social spark Aisling Beatha: 2009

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Thursday 13 - 13 things about my theme for 2010

13 things about my theme for 2010



  1. So, last time I participated in Thursday 13 i shared some things about yearly themes. About what they are, how i receive mine, how the last year has gone with its theme and so on. Go read it if you have any questions.


  2. In that previous post I shared that despite declaring I was not yet ready to even think about a theme for 2010, I did indeed know what it was. SIMPLIFY, or to put it another way SIMPLIFICATION.


  3. So what does that mean? Well, to an extent it means a variety of things because I believe it is going to affect many areas of my life. But in essence it means working smarter instead of harder, focussing on the things that matter and decluttering.


  4. I believe I need to SIMPLIFY in terms of health, I need to focus on what matters, losing some weight so I can eventually get off the CPAP and live a normal life without it. This in turn will affect many of my other health issues. Along with that will go exercise. SIMPLIFY that by just getting on with it and doing it rather than making excuses. If it's too cold and wet to walk outside, get on the blasted treadmill and DO IT! It's not complicated, it's not difficult, it's SIMPLE!

    There is no easy way out, no quick fix, the only long term way that is going to do this is to eat less and move more, deny yourself some of the time, but not all of the time, and if you believe emotional crap from your past is affecting your ability to do that, do the hard emotional work of working through it, with help if you need it.


  5. I believe I need to SIMPLIFY in terms of my work. STOP stressing over which schools to send the letters to and which not and just send them to all the schools in our target area. I also believe I need to bring it back before god far more. Pray daily, weekly, monthly and yearly, each in slightly different ways, but with a focus on this work, on the children that need to hear the good news, on the teaching staff that need a break from having to lead assemblies, on the heart and soul of our future - children.


  6. I believe I need to SIMPLIFY in terms of chores around the house. I am still working my way out of the situation it got into when I had so little energy due to the sleep apnoea. I still don't have the energy levels I would like but they ARE so much better than they had been. Some of the problems are also because with the reduced energy levels I got out of the habit of doing stuff. I need a simple, easy to use and follow schedule that takes into account that my work hours are at different times on different days every week of the year.


  7. Along with SIMPLIFYING the chores, I think I seriously need to de-clutter, SIMPLIFY what we have. I am not as extreme as some people, but we do have too much stuff, stuff we don't use, don't need and sometimes don't even want. for instance, this morning we have thrown out at least a dozen pairs of old shoes that we were all hanging onto "just in case" or because we hadn't got around to throwing them out yet.

    I wouldn't go as far as to say "If you haven't used it or needed it in a year, you need to throw it out", but I do believe we can seriously streamline our belongings. As mentioned above we have begun this process, on a gentle scale, but gradually things are being taken to the charity shop, or if they are not good enough for that, to the local tip.


  8. There is something in my gut that says we may NEED that de-cluttering. Maybe that is jsut so that if and when we take advantage of our better financial position to refinance with a better deal, the valuer who comes to the house sees a much tidier, in better condition house. Or, maybe there is a move in our future. I don't know, MAYBE there is, maybe there isn't, to be honest it's not something I see, strongly, just that there's enough of a stirring in my stomach that we NEED to do this de-cluttering to make me wonder.


  9. I need to SIMPLIFY my spiritual life. I try to make things so complicated, looking for this book, or that method. And the truth is, I need to read my bible, pray and journal each day. Anything else comes on top of that, anything else while useful is not vital. The only VITAL thing is KNOWING that God loves me beyond measure and moving towards deeper relationship and walk with Him.


  10. I need to maintain a SIMPLICITY to my trip to America. there are many many people who want me to make time to see them. I cannot do everything, see everyone or go everywhere. I ONLY have 2 weeks. I have chosen a focus, and will have to practise using the words "I'm sorry, I just can't." I need to keep hold of the reason for this trip. This trip is about friendship first and foremost, about meeting up with a group of crazy women whom I love as if I had known them all my life. But I am coming to understand that it is also about my relationship with God. About getting me out of comfort zone, out of routine and in a position to listen in different ways to what he is speaking to me.

    Dana, BTW, I am looking forward to making great use of those chairs out back of your house! heeheee. Journal, chair, beautiful view, good friends, oh YES! hmm, might need a pen to go with that journal!


  11. Church fellowship? Well since it turned out that my theme for last year, AND the scripture God gave me to back it up, was used by the couple who came to speak at our church camp in October, who knows what this could mean for our church this year. We are still in a situation where we could be moving from the building, so it could be to do with that, but it doesn't have to be. How do we as a fellowship need to SIMPLIFY? This is something I need to think about, write about and share with the leaders in the next week or so. I need to LISTEN and share.


  12. I can SIMPLIFY my online life and time. Each day I need to check emails, facebook, 2 particular message boards and my googlemail. I would also like to add writing a blog post each day but again that is not essential. What I need to cut out is the amount of time I spend sat at this computer desk just looking for something to fill my time. SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY, SIMPLIFY!


  13. And so, we're at number 13. I am not sure if I mentioned in the previous post abotu themes. But one of the things we like to do is find a scripture to focus on during the year to go with our themes. Usually my scripture comes a week or two behind my theme.

    I haven't yet discovered what that is for the coming year. This is another thing I need to look into and listen for.


If you want to read more Thursday 13 posts, head on over to Thursday 13 by clicking on that banner at the top of this post!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Review on the Year 2009 - Part Five

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
What a question to start the day with. I really have no idea, too tired and cold for a question like that.


How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009?

Comfortable!


What kept you sane?

Faith. I mean, seriously I wonder how people who don't have a belief in and relationship with god ever manage to cope. I KNOW I have somewhere to go, someone to turn to when things get tough, someone to strengthen me, someone to renew me, someone to hold me and give me peace, someone to challenge me to grow and never leave me in the dirt and the dust of life.


Who did you miss?
Another hard question. I think the people I miss the most are people who are here, haven't gone anywhere but just don't communicate. How can you live with someone and keep yourself so closed off to them that they never know what you think or feel about pretty much anything? OK, so not every day is like that, but sometimes at home is the loneliest place to be. This year that is going to change! Breakthrough is NOT over.


