together, or get to chat – other than the amount of time we spend together because hey, a lot happens in a month! ๐Ÿ˜›

The ‘mother’ friend is in her early sixties. She’s been like a mother to me, but most of all, like a friend. She’s young for her age ๐Ÿ˜‰ In fact, I often ‘forget’ how old she really is, until things happen with her health, or in the case of the pandemic, and someone has to remind me that it’s ‘because she is older now, you know’. On the odd occasion when we get to catch up, she’ll leave her house at 10am, telling her husband she is coming to me… and he’ll ask, ”What is there for supper, because I KNOW you won’t be home in time!” HA HA HA! And he’s right…. she usually leaves at about 8pm that night!
I sent her a message asking if she was free for a call, and she ended up calling me instead of replying. We spoke for just under two hours. We were apparently both on downhills, and we were both cross with each other for not letting the other one know ๐Ÿ˜› Neither of us could help each other with the issues at hand in any way, other than this : genuine sadness about each other’s situations, and then a brief trip down memory lane with a good few giggles.
And the agreement at the end of our chat was that we both felt like we had just had a great big hug.

The ‘daughter’ friend is in her late twenties now – I met her when she was just five years old! Now she’s married, and has a little three year old boy of her own, who my teenage daughter adores. The ‘daughter’ friend is like the sister I never had – and like me, has two much older brothers and so she feels the same way about me. She’s my baby sister, and I am her big sister – I don’t think I ever fully appreciated my role in that until a month ago when she phoned me for advice, and I gave her my honest opinion based on personal experience, and she replied with, ”Well then that just confirms for me what I already knew – thank you. You are someone whose opinion I really value, and I know I can trust what you are saying. It’s so nice having a big sister to talk to!”
I had NOT reached out to her, because she was at work. Her mom got to her first, and that evening I got a surprise voice note from her! It made me laugh out loud :
”If Blake wasn’t sick at the moment, I’d have stopped at your house on my way home and slapped you upside the head! WHY haven’t you told me everything that has been going on? Mom filled me in, and I know I can’t help with the issues, but what CAN I do?”
A few voice notes later, reminding me of things from the past that had ‘worked out’, and made me a better person, and how hope truly never leaves this silly old heart of mine which is something she admires, and well? It helped me get off my butt on that downhill so that at least I was standing! โค

And those conversations were exactly what I needed for yesterday’s chain of events when I got knocked down – because I just got straight back up again ๐Ÿ˜‰
(In my mind there is a medley right now…. ”I get knocked down; I’m still standing; I will survive) ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰

Interestingly enough, the song I Will Survive was originally released a couple of months after I was born ๐Ÿ˜‰ And I just copied the link and the last three letters in it are my short version for MY name! meg! (I’m still processing that little titbit! ๐Ÿ˜› )

I’ll end with these words that I have read a few times in the last few days, by a lady named Rachel Martin :

”Your day doesn’t have to be perfect to have meaning!
Showing up matters
Giving matters
Trying matters
Loving matters
Being there matters
Perfection doesn’t matter
YOU MATTER.”

Something I need to learn

I’ve been a bit out of sorts the last few days. Maybe you know the place I am talking about… where everything, and nothing, is actually wrong. Well, not exactly ‘nothing’, but they’re things you can’t control and so sitting and being worried or stressed because of them is a futile exercise.
But then something happens that you did have control of, and now there is stress because maybe you made a mistake, or maybe it’s left you questioning something about yourself…
And suddenly ‘everything and nothing’ affect you.

I can’t pinpoint the particular thing, or moment… but the last few days have been a slow descent, on my buttocks, over the rocky terrain of a hill – going down.

But if anyone saw me, or spoke to me, I’d appear calm, cool and collected – as if nothing was actually wrong….
Kind of like this image I saw on Pinterest ๐Ÿ˜›

My son picked up on it only yesterday. And commented, ”Mom, what’s wrong? You’re not yourself.”
And I listed a few things – he’s nearly 23, and it always amazes me that my ‘kid’ is so darn grown up!
When I ran out of breath, and just ended up sighing out loud, ”and….”, and not saying anymore, he responded with,
”Why didn’t you say anything?”
My reply? ”You didn’t ask.”