Who was the best new person you met?

Not huge numbers of new people this year, and most of the ones I can think of have actually ben around since before the start of the year.
I met some of my son's teachers for the first time this year. They are an interesting bunch. Working in a tough school, with all the issues that entails and yet totally committed to these kids and their futures. Because my son is an incredibly able student we have all sorts of in jokes with some of the teachers and I think they say stuff to me they wouldn't say to some of the other parents.
I'll have to tell you the exam room joke sometime.


Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009:
It's time to stop making excuses, stop blaming other people, stand up and walk through life as an adult inside, not a child. And at the same time as taking up responsibility that I have been trying to avoid, to stop carrying responsibility that is not mine.


Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
I always struggle with this question.
Never heard this song before, but searched for songs with a particular keyword in the lyrics and this is what I found, it's perfect.

You got me
Just in time
I never knew
Just how long it'd take
To get to this place
I can't believe it's been this hard
Now I'm finally moving on
Yeah, it's really coming true

I know it's a breakthrough
To see what you've always wanted me to
I know it's a breakthrough
And I don't have to live like this anymore


Well, we have finally reached the end of the review on the year, and just in time it seems.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Review on the Year 2009 - Part Four

What was the best book you read?
I haven't done an awful lot of reading this year. But I do have a favourite book. It's called Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache, by Harry Eastwood (who BTW is a girl). It's a book of gluten free cake recipes that use a lot of vegetable in them and thereby reduces the amount of fat you need to use. They are absolutely amazing. My favourite is the raspberry and white chocolate blondies, although we also enjoy the beetroot brownies.
Most fo the recipes are also dairy free as well.
My copy is a signed copy because I bought it after I watched her do a demonstration at the Ludlow Food Festival earlier this year.


What was your greatest musical discovery of 2009?

I have just spent a fair bit of the this morning loading new artists into my Spotify playlists. I now have SO MANY playlists it's almost scary, but I guess you could say my musical discovery is SPOTIFY. I love it! As long as my internet hasn't gone down I can listen to free music, the tracks I want to listen to, when I want to listen to them with the occasional interruption of a short advert. I love it!
OK so they don't have absolutely everything but they are working all the time to increase the number of artists who agree to them using their music.


What did you want and get?

Deeper friendship relationships with other women. Both with someone I see in real life and also with a group of ladies I know online. I have really been blessed in this area this year.


What did you want and not get?

hmmmmm, I wanted an easy way to lose weight, but truth be told there is no easy way. The ONLY way to do this is to work hard, eat less and move more!


What was your favourite film of this year?

For a lot of people it's going to be either the latest Harry Potter or the very newly released Avatar. For me it's neither. The first film that I enjoyed this year, was just for the sake of it, lots of fun
Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian
and the 2nd one was just recently, and brought to life an old story we have known for years.
A Christmas Carol in 3D.
Neither of them particularly ground breaking movies, neither of them particularly rated by the critics, but I enjoyed them!


What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 38 on my birthday back in January and I have absolutely no recollection of how I spent the day at all!

Review on the Year 2009 - Part Three

What song will always remind you of 2009?
I don't think there is ONE song as such. There's nothing I can think of that really sums up this year, no one song that I have played over and over.


Compared to this time last year, are you:
a. happier or sadder?

Much happier! This time last year I was struggling with diagnosed but untreated sleep apnoea, as i was waiting to get my CPAP machine. I was having to take daily naps of 2, 3 even 4 hours and still not able to function normally. being THAT tired really does have an effect on your ability to find the joy even in the small things.
NOW, with CPAP, I rarely need daytime naps, and although I would still like more energy and to be able accomplish more, I have so much more than I did a year ago that I am over the moon.

b. thinner or fatter?

THINNER! Yeeeaaaaahhhhhh! Put a bit of it back on the last 2 and a half months, BUT still thinner than this time last year and raring to go getting back into the swing of things.

c. richer or poorer?

hmmmmmmm, hubby has done a lot of overtime and it has allowed us to get "caught up" so on the whole we wre better off than this time last year.


What do you wish you'd done more of?

hmmmmm. I wish I had walked MORE, I mean I wish I had not let the busyness of life and the colder and wetter weather keep me from my walks towards the end of the year. NEXT year, should not be quite as busy through those particular months, and hopefully with a focus on simplifying things, I should be able to keep on with the things that really matter.


What do you wish you'd done less of?

Wasting time and energy on worrying about things that I could do nothing to change, or even possibilities, things that hadn't even happened yet.


How did you spend Christmas?

Just the 4 of us. We had invited friends, but they couldn't come, so it was just me, hubby, and our two boys, aged 15 and 18. We went to church in the morning and had a generally lazy day. Spoke to family later on, which was nice.


What was your favourite TV program?
I have watched much less tv this year than ever before, spending (or possibly wasting) more time on the computer. There were a number of shows i enjoyed watching but nothing that I worried about if I missed an episode. I still enjoy Doctor Who, but on the whole my favourite shows tend to be the lifestyle stuff, food shows, home decor shows, that kind of thing.
I don't watch the reality tv stuff such as "I'm a Celebrity" or "Big Brother". I also steer clear of X factor and the similar dance shows, BUT do enjoy Strictly Come Dancing, the UK version of Dancing With The Stars.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Review on the Year 2009 - Part Two

What was your biggest achievement of the year?
WALKING. As I began to lose weight I began to tackle walks I would never have thought of attempting before. The first big achievement one was to reach the top of the "mountain" over the road from the camp we use for church camp. I did that earlier in the day, the same day I scalded myself. The 2nd came about a week or so later when I finally climbed THE WREKIN! We have lived here in Telford for 16 years and this was the first time I had managed to climb that hill! Then life got busier and the weather began to get colder and wetter and I haven't walked much anywhere in the last 3 months. But I WILL BE BACK!


What was your biggest failure?
hmmmmmmm. . . . . . I don't like to think of this in terms of "failure", rather in terms of "areas in which I still need to grow". I still need to grow in being consistent, particularly around the house and in my spiritual life. Also in taking proper care of me.


Did you suffer illness or injury?
What, other than chucking a kettle full of hot water over myself (see the previous post if you missed all that)? I would not call this other situation an "illness" as such, but I do have Sleep Apnoea. I was finally diagnosed at the end of 2008 after many years of knowing that i had but not being able to get doctors to take me seriously. I picked up my CPAP machine in January and have to use that every night as I sleep. It was hard getting used to it, then things settled down into a really good routine. More recently I have struggled with it a bit again, but things are still SO MUCH BETTER than they were before I started.


What was the best thing you bought?
A PLANE TICKET! GRIN!


Where did most of your money go?
Well the biggest cost for a single item was indeed that plane ticket, and the vast majority of the money we have going on the usual bills, but I guess you want to know about things other than that huh? Well, I tried to curtail my spending on craft products towards the end of the year and even though I made 3 scrapbook calendars as Christmas gifts, I did that with NO NEW PAPERS! I had to buy the kits to decorate and needed extra adhesives to complete them, but I managed to complete all 36 pages without adding any extra paper to my stash.


What did you get really, really, really excited about?
errmmmm, let me see, errrmmmm, oh it might be...... you know,...... something that is happening next year.......... that I already bought tickets for.................
yes

I AM GOING TO AMERICA! ME! By myself, without my family to meet a load of crazy women who are very dear friends! Woooohooooooo!

Review on the Year 2009 - Part One

So here we are, approaching the end of the year. It's time for that long list of questions again.
I think I got these off Angie years ago, THANKS!


What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
I booked a flight to America. For a long time now I have dreamed of making a trip to America to meet all the wonderful women I only know online. Well, not all of them, but some of them, there is only 2 weeks to fit it all in. Just over a year ago I took the step of setting up a separate bank account specifically for this purpose. All birthday and Christmas gifts went in there as did any money I earned from online surveys or paid blogging. A couple of months ago, I realised that with what I had been promised for this year's Christmas I now had enough!

A friend from church asked me something on facebook this morning

"R U not worried about meeting people you have never met except on the net......they could be anyone...."

YES, they COULD be anyone. But these are not people I only met online last month, these are women I have known for years! They are NOT online friends, they are real people and therefore real friends, and I KNOW that for a core group of them, I could call on them day and night if I really needed them and they would do what they could. They have blessed me and caused me to grow in faith and maturity. They have laughed with me and cried with me. I have watched them and learnt from them and I cannot wait to meet them in person.


Did you keep your new years' resolutions and will you make more for next year?
I don't make new years resolutions. I did begin some healthy lifestyle changes in the Spring and although these stalled around the end of September, I had lost 2 stones (a stone is 14 pounds for my American readers) by then. I have possibly put as much as half a stone back on but that is OK, I am ready to knuckle back down and get on with it all again.


Did anyone close to you give birth?
Oooh YES! Dearest Monika gave birth, early, to a darling baby. And hopefully by the time this post makes it to my blog my friend Kate will also have given birth. She was due a few days before Christmas and the hospital will intervene on Tuesday, so one way or the other that baby will be born before the year is out.


Did anyone close to you die?
Not this year, thankfully, although I know other friends who have not been so fortunate.


What countries did you visit?
Wales! That was it this year. The year before included a trip to Belarus via Prague, and next year obviously brings the trip to America, but this year has just been England and Wales.


What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
A smaller body. Seriously! By the end of this year I NEED to have lost some considerable weight for my health. I really am NOT bothered about the way I look, but the effects on my health are taking a toll and causing problems. I can change that. I can get back on track and do what needs to be done. How? The easy answer but the hard way, Eat less, Move more!


What date from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
It's not so much the date as the event.

At church camp, in October, I managed to spill a kettle full of hot water all down my left side. I leapt up and ran for the showers before the woman who was in the kitchen with me even realised what had happened. We couldn't switch the showers to cold only as they were ones that you just press a button and the water heats up as it goes. So we had a chain of people brining me containers of cold water which I was throwing over myself stood in the shower.

Someone else went and alerted the members of our church in other cabins to pray, yet another person went and found out the route to the nearest hospital minor injuries unit. Then, when we were ready to go, with wet towels wrapped around my arm and blankets thrown on top of that, I made my way out to the car, between lines of cheering people, and headed off to the hospital.

That took a while, it was quite a distance and I was swearing a lot on the way. I am really sorry to the family that was coming out of the hospital as we arrived who probably heard some of that, honestly I am. We were seen immediately, there was no one waiting in front of us and I was given a gel dressing for my arm and side. The nurse told me that would kick in soon and begin to feel cold, which would in turn provide pain relief! HA "soon" was well over 2 hours later! OUCH! My arm healed well and the only remaining evidence is that the freckles (yes I am one of the spotty people!) on the arm that was scalded are paler than on the other arm.


....... to be continued. stay tuned for the other instalments of my review on the year.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Christmas Journal

I've been doing Shimelle's Christmas Journal this year.
Today is the 10th and I'm STILL going. This is not the latest I've ever gone with this but it IS the most consistent I've been. I have done EVERY DAY SO FAR!

And here for your delight are my pages.

1st December
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2nd December
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3rd December
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4th December
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5th December
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6th December
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7th December
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8th December
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9th December
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10th December
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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursday 13 - 13 things about Themes For the Year