In saying the above, it sounds like I am a person who bottles up my feelings, right? Like I am someone who missed the value of the lesson, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’.
Neither one is true…. and if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I am actually quite an ‘open’ person – sometimes even to the point of overshare ๐Ÿ˜›

The thing is, I am one of those people that observe the question ‘how are you’ as someone merely being polite. Because isn’t it just a standard greeting?
”Hi! How are you?”
I’ll admit that there are times where I use it as such.
And most of us have accustomed ourselves to the standard reply – the polite response – the one that says something along the lines of : ” good, thanks, and you?”; ”fine, thanks. You?”
You know what I mean.

Sometimes though, there is a different response. And not just from friends and family. There have been times where I have done the polite thing with an employee at a local store, or an old school acquaintance that I may have bumped into. And what should have been a polite two minute exchange turns into a thirty minute conversation.
This doesn’t irritate me in the least bit, even if it makes me late for whatever else I am supposed to be doing.

Because that is MY nature. It’s a piece of who I am, and I believe it is a part of my purpose.
If YOU are a person who gets annoyed by it, it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you! So PLEASE don’t take this as a personal dig, or beat yourself up over it, or feel guilty. NOT AT ALL.

WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT! Remember? And the way that you are different? There’s very likely something in that difference that gives YOU value where I am lacking – that brings value to those around you. I am NOT better than you. I am NOT right, and you are wrong. We’re just different.

There are many people who do the polite thing, and ask how I am… and there are many times that I give the generic, required, polite response. Not because there is anything wrong with the person asking… but most times it’s because I can see they are in a hurry, or experiencing their own stress, and I just don’t want to burden them. But perhaps in this, I am also wrong. Maybe they have been sent my way so that I can ‘burden’ them – because perhaps they have a solution, or a word of encouragement. Perhaps saying the words out loud to them will help me in processing what is actually happening in my situation, and I’ll provide myself with my own solution?

There are so many questions in life that are very difficult to answer ‘correctly’. It’s not easy making the ‘right decisions’. Choices are sometimes limited, and none of the options are ideal. We stumble, we fall, we have moments (or days) where we feel out of sorts.

MY lesson in this blog post? Something that I have realised that I need to ‘learn’?

I don’t have many people in my life that I can go to. My circle is very small. BUT!!! I HAVE a circle! I have got a handful of people who truly love me – even though I am different to them, and don’t always do things the way they want me to. I expect them to let me know when something is wrong – I want them to call on me when they need something, even if it’s just a pep talk!
I don’t want them to wait until I ask how they are – I want them to reach out and tell me how they are, how I can help, what they need!

AND I NEED TO LEARN TO APPLY THAT IN MY LIFE... and maybe I can save my butt from that rough terrain of the downhill ๐Ÿ˜›
Maybe I feel so overwhelmed because I am so stuck in the problem, that I forget the lifelines of people who do love me that I have been given. They may not have a solution. They may not be able to help. But they might just remind me of the beauty of the stars in a very dark night sky.

No, I won’t be telling the public people who treat me with politeness. No, I won’t be posting my problems on social media. Because it is not who I am.
And again, there’s nothing wrong with taking that approach! I have seen many people helped because they had the courage to do so! (And it isn’t easy baring your soul to the world! It’s definitely a brave thing to do!)

But perhaps I need to start giving the people I love so very much the opportunity to love me back in all the ways that I love them?

Belated Easter

They say that Easter is the only time it is safe to put all your eggs in one basket. Nope. Not true.
If I did that, in MY house, by the time I got to the basket there probably wouldn’t even be one left for me. ๐Ÿ˜›

This is not because my children are selfish. Or because they don’t care about their mom. (In fact, my daughter will tell me it is because she cares, and is trying to help me lose weight ๐Ÿ˜› )
It is simply because, well, they love chocolate.
And they know their mom – if it’s left lying around, it’s for us – if mom wanted it for herself, she would have hidden it ๐Ÿ˜›

Something was missing for me this Easter. By the time Sunday lunch rolled around, I felt a bit restless, trying to determine what it could be. (We celebrate Easter on Easter Sunday – the chocolate overload dished out in the morning, and a delicious roast dinner at lunchtime.)
I put the ‘missing part’ down to the fact that by the time Sunday rolled around I was utterly exhausted, after the events of the last few weeks, both emotional and physical. Pain didn’t help – I’d helped move my mothers care home and lifting boxes, carrying things etc. isn’t quite a great thing to be doing when you suffer from old back injuries.
Plus there was the fact that I had kicked my baby toe so hard, I broke it – but that just makes me laugh. I am a strange one, indeed!