13 things about yearly themes
  1. I first came across the idea of themes for the year a few years ago through reading the blogs of friends. Basically the idea is to seek God for an underlying theme for the coming year and then watch how He works that out in your life. Also considering your actions and lifestyle in light of that theme.
  2. I started doing this myself a few years ago and have noticed more and more people commenting on their themes for the year.
  3. Some years this has been a process of taking time out, sitting with God, looking at the previous years theme, how that went, praying, reading, listening, and other times it has just been one word or phrase that dropped into my spirit and I KNEW that that was the theme for that year.
  4. Some years the theme seems like a really nice one and you approach the year thinking "Yeah, I can DO this, this will be fun." and other years you approach your theme with a little trepidation.
  5. For instance, I have friends whose recent themes include Patience, and everyone knows if God wants to grow patience in you, He's going to put you in some situations that will require you to grow patience and those might not be fun. I have another friend whose theme for the coming year is Enjoy and I'm really excited to watch and see what God does with her this year.
  6. Other years you look at your theme and you think it's going to be one thing and looking back on the year at the end you see it totally fitted with your theme BUT absolutely NOT in the way you had expected that to work out.
  7. As an example a few years ago my theme for the year was "Seeking God for myself, not relying on others to speak into me." I thought "yeah, I can do this, lots of time praying, reading my bible, listening for god to speak, yeah, I can do this." What I did not expect was for it to be the most isolating year of my life socially, where a lot of relationships were stretched, broken, and there were fewer and fewer people close enough to be able to speak into my life. I had no choice but to seek out God for myself.
  8. Then there was last year. REST! Great, fantastic, slow down, take it easier, REST. HA! God really has a sense of humour.
  9. I started 2008 knowing that I was having some medical symptoms that I suspected were sleep apnoea related. I had tried to seek medical advice previously but had been rebuffed by our family doctor who would not refer me to a specialist. As my symptoms began to worsen, and I realised I had less and less energy, needing frequent 3 or 4 hour daytime naps just to get through the day, falling asleep sat up at the computer desk, and even, at times mid conversation with my family, I knew I would have to face the doctor again. And I was prepared for it to be a battle, I was prepared that I would need to FIGHT to be heard.
    Alongside that, hubby and I had been struggling in our role as small group leaders at church. We had taken on what turned out to be an incredibly difficult group, for various reasons. We HAD previously tried to get help in our role, but had not been heard, we had even tried to quit before, but had been persuaded to stay. I was prepared for this, too to be a battle, I was prepared to have to FIGHT for what I knew God was doing in me!

    So, here were two situations in which I was totally expecting a battle.
    When I finally got up the courage to approach the doctors again, in the end I got my referral to the sleep clinic! PRAISE GOD. I went to my first appointment and for the first time in relation to these symptoms I felt like I was really HEARD. It truly felt like God had gone before me and prepared the way.

    Small group leading? It was awesome. We hold no blame over the couple who led the ministry at that time at all, and they were absolutely fantastic, totally coming to terms with where we were at, apologising for not having realised before and giving us the space to step back with no repercussions.

    So, two situations in which I expected battle and found nothing but the way already prepared before me.
    A year in which physically I was forced to take more and more rest as my symptoms grew.
    A year in which I tried to make much more of a focus on getting to "soaking" meetings, where we just sit on a comfy sofa, or lie on the floor and rest while appropriate worship music is played over us. Sometimes someone prays and sometimes they don't, but we just SOAK in God's presence.
    Then, at church family camp 2008 I had the most amazing experience.
    I wasn't sure about how attending camp would affect my sleep, and not being able to nap during the day, etc, but I went anyway, figuring if had to hide out in our unit I would. There was this one meeting, and worship was awesome, and I was singing and dancing, and then the tiredness, slowly began to come over me. And I got to a point, where I could not dance any more, but I still stood and sang, and raised my hands. And as the tiredness grew, my hands came down to hold on to the seat in front, and then I had to sit down and eventually even stop singing. I could not even muster to the energy to do that. I COULD NOT fight the sleep, I could not DO anything for God in that moment, I did not even have the energy to think through the words of the song in my head, it was all I could do to just BE. And in that moment I felt the nearness of God like I have NEVER felt it before, I felt His love and His closeness, and His passion, and it overwhelmed me. I mean, seriously overwhelmed me. I could DO NOTHING, and in that moment He came to me. I could DO NOTHING and in that moment He poured out His love on me. I could DO NOTHING and in that moment he came to dwell with me. I could do NOT ONE THING to make myself acceptable to God, I could not earn it in any way shape or form, I could not even keep my eyes open in the worship service, and in that place, He expressed His passionate love and care for me.
  10. 2009 began with a theme of Breakthrough but in fact, at first glance, it started with some situations that did not look like breakthrough at all.
    I would not be allowed to drive my car for a few months at least. Due to my diagnosis of Sleep Apnoea, my driving licence had been medically revoked. My precious little gift of a car was put off road for a while!
    I was to receive a local bus pass because of that but that would take 5 or 6 weeks to come through, so in the meantime, and for any journeys after it came through that were not possible by bus, I was reliant on others!

    So, NO, this didn't look like breakthrough, and it didn't feel like breakthrough, but I KNEW that I knew that I knew, that God, the Father had His hands completely on this whole process and that He would use this, even this to bring about the breakthrough He intended!

    And at the same time, I was heading towards some fantastic moments of breakthrough that I already knew about!
    Hubby and I celebrated 15 years of marriage in February. Something a lot of people never thought we'd do!
    I got my CPAP machine (Sleep apnoea treatment) at the end of January and despite an early struggle to get used to it and moments of absolute despair at the possibility of things never improving I am now able to go about my day without falling asleep and without needing daytime naps and live life more or less normally. Of course there are still bad days, bad nights, and I still don't have the energy to do EVERYTHING, but this is SO much better than things were before I got treated.
    The restoration of day time energy levels meant I could focus once again on losing some weight and increasing my heart health through exercise! And since then I have lost almost 30 pounds. I have taken a break from the effort towards that over the last 3 months but am ready to get re started.

    I have also seen breakthrough in other areas of my life, I got my driving licence back at the end of the summer, and God has met me particularly in the struggle and desire for deeper female friendship, with that being met in more than 1 way. God has also spoken to my local church about breakthrough, this October, using the very verses from Joshua that I had used to back up my theme for this year.