It was only when my daughter came to me in the late afternoon, and made a comment, that I realised what had been missing!

Every Easter Sunday, for the past 20 years, I have woken up early in the morning, to write out clues and hide them with Easter eggs…. sending my children to hunt for their next dose of chocolate. As they have got older, I was able to have even more fun with it, because I could make the clues a bit more difficult. On Saturday afternoon, knowing how truly tired their mom was, both kids had approached me at different times, saying that they were really too old for it, and it wasn’t necessary. And so I didn’t give it another thought.

And then my daughter commented on Sunday afternoon, ”I actually missed the clues this morning – it wasn’t the same.”
And in that moment, I knew that my heart had missed doing it…. that that was the ‘missing part’ for me. Something so small, and seemingly insignificant. That actually had a great impact on all of us – because when I asked my son later if he had missed it too, he smiled and said that even though he knows he is an adult and too old for ‘his mom to be doing stuff like that’, it was weird to get all his share of the Easter eggs at once.

Things change with every year that rolls by. The pandemic brought VAST changes in just a year, that none of us saw coming. If you’re a believer, then you know that God never changes.

But I also realised something else that doesn’t change : the little things really DO make a difference! We need to keep doing them!

Here’s hoping you all had a really great Easter! โค

Meg’s Monday Musings, I guess

Over the last few years, I have become increasingly aware of how we are all different. I don’t just mean in physical appearance, or in our hearts… I have also extended my thinking to cover things like how we respond to things, what works FOR US, our opinions and the way we approach the situations life gives us, etc.
Something else I have become increasingly aware of in my own heart is the need to not only respect these differences, but celebrate them because, quite frankly, the world needs all of us. We just have different things to contribute.

Sadly, in some cases, there will be times where celebration falls short, because that particular thing is disheartening, saddening, confusing. Perhaps that person has been shaped by a particular experience in a negative way, and that is the reason for them responding in a way that elicits hurt, anger and bitterness though.
There is a saying that goes something like this : I still care. I still want to see you eat. Just not at my table.

I understand that. A part of me can agree with that saying. And yet….

I will always want people to eat at my table. Eventually. If at all possible. And of course saying that elicits responses like, ”You’re a sucker for punishment”, ”you’re weak and a doormat”, ”you clearly lack boundaries and deserve to have your peace thrown in turmoil, because you aren’t protecting it”.

What is really funny to me is that I CAN see the small bits of truth in those things. Thanks to technology we have an overload of information to teach us all of the above, especially when it comes to boundaries and protecting our peace. We have advice pouring in via social media in the way of articles and memes and short videos to make us strong and prevent us from becoming ‘doormats’.

I remember reading once : The heart of the problem is a problem of the heart.

And so, as my heart is changing radically (in what I deem as all the best ways) a lot of the advice and sayings out there are becoming things that I just can’t fully agree with. A sucker for punishment, indeed! Because this DOES make me MORE vulnerable, and more open to experiencing hurt and heartache. BUT it has also brought me a strange sense of peace, which I simply can’t afford to fight against to satisfy the countless items of advice to ‘protect my peace’ when I have found it in a way that is not in alignment with all these things.

I am able to agree to disagree. I don’t need to always be right. I also don’t need to force my opinions and advice on people in a way that I get frustrated and angry when they don’t do what I have told them to. I am ACCEPTING of the concept that WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT! One of the hardest things I have done, and have to do every now and then, is forgive people who are not sorry, will not say they are sorry, and live in a space where they truly believe that they have done nothing wrong.

And I have, in all of this, realised something that I think is important – TO ME : I actually don’t need apologies, or changed behaviour to prove that you’re sorry. It isn’t why I am still here roaming this earth – it’s not my purpose, if you will.
Other people’s choices, behaviour and the condition of their hearts is not my responsibility. But I AM responsible for my choices, behaviour and the condition of my heart.

There are people in my life who have hurt me deeply. Someone very close to me, my very own blood, has made a lifetime of ‘trying to destroy me’, when she was supposed to love me and nurture me. People in positions of power have abused me. But all of that? Whatever choices they made and whatever they tried to do to me? Well… that is on them. Not me. I have learnt that forgiving them, even though they will never say they are sorry… TRULY forgiving them in MY heart, brings ME peace. And pretty much introduces a freedom within me that I have struggled to grasp for so many years.

Jumping back to eating at my table : any wounds, dissatisfaction, or pain that they be suffering now might possibly be self-inflicted. It is not for me to judge them for that. Or to even rejoice in the fact that they are now possibly ‘getting what they deserve’. NOT MY PLACE. NOT MY BUSINESS.
And if those people reach a point in their lives where they show up at my table, WITHOUT apology, needing a little bit of kindness, compassion, or food for their souls to help them face the day because a particular choice they made or circumstance they are facing has caused them a deep hurt, despite warnings I may have issued or advice I had given? Well, who am I to tell them : Oh, I care… but off you go. Go and find another table. Love isn’t served here.

The last few weeks have not only shown me all the things I DON’T want to be…. it has taught me the greatest lesson of all time. The ONE thing I ABSOLUTELY NEED to be. LOVE.

And because I lack perfection, this is harder than just learning the lesson. Along the way, I am finding myself in situations where this is being put to the test. In most cases, I am getting it right. There are still the odd ones though where I need to iron MYSELF out, and be more determined about living out love, no matter what it costs me.

Unfortunately, feeling and thinking all of the above means that there will be tables that I will be no longer invited to. There will not be an attitude of ‘agree to disagree’ and I will be viewed in an undesirable light, and criticised in many ways. And the feeling and knowledge of that? Well, it feels a bit like trying to swallow a pineapple whole.
But here’s the thing. It’s THEIR table. If I am not welcome there, then I need to respect that. I need to truly forgive so that I can find peace.
And if there ever comes a day where they approach MY table in an hour of need (even if only to just get them through that need and have them walk away again) I will set them a place, comfort them and show them kindness, and love them for as long as they let me.

NONE of these changed hearts attitudes have come without a price to me. NONE of the musings above have come easy. NONE of it is necessarily part of YOUR journey. But it is a part of mine. As are each and every one of you.

Here’s hoping you all have an incredibly special and wonderfully enlightening week โค

habitually grumpy

The title of this blog post is very much NOT me. But I’ve certainly had my moments of grouchiness! This image is from Amazon, and it made me giggle :

They say that today may have been created by good old Big Bird from Sesame Street…
You guessed it! Today is…..

Do a Grouch a Favour Day

Grumpy people are all over the place. If you haven’t encountered one, then you need to get out more ๐Ÿ˜›
And I am not meaning those who are perhaps overtired, or stressed, and having a grumpy moment.
I am talking about those who go through life constantly complaining and seemingly always dissatisfied!

But guess what? Even those people are deserving of love! Even more so than others! Because more often than not, the lack of love is the very reason they are the way they are!

We should be like this every day… but today in particular please…. if you encounter someone who seems to have forgotten how to smile, or is grumbling a lot, let’s try to :

Be kind with our words, and try to remove any impatience from our tone.
Respond, react and treat them as if you swallowed a cup of sunshine instead of coffee this morning ๐Ÿ˜‰
Don’t take their response to you personally – remember how you feel when you’re grouchy… it’s definitely a ‘you’ thing and not anyone else…. it’s possibly the same way for them ๐Ÿ˜‰

There was a little song I learnt, and used to sing (and still sometimes sing to myself) which apparently even Google is unaware of! I learned it at about age 6, and still vaguely remember the words. I think I have shared it before… but I am going to share it again on this day where you CAN make a difference (even when the grouchy person may pretend that you haven’t)!

”Crossness is catchy like the fever,
Crossness is catchy like the flu…
So send a loving smile,
Spreading mile by mile,
For friendliness is catchy too, thank goodness!
Friendliness is catchy too!”