    2009 is NOT over yet. I do not Believe the year of Breakthrough is over yet! There is much to come, both in the remaining 5 weeks of the actual year, and truly, I believe beyond that! When I seek God for a theme for 2010 it is not denying the breakthrough that will continue, it is merely adding to it!
  11. So, 2010? Friends have been speaking of their themes for this coming year already, and I was refusing to even acknowledge it, refusing to accept that this was possible. I am still in the middle of my busiest 2 months of the year and refuse to even do Christmas planning until that ends at the end of this week, or possibly as late as the beginning of next week.
    Quite simply, it was not even on my radar and I was fine with that.
  12. THEN, the other morning, I was lying in bed and a thought dropped into my head, ONE WORD! And I thought after it, "Oh that might be my theme for the year" Then I reminded myself that I was refusing to think about that yet and that anyway was I really sure I wanted a theme like that? Remembering what I said up in points 6 and 7.
    I mentioned to some friends that I thought I MIGHT have my theme and was GRUMP GRUMP GRUMP in response to it.
    The truth is this theme fits in with other things that God has been speaking to me over recent weeks, and was confirmed by a blog post from someone whose writing I trust, this morning.
  13. One word - or at least one word, that can be put in a number of different ways.
    SIMPLE
    simplify
    simplification
    SIMPLE!
    Not working harder and harder, but working smarter. Not doing things just because "well someone's got to do it" but focusing on those things that I believe God wants ME to do. Not doign things because "Doing A is the only way B is going to happen" but trusting God that what He has promised to do, He WILL do. Simplifying STUFF as well, de-cluttering, getting rid of junk, emotionally, spiritually and physically. NOPE, I don't think this is going to be an EASY theme to live through, but I think it's going to be an adventure, and I am up for that!
If you want to read more Thursday 13 posts, head on over to Thursday 13 by clicking on that banner at the top of this post!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday


If you want to see other Wordless Wednesday photos, go check them out here.
And make sure you come back tomorrow for Tell me Thursday, the story BEHIND the photos I chose this week.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thursday 13 - 13 walks I would like to attempt

13 walks I would like to attempt
Click on the image to go to the web page (most are pdf's) for that walk.

  1. Nescliffe Nonsense
    Nescliffe Nonsense
  2. Nescliffe Nonsense 2
    nescliffe Nonsense2
  3. Bloody Battlefield
    Explore the site of a brutal battle fought between King Henry IV and the rebellious
    Harry Hotspur six hundred years ago.
    Bloody Battlefield
  4. The big walk at Ellesemere
    Meres meander
  5. Acton Scott Amble
    Acton Scott Amble
  6. Wagoner's Wander
    Wagoners Wander
  7. Rectory Wood and Field
    Rectory Wood
  8. Wats Dyke Walk
    Wats Dyke Walk
  9. Wrekin Hill Fort
    Wrekin Hill Fort
  10. Around the Wrekin
    Around the Wrekin
  11. Reynolds Way
    Reynolds Way
  12. Adstone Walk
    Adstone Walk
  13. Any of the Geocaching Walks at the Shropshire hills Discovery Centre
If you want to read more Thursday 13 posts, head on over to Thursday 13 by clicking on that banner at the top of this post!

Friday, July 31, 2009

I AM enough!

From "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge
----------------------------------------
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I know I am not alone in this nagging sense of failing to measure up, a feeling of not being good enough AS A WOMAN. Every woman I've ever met feels it - something deeper than just the sense of failing at what she does. An underlying gut feeling of failing at who she IS.
I AM NOT ENOUGH, and I AM TOO MUCH at the same time, Not pretty enough, not thin enough, not kind enough, not gracious enough, not disciplined enough. But too emotional, too needy, too sensitive, too strong, too opinionated, too messy. The result is SHAME, the universal companion of most women.
----------------------------------------
------------

Back to me:
The two greatest fears of a woman's heart, "I am not enough" and "I am too much".

How closely does this relate to our struggles with weight.
Society, doctors, and the enemy of our hearts tells us that we are
Too fat
too big
too greedy
too lazy
TOO MUCH!

Not thin enough
not pretty enough
not disciplined enough
not beautiful enough
don't exercise enough
don't move enough
don't care enough
NOT ENOUGH!

And the truth?
The truth is we are LOVED, we are ENOUGH, and we are NOT too much.
We are loved by a heavenly father who cannot love us even the tiniest bit more than He does right now, nor can he love us the tiniest bit less than He does right now. It is not possible because He IS love.
In Him we ARE enough, we are enough for Him, and that big long list of things that society, family, friends, governments, churches, tell us we SHOULD be doing, are very often not on His list of what he longs for us to be doing, those things that keep us busy, too busy to focus on ourselves in a right way, too busy to focus on Him. And His heart breaks to see what we have done to ourselves.

He is not angry with us because of what we have done to our bodies with weight, he is heartbroken by it. And there is no guilt that he puts on us with that. He understands totally the situations, events, emotions that brought us to this place and he longs for us to turn from those behaviours and start to live in a way that loves our bodies again.

He is not standing, with a big stick waiting to punish us for being overweight or obese.
He is standing, waiting for us to run to Him, pour out all our troubles and emotions at his feet, where he can pick us up, set us on the right track and encourage us and love us.

IN HIM we are ENOUGH and we are NOT too much.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Samba rocks!

Cheaper Than Therapy
Heeheeee, Apparently, our local town crier is not strong enough on his legs to participate in the parade part of the carnival and has to use a disabled scooter thing.
But the real memories this day brings back are of this:

The samba band from my son’s school. He’s in there somewhere!
Here’s another clip showing their samba teacher. Bear in mind that they had only been playing samba for a year when they took part in this parade. And they weren’t even getting lessons every week.

head on over to Cheaper than Therapy for more fascinating photos by clicking on the Thousand Words Thursday banner at the top of this post.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Story Telling


Talk About Tuesday is a blog carnival where we all write a post of something we want to share or talk about and link them all together on the lazy organizer’s blog. It’s a great way to get to know other bloggers and make connections in the blogosphere.
- - - - - - - - - -
After last week’s story telling, I thought I’d share the links to some of my other stories.
First, the story of Abraham and Sarah, in verse, as written by someone whose name I should remember but can’t.  I’ve been doing this one for years.
Abraham.wma

Then we have the story of Dr Good and the Strangers as written by Bob Hartman
Dr Good and the St...

Finally for today we have a story which I would suggest you do not play for young ears without previewing first, it’s not a kids story, this one is for grown ups.
The Meat of the tongue as told by Anamation.
Meat of The Tongue...