Here’s hoping that you all encounter some kindness today, whether you’re feeling grouchy or not! ๐Ÿ˜‰

a little love

In case you missed all the romantic paraphernalia in a variety of stores… tomorrow is Valentine’s Day – or for me, Single Awareness Day ๐Ÿ˜›
I am not a big fan of this day, because it’s been exploited, and prices skyrocket, and besides, every day is a day to celebrate love – whether it be love for your partner, or love for your friends, or love for your children etc.

Many years ago, I wrote a Valentine’s story. There are a few of you who will recognise it as I have shared it before, and you liked and commented. It’s something I like to revisit every year at this time. Not because it is any great piece of literature… but because I personally never want to forget the meaning behind it.
When I wrote it, I truly hoped it would go viral. Even if it went that way as ‘anonymous’. Because it wasn’t about ME! It was about the MEANING.

So here it is, for those of you who may have missed it….

Iโ€™d appreciate it if youโ€™d take the time to read it.

โ€œI feel like I should go.โ€
โ€œWhenever youโ€™re ready.โ€
โ€œNot yet. I think Iโ€™ll have some more juice first.โ€

She smiled and filled his glass, and then plopped into the chair next to him, sighing deeply. He smiled, raised his glass to her, and said,
            โ€œHereโ€™s to us.โ€
She winked and gave him the biggest smile she could. Then she giggled,
โ€œHappy Valentineโ€™s Day.โ€

He rolled his eyes and they laughed together. Theyโ€™d been together for ten years and had never yet โ€˜properlyโ€™ celebrated a Valentineโ€™s Day together.

This was the thing that had drawn them together in the first place โ€“ the knowledge and desire to live every day as Valentineโ€™s Day.
To do things with love โ€“ loving strangers and animals and friends, and inadvertently loving themselves.

Every day the opportunity to love each other was not wasted.
Every week he brought something new for the garden โ€“ so her house had a permanent supply of her favourite plants and flowers.
Breakfast in bed, taking turns with housework, a surprise bottle of champagne or dinner outโ€ฆ these things were not just saved for special occasions.
Uplifting words of love and encouragement, and exclamations at their good looks and intelligence, were a daily thing.
So when Valentineโ€™s Day came around, it was just another day for them.

He reached for her hand, and stroked it gently, asking,
            โ€œDo you think theyโ€™ll ever get it?โ€
She shrugged and replied solemnly,
            โ€œSome do, and that counts.โ€

He nodded thoughtfully, and then said,
            โ€œI broke our rule a bitโ€ฆI got you something for Valentineโ€™s Day. Itโ€™s in the cupboard.โ€
Raising an eyebrow, she retrieved a large, flat box from its hiding place.
As she slowly lifted the lid with a frown, he grinned,
            โ€œDonโ€™t be too mad. Itโ€™s for the baby.โ€

Instinctively, her hand rested on her swollen belly for a moment, and she caressed the bundle that had been nestling there for the past seven months. Then she smiled lovingly at him, and opened the lid.

She lifted out the large scrapbook, entitled โ€˜The Love Journalโ€™, and began to page through it. Unable to hold back the tears any longer, she let them travel a silent path down her cheeks, wetting her neck, as she saw what heโ€™d done.

He had taken their photoโ€™s and memories as a couple and filled the book with them, as well as tips and quotes on each page, as a reminder and guide to the beauty of loving every day โ€“ doing things for others unselfishly. At the end of the book, in a sleeve, was a voucher to purchase another journal โ€“ she removed it from its plastic resting place and gave him a watery smile,
            โ€œFor me and the baby?โ€

He nodded, a tear escaping from the corner of his eye. She gently nestled in next to him and held him tightly when he said,
            โ€œI guess Iโ€™m ready.โ€
Looking up at his handsome face, she kissed his chin and whispered,
            โ€œI love you.โ€
He held her, and whispered words of love to her. Then laying a hand on her stomach, he whispered a little more, before closing his eyes.

The doctor and nurse watched from the doorway, tears streaming down their cheeks, listening and waiting patiently for the young couple to say their goodbyes. As he took his last breath, each of them knew in their hearts that they had got it.

~~ Written by Meg ~~

Here’s hoping you all experience the love of Valentine’s Day, every day… and the joy that comes with giving โค

flighty feelings

While my attitude always seems to lean towards positivity, my emotions do not. What I mean is that in any given day, I can experience moments across the entire spectrum of emotion – sadness, anger, guilt, happiness, hope, love, fear etc. Every. Day. There are moments. Some are very short lived – appropriate to just that moment. Some last a little longer.

Somebody commented a few months ago, when I shared the above with them, that there must be something wrong with me – an ’emotional ticking time bomb’ who is on a permanent emotional roller coaster. I considered what they said, decided there may be some truth to it, and added it to my ‘personal challenges list’- things I need to look into ‘fixing’ and changing. The list is now an A4 page, and I am not even halfway with crossing things off… so it might be a while before I address the comment they made ๐Ÿ˜›

BUT… (yes, there is always a but… ๐Ÿ˜› )

I happened upon an article this morning that reminded me of the notation on the bottom of the personal list that I am working my through. And it made me smile.

Now according to this article, which is apparently evidence based and well researched, I am actually psychologically sound (for the most part ๐Ÿ˜› ) because of this tendency to feel all these different emotions. Wait, what?!?!?!

And as I continued reading my smile got bigger and didn’t leave my face, and now my cheeks hurt ๐Ÿ˜›

Have you ever experienced a moment in time where something makes you ‘self assess’, and suddenly you realise that in that particular thing, your progress is very noticeable? Doesn’t it feel good? To be able to recognise an ‘error in your ways’ from your past/younger self, and get a full grasp on the way you have changed? FOR THE BETTER?

For me? It is one of the most amazing FEELINGS in the world, that is backed by evidence, bringing a very loud and affirmative fist bump in the air ‘YES!’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

Years ago, I got lost in my emotions. Half the time, I didn’t even know where they were coming from. For example, I’d wake up in the morning feeling angry – angry at myself, life, the world. And so that is how the rest of my day went. I never reflected on why I was feeling that way. I didn’t bother to try and change how I was feeling. And my actions and reactions for the rest of the day came from that place of anger.

Part of my personal growth journey has been to ‘get a handle on my emotions’. Not to harden my heart and not feel them, but to be more aware of them and WHY I am feeling them…. and to NOT base actions and reactions on the emotions themselves.

Trying to control emotions is actually futile – we are created to be beings that feel and so whether or not we want them, emotions are here to stay. But, for want of a better word (because some may be uncomfortable with this one) we could learn how to channel them. Like maybe letting our excitement about something motivate us, or allowing our guilt to spark change.

When it comes to attitude, we often see the word choice. Choosing to change a bad attitude, or the way we see things, for the better. In fact CHOICE pretty much sums up everything in life, right?
And for me personally? I have come to realise that it applies to my emotions as well.
I allow myself to feel them – but I also choose to not allow them to control my whole day. I pause for thought, try to determine what has triggered them, and find a way to use them to benefit a healthier me!

I don’t always get it right. I’m still working on identifying all my emotions, trying to understand them fully, managing them correctly and using them appropriately… but I am definitely MUCH closer to it than what I was a few years ago.

Hence the sore cheeks ๐Ÿ˜›

And who knows, perhaps some day I will graduate to ’emotional ninja’ status ๐Ÿ˜‰

Meg’s mind… be afraid… ha ha!

In my late twenties, and then again in my early thirties, there was an extended period of self loathing – mostly directed at my physical appearance, but not so strangely sparked by emotional negative belief systems. It was bad! In fact, in my late twenties, I actually removed every mirror from my house. Make up was quickly applied in the car, in the rearview mirror – before going in to the office – because it minimised having to look at myself. And yet I did the make up anyway… because I still cared how I looked. What a conundrum, right? Not seeing anything good, and yet still making the effort!

And in those awful periods of hatred, the people who knew me and actually loved me, were consistent in telling me that it needed to end. That I was not what I had been told I was. That I was different, and worthy, and beautiful. That in this self loathing period, they still loved me, but they missed me. That I was the sunshine in their lives, bringing a positive attitude to all circumstances… and they needed me back.
And in all of that, something in me was still the ‘never say die, prisoner of hope’, because although I was emotionally self destructive, I didn’t give up.