Later in the week, I MIGHT share the story of Tattercoats, but that is a long story so I’ll keep it to a post on it’s own.
If you want to read more talk about it posts, or even participate yourself, head on over to the lazy organizer by clicking on the talk about it Tuesday banner at the top of this post.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Big Bad Brian the Lion


Talk About Tuesday is a blog carnival where we all write a post of something we want to share or talk about and link them all together on the lazy organizer’s blog. It’s a great way to get to know other bloggers and make connections in the blogosphere.
- - - - - - - - - -
Big Bad Brian the Lion
Heeheee.  What a title.
I realise that over the past few weeks I have gained a number of new readers who don’t know what I do for a living, so I thought I’d tell you about my job!
I am blessed!  I am blessed indeed!
I am employed by my church to make contacts with local primary schools (ages 5 to 11) with a view to eventually running some sort of weekly outreach club that would invite all the children aged 6 to 12 in our town to attend.
So far the contact making process is going slowly, very slowly.  But it is still moving.  And this week I am in two local schools talking to large groups of their children, in their assembly time.
This week i will be using the story of Big Bad Brian the Lion to lead into a little talk about bullying and the need to speak to an adult if you or a friend is being bullied.
I’ve written a synopsis of the story over on my Children’s ministry blog, but if you want to hear the story you can listen to me telling it by clicking below.
Big Bad Brian the ...
If you want to read more talk about it posts, or even participate yourself, head on over to the lazy organizer by clicking on the talk about it Tuesday banner at the top of this post.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Biscuit Man

Cheaper Than Therapy
PhotoStory Friday


Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek
A Thousand Words Thursday is about posting a picture that is powerful, that expresses emotion, and that speaks volumes to you.
Photostory Friday is where you Post photo(s) that YOU took and simply tell the story behind it. Explain why you pressed the shutter button, what memory it invokes, what we don't know, why you love it or why you don't. Any subject. Humor and sarcasm; always optional. The shot doesn't have to be technically or creatively perfect; life isn't.
Yes, he really is made out of biscuit!
It was in the window of a bakery in Antwerp in Belgium. I went to Antwerp to baptise a friend of mine who lives over there. It brings back good memories.
If you want to participate in A Thousand Words Thursday or Photostory Friday head on over to Cheaper Than Therapy by clicking on the 1000 words Thursday banner at the top of this post or to What Works For Us by clicking on the Photostory Friday banner.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Talk About Tuesday


Talk About Tuesday is a blog carnival where we all write a post of something we want to share or talk about and link them all together on the lazy organizer’s blog. It’s a great way to get to know other bloggers and make connections in the blogosphere.
- - - - - - - - - -
My Children Are growing up!
And I don’t know if I am ready.
My oldest will be 18 in just 6 weeks time!
How can I be a mom to an adult?  How did that happen?
How did this little boy

Become this young man?

His smile hasn’t changed at all though has it?
He could have been going to university this autumn, but instead he is going to take another year to improve his A level grades so he can get into the university of his choice.  THEN he’s going to take a year out and do an internship at a church down in Bath that we have connections with.
So this time next year I will be preparing him to leave us for a year.  WOW how the time has flown!
If you want to read more talk about it posts, or even participate yourself, head on over to the lazy organizer by clicking on the talk about it Tuesday banner at the top of this post.

Monday, May 11, 2009

English Schooling

Here we go, seems I confused people with my description of schooling and college, etc yesterday.

Children start school the September or January just before they turn 5 years old.
Their first class will be a RECEPTION CLASS.

After this the school year finishes in the middle of July and re starts at the beginning of September.
Many children will have attended play groups and nurseries before they start school but these are not considered compulsory education.

Reception, Year 1 and year 2 are considered to be Key Stage 1 (so from the school year in which they become 5 to the school year in which they become 7).
Years, 3 through 6 are Key Stage 2 (so from the school year in which they become 8 to the school year in which they become 11).

In some areas Key Stage 1 is done at an INFANT school and Key Stage 2 at a JUNIOR school, but in most areas these days the two are combined in a PRIMARY school.

At the age of 11 they begin Key Stage 3, which is done at a SECONDARY school. Secondary school has 5 years (7 to 11) split into 2 Key Stages.
Key Stage 3 is years 7 to 9, (so from the school year in which they become 12 to the school year in which they become 14).
Key Stage 4 is years 10 and 11, (so from the school year in which they become 15 to the school year in which they become 16).

Key Stage 4 is when you study for the first level of qualifications, called GCSE's ( in my time they were GCE's and CSE's, but that's another story). There are now a number of different courses offered alongside GCSE's for the less academically minded students.

Compulsory education ends on the last Friday in June, of the school year in which s/he reaches the age of 16. This means that some children do indeed legally leave school without ever finishing their courses and gaining any qualifications.

Any education after this is OPTIONAL
Some SECONDARY schools have 6th form units, in other areas 6th form is done at a separate site, known as a 6th form college.
There are two years of 6th form, lower 6th and upper 6th. Most students at 6th form will be taking A-Levels, although again there are less academic courses such as B-Tecs. 6th form can also be used to retake any GCSE's etc that you didn't do well in. You can spend more than 2 years at 6th form if you need to and can find yourself in a odd situation like my eldest where because he did well in two of his subjects but not so well in the other two and decided to retake the first year of one and start a different subject from the start instead of the other, he is an upper 6th for half and a lower 6th for half.

After A levels if you wish to continue on in education you would attempt to get into a UNIVERSITY, where you would study for a degree in your chosen subject.

To make matters a little more confusing, many 6th form colleges are actually community colleges and offer many many different courses as well as the A levels, from cake decorating to part time degrees (which are issued through a relevant university).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

On Monday, I was reading some Daybook entries and I came across the blog of Liz Tolsma. One of her Daybook replies talked about their adopted daughter and how she is beginning to feel at ease with them in a deeper way.

I am thankful for...Jonalyn's attachment. Last night she bumped her head on the corner of the wall. Nothing major, but she looked stunned. I tried to comfort her, but with my bad back, I can't pick her up. Doug did and she clung to him and cried and cried. Those outside of adoption circles might think we're crazy rejoicing over our daughter's tears. But she finally feels at ease enough with us to let us comfort her and to show us her tears.

It made me think about how God is with us.
Some of us throw guilt trips on ourselves if we have a problem and our immediate reaction is not to go to God. We fear He will want to punish us, or will withhold His help from us because we didn't go to Him first. More often than not these are not spoken fears, they are things that we don't even put into words for ourselves, but our actions and reactions betray us and show what we really believe about How God responds to us.
And if we dare to actively hide from god on a situation (oh how I do this at times), maybe because we are afraid of what He will ask of us, or afraid that He will punish us for whatever that issue is, then our guilt trip only increases.

But HE isn't like that.
And as I read Liz's answer I could just see God, as this loving Father, far from being angry because we don't allow Him in at times like that, but instead being broken hearted, just SO desperate for us to give Him permission to work in our hearts, desperate for us to allow Him to comfort us.
And oh, His tears of joy when we finally respond with trust, when we finally say "Daddy, I can't cope with this alone, I need You and I believe in Your love for me, I believe that You will love me even in this." Oh the joy, the unspeakable joy.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Psalm 91

Psalm 91 (The Message)

1-13You who sit down in the High God's presence, spend the night in Shaddai's shadow,
Say this: "God, you're my refuge.
I trust in you and I'm safe!"
That's right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
under them you're perfectly safe;
his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
drop like flies right and left,
no harm will even graze you.
You'll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God's your refuge,
the High God your very own home,
Evil can't get close to you,
harm can't get through the door.
He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they'll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling.
You'll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
and kick young lions and serpents from the path.

14-16 "If you'll hold on to me for dear life," says God,
"I'll get you out of any trouble.
I'll give you the best of care
if you'll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I'll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I'll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!"

Monday, April 27, 2009

Community - living life loved

Before you start reading this post, please go and read the post my amazing friend Dana wrote, HERE.

In that post she talks about the fact that we as Christians are all called to live in community, not just so we can impact the world, but for own betterment.
I quote:
" As much as God works in us to transform us from the inside out, He gave us something more to refine us. He gave us each other. The community of Christ is meant to be a tool not only as the hands and feet of Christ to the world, but for the betterment of each other through shared lives, shared work, shared struggles and shared encouragement."

She obviously had no idea how timely this post would be for me.
I have really been struggling with the whole relationships issue over recent months.
Because of various things that happened, hubby and I found ourselves still in the same church but not in a small group. We do go to a soaking group most weeks, but lets be honest, that involves maybe 15 - 20 minutes of relationship building and then the rest of the night is spent sleeping, (well not necessarily sleeping, but it's interaction direct with Father rather than with each other). I LOVE soaking, I adore it, but I need something more. I need relationship.
I am not blaming anyone at our church for the situation in which we find ourselves, it is not down to people, it is down to circumstances that have arisen.

Over the last couple of months I have begun to understand and to formulate in my head why this is so important to me, and why I am feeling so lost without it.
I had already come to the realisation that a big part of it was about encouragement. I know one of the things I am called to do is to encourage people, I LOVE doing it, but unless you know people, unless you're aware of what's going on in their lives, that becomes a difficult thing to do well. I also was aware that I NEED encouragement. When I am facing struggles, when I am facing challenges, doubts, issues of sin even, I need encouragement, I need someone who sees what is happening in my life and says "Come on, you CAN DO IT!"

Then, on Sunday morning, before I read Dana's post, I came to a further realisation about my need for relationship.
On Sunday, we had baptisms. 5 people making that public declaration of their relationship with Jesus! AWESOME morning, absolutely amazing, and it made me cry! One of the things that happens at our church when a person gets baptised is that after they have been dunked in the water people pray for them publicly, or bring bible verses they believe god wants to speak to that person through, or pictures, visions, or other "words" from Father God. It's an incredible time as you listen to what God has in store for these people.
I sat there and I cried, because I realised that another big thing about small groups, whether that be an organised group within your church, or whether it be just a group of people that you gather together yourself, is that you are able to speak into each others lives.

Before we left the group we were in before, the group that we were leading and needed to take a break from, that was one of the things we used to do a lot of, praying for each other and speaking into each others lives, what we believed Father God was saying and showing to us.

Dana explains it this way:
" This does not mean that need to let all 1,600 members of my home church in on all my business all the time. It does mean that I have gathered around myself a few groups of people who know me and in spite of that, love me; whose counsel and advice I trust and cherish and most importantly; who love the Lord and want for all of us to be more like Him. It is these people that I can trust to honestly evaluate my words and my behaviours as Christ's ambassador. It is these people that I can trust to hold me up with Truth and not stroke my ears with pretty words. It is these people who sharpen me as I strive to live in community with people who are sometimes very unlike me."

So yes, those aren't just nice, sweet, "God wants to bless you with THIS . . . " type words. It was also a time where we were able to be honest with each other, where we were able to get a spiritual kick in the pants from people we trusted as we were honest with them and they were honest with us.

BUT that was the realisation of Sunday morning, that I am also missing out on the opportunity to have others whom I know and trust spiritually, speak into my life, and to do the same in return.

And all along I have known that WE ARE A PEOPLE WHO ARE MADE FOR RELATIONSHIPS, and women, even more so than men, we are made with this capacity to love and to share, and when that is not used, is not filled, we have a hole, something is missing.

And yes, I DO have relationships online, that other people in the church might not have, but over the last few months, those have changed, those have drifted, and are not the same as they once were. So here I am. Totally acknowledging and agreeing with what Dana wrote. STILL desperate to be in close relationship with a small group of people. Willing to work on creating that for ourselves, (I have worked on getting the "visitor" areas of our home suitable for visitors over the past few weeks and discussd with hubby last night who we might invite for dinner over the coming weeks), btu not really knowing where to start.