Nowadays? Those same people are still in my life. We don’t see each other very often, and the pandemic has almost wiped out our social time. But the odd phone call is usually accompanied by the statement, ”I just needed a dose of Meg (Meg is my name, in case you didn’t know). I needed to at least hear some sunshine.”

Sounds great, right? But here’s the thing, everyone who is reading this : I am NOT sunshine all the time.

I woke up with this blog post on my heart, but checked my email first. Regular readers will know that I often share posts from Letters To Pogue… and there was a new post in my inbox. So I went off to read it first, and I guess that in a way it confirmed the words in my heart.

Now let me explain why I made the statement I did, and repeat for those who may have missed it :

I AM NOT SUNSHINE ALL THE TIME.

Yes, if you knew all the things that have happened to me in my life, you would see a woman who definitely holds onto hope like it’s as important as the air she breathes, and you would probably see that my nature – despite everything that has tried to twist it to the contrary – is upbeat and happy.

And I generally am. Funnily enough, the pandemic has made me EVEN MORE SO! absolutely crazy, right?!?!?!

BUT if you could spend a day in my mind – if I dared to write an hour by hour account of the thoughts in my head? You’d be more confused than a chameleon on a smartie box (roll of Rockets, for my US friends)!

I love to make friends online. I love that the world has evolved to a point that it has been ‘made smaller’. I love that I have a heart that can connect with people ‘across the miles’, even if I never get to see them in person.
What I don’t love though is that this has also evolved us to a point where we struggle with trust even more, because people have taken advantage of being able to hide behind the internet and many have proven themselves to be dishonest to a frightening degree. It makes me sad.

In my posts, I am genuine. I promise. The words I write are where I am at on that given day. Honesty is important to me. I try to be as real as possible, without dragging you all down any negative emotional roads ๐Ÿ˜›

But this morning, as I reflected on words spoken by someone I love dearly : ”I was just saying that you always find the positive and are just so darn sunshiny, that it is sometimes nauseating, but I love that about you anyway” – this blog post was born. The person who said them? She knows me better than I sometimes know myself. She’s seen the good, the bad and the ugly – and yet she still said that about me? The funny thing is that I got all defensive! I had replied to that statement with : ”No, I don’t! You’ve heard me complain, and be miserable, and be angry!”

Further explanation and discussion revealed to me that ‘she knows those ugly sides of me, but in general my sunny disposition seems to win, and she loves that about me’.

Why on earth am I telling you all this?

Because this is me at my most real – some raw truth about Meg, which may disappoint some, I might add…. and oddly enough, I am telling you as a form of ENCOURAGEMENT! Wait, what?!?!?!

For every person who is still reading, who regularly reads, who is waiting for the explanation :

Yes, I have always been ‘full to overflowing’ when it comes to hope, and not given up when I should have.
Yes, I smile FAR TOO MUCH, that even the staff at the local store and gas station call me ‘Miss Smiley’.
Yes, my general disposition resembles sunshine.

And maybe those things make it ‘easier’ for me?

BUT GUYS!

When I woke up this morning to the USA news (8 hour time difference means that chaos usually erupts while I am asleep!), my heart sank and I swore and I was instantly discouraged when I thought of how this will impact everything, all over the world. (I felt the same way with the UK Brexit news – except with only a two hour time difference I was awake for that!)
For a good half an hour, it felt like all hope was lost. My mind was a browser, ten tabs open, and it crashed.
I will never fulfill any of my dreams! My bucket list may as well get torn up and trashed! It’s all going to be downhill from here. I was afraid : what will the impact be? Every day just keeps getting worse – my own personal circumstances, the circumstances of those I love, the circumstances of people I have no knowledge of, my town, my country, this world as a whole.
And I cried. And I felt miserable. And angry. And I FELT hopeless. Exhausted. Ready to just go back to sleep.

And then I heard that quiet voice – barely a whisper as the waves of negativity tried to drown it – PLEASE STOP!

I still felt all those horrible things. I was still miserable about all of it. But I got up, and made my first cup of coffee. And as I took my first sip, I asked myself a question that I have trained my brain to ask when these moments come : ”Can you control it?”
And because this post is about being transparent, here’s what happened in my brain :

No. And I am f***ing sick of that question. Over it. Who the hell came up with that smart ass concept to start with, anyway? Like it’s supposed to just magically make everything better? I don’t want to play that game! There’s enough depression and anger in this f***ing world already! And now this! I can’t control it, but it doesn’t make me feel any better. I can’t change it either, and that makes me feel worse.
What CAN you change?
You know what? Just shut up! Take your positivity for a long walk off a short pier. I’m done!
No, you’re not.
No, seriously. I am. Everything just f***ing sucks.
Everything?
Yes, everything! I hate this! There’s no jobs here, we’re scraping by with no hope of anything getting any better, my friends are depressed, every time I leave my house I don’t know if I will come home unscathed because crime is so bad, I don’t want to die here, I want a future, I want my dad.
I thought you were upset about the US thing?
I am. But there’s a bunch of other stuff and it makes me just think of everything that is hopeless. There’s just no point anymore.
Hey, take a deep breath.
No.
Yes. And go get more coffee.
Fine. I need coffee.
You do.
What’s going to happen next? I am so tired of it all.
Well, what do you need to do today?
I don’t know… but I definitely need to vacuum my bedroom. I should probably think about what to feed the kids today as well, and I need to check email.
Okay, then that is what is going to happen next.
What?
Sometimes things just suck. You know this. It’s hard to understand when stuff defies logic. You don’t even know the question, but you’re looking for the answer. There might not even be a question. Who knows? You’re upset, concerned, afraid. You’re allowed to be. But it’s shifting you to think of everything else that is wrong. And yes, there is a lot. If you keep thinking of everything that is wrong, you will forget to remember everything that is right. Go write down three things that are right and think of them! It won’t magically make you feel better. You might still feel sad and angry and discouraged. But you still have sh*t to do. So do it.
Okay. *deep sigh*

And here I am. Doing it. The conversations in my head can get quite entertaining – but they DO make my heart hurt sometimes. I let myself feel it all, and process it. And in that process, I seem to calm down. Strange, right?
SOMETHING VERY IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER : your thought processes pretty much determine your life. Yes, circumstances play a big role and can often ‘dash our hopes and dreams’… but that’s why it is so vital for us to practice daily the ‘carry on’ concept. Eating right is important, but so is ‘thinking right’. I haven’t quite mastered it yet… but I am sure as heck going to keep trying!

How do I feel now, you may be silently asking?
I’m still sad, and a little bit worried about it all. I’m angry that this world is such a horrible place. I’m afraid.
But I have drummed into my brain, through daily dedication to doing so : I NEED to accept the things I cannot change and change the things I can. I NEED to not dwell on the negative. Even with my doubt and discouragement screaming the opposite, I NEED to carry on, regardless.
I need to remember that my life, my ‘small and insignificant existence’, STILL HAS PURPOSE!
Even if, in an overwhelmingly negative moment, the only purpose seems to be a clean bedroom carpet ๐Ÿ˜›

Dear ones, you may be afraid and discouraged. You may be feeling lost and alone. Sad. Angry.
I don’t know your circumstances, or what it is you have to choose from.

But please know this : if you are reading this, you are here for a reason. You have value and meaning. There will be plenty you cannot change. But please change the thought pattern that says that all is lost. I’m living proof that it’s not true.
If you need help, reach out!
KNOW that despite everything, you are loved!

YOUR LIFE HAS PURPOSE!


(And now you know why my brother has always said : Nobody’s perfect, but some of us are closer than others, and you, little sister, are not one of them ๐Ÿ˜› )

‘Twas the season…

Christmas has come and gone. I didn’t do a ‘traditional Merry Christmas to all’ blog post.
And it will seem surreal, but I genuinely did think of all my regular readers on Christmas Day… strange, but very true. It’s how I roll ๐Ÿ˜‰

Christmas Day is over… I know some who have already packed away their trees and decorations. And I am reminded of this, which I thought I would share…

Perhaps we can NOT put away all the things that truly count? Unless you’re filling a box with air that has had kisses blown into it to represent love, and are giving it away ๐Ÿ˜‰

I trust you all had a wonderful Christmas – even though times are hard and circumstances were limiting.

Please remember to keep loving and giving, spreading kindness as you go.

And also remember you are cherished, and you matter!