I'll finish wiht a final quote from Dana's post:
"We spend a great deal of time focusing on the fluffy, friendly part of our Christian relationships and while we do so, we rob ourselves of one of our most valuable earthly assets. Accountability among believers is not always comfortable, easy or fun, but it is certainly one of the most loving things we can do for each other. Building a person up doesn't merely consist of words that puff up and make us feel good. It includes cutting out the weaker parts so that the entire structure is more sound. It is sometimes painful, heartbreaking, backbreaking work. Who better to entrust it to than those whose hearts are grafted with our own into the heart of the Giver of Life?"

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

CPAP Diaries April 2009


Hmmmm, still a lag between picture and sound. That lag is not there in the software i use to record and edit, it only appears once I produce the file as either AVI or in this case Mpeg1

Friday, February 13, 2009

CPAP update

After a few rough nights where the mask was leaking often and quickly, I had a much better night last night.
I managed at least 3 hours, possibly as much as 3 and a half, and only had to refit my mask once, during that time!
here's to an even better night tonight.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

CPAP update!

I am tired this morning!

Last night I got through an hour and 15 minutes before my mask leaked and woke me up!
But after that I just couldn't get it to sit right again, so it was leaking after just 12 or 13 minutes, and I have a 10 minute settling period, so only 2 or 3 of those were at normal pressure.

After dealing with that a few times I gave up.

And I am already falling asleep at the computer desk, and it's only 10 to 9. BUT I was up earlier than usual because 14 year old spent the night on sofa because he's ill, and hubby slept on other sofa. Hubby had to head to work early, so I had to take over watching son. he's now on big sofa and asleep again. The small sofa is too small for me to sleep on.

BUT for this tiredness to be UNUSUAL compared to the last week at least, that means the last week I've actually been having more energy than I had been! And thinking about it, YES, I have been aware of that. Not back to normal, not by a long shot, but certainly a little bit more than I had become used to. This is progress! I will take and celebrate every little bit of progress I can get.

Hopefully when son wakes up he'll be well enough for me to nip upstairs later for a nap with machine on.
Hey, maybe I'll take video camera with me, so you can see how I have things set up.

Monday, February 09, 2009

a Poem

I picked up a book of poems by Stewart Henderson yesterday. he is one of my favourite Christian poets, I even did a poetry writing workshop with him back in my late teens. Went all the way to London for it.

Well, yesterday at church I found a copy of one of his books on the 2nd hand table where people put things that are free to a new home.

I just love this poem and wanted to share it with you.

A WIFE MEDITATES ON HER BELOVED FROM THE BATHROOM

He always leaves the toilet seat up
and sometime's he's splashed
It must have been a woman
who invented the pedestal mat
An expression of an ironic protest
that is now essential furnishing
On waking, he makes the most bizarre noises
he sounds like a beached walrus belching
and blowing an off key trumpet
whilst revving up a Harley Davidson
Why is this so?
Why are there bristles in the basin?
And the untidiness
What does one sock on top of the ottoman mean?
Do you take this hurricane to be your
lawful wedded husband?
Is this him being himself?
Do I feel disillusioned?
Do I feel resentful and used?
Could he cope if I screamed at him?
Can any man ever take failure?
Am I nagging or am I pleading
for the real him to be him
and hold the real me?
Why can't he be vulnerable yet strong
at the same time?
precarious thing, Love.

Monday, February 02, 2009

CPAP update

Well, I have had my CPAP machine for over a week now. I do start every night with it, but am still having problems.
People have been telling me it could take a month or more to get used to it so I am not worried at the moment, but I am not enjoying the process. I'm hanging in there because I know it will get better.

A lot of people suffer with a dry nose, NOT ME, I get a dry mouth and throat.
And if you wake up in the night with your mask leaking and your mouth so darned dry your lips are stuck to your gums, it's quite a palava to get a drink, the mask refitted and back off to sleep. I do try and most nights I manage at least 2 hours, with the best nights going up to 3 and a half hours. But I've had two really bad nights, where I did not even get to 2 hours with the mask on. One of those was last night. The settling down went ok, with the mask fitting nicely, but once I woke up it was jsut a nightmare and I could not get it to fit quite right after that, grrhhhh! So today I am not feeling good!

I'm also getting a headache a lot of the time. Not a really bad one, just enough to be annoying.

I KNOW that this will get better! I know that God has a better plan this, I KNOW that He wants to actually bring full healing so that I don't need this any more.
But in the meantime I have to live with this, and right now it's not fun.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

CPAP Diaries 2


I truly thought I had posted part 2 to my Blog, but in looking today I see that 1 and 3 were here but not 2.
So I apologise fro these not being in the right order.
I'll be making a written post tomorrow since I will have had the machine for one week tomorrow morning.

Friday, January 23, 2009

CPAP Diaries Part 1


I GOT MY MACHINE.
So I thought I'd do a video blog. More of those to come.

Watch out for an update tomorrow on how my night went.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

So, what does sleep apnoea mean to me?

If you saw this as an empty post earlier, I apologise, my hand slipped and I posted it just as I had typed the title!

So, you've had some fairly good explanations of the technicality behind what sleep apnoea is, before now.
What I want to share with you is how it affects me personally, on this, the week I will finally receive my CPAP machine.

I have always been a snorer. It runs in the family. Dad snores, I snores, my sons snore.

I have always had problem tonsils, in fact if I have the story right the doctors got to the point when I was a kid that they told mom and dad if i got tonsillitis again they would take my tonsils out, but then I didn't get it again for a while. I have had tonsillitis a few times as an adult and to be honest don't even bother going to the GP, because it is never the horrendous cases I used to get as a kid and there's nothing they can do for it anyway.

I have spent much of my life overweight. I was a podgy child, I lost weight in my teens and then put it all back on again as a young mother. I am now clinically obese and have been for years. I have tried to lose weight at various times with varying amounts of success, but always end up back where I started, eventually.

THAT is not the future I want!

Why am I telling you this? Because these 3 issues are all factors in Sleep Apnoea.
The biggest factor of all being the weight, because that will always make this condition worse.
So, why don't I just lose the weight, and keep it off and solve the problem that way?
I have tried, but as my sleep apnoea symptoms have worsened, it has become harder and harder to find the energy to cook proper meals and harder and harder to find the energy to even do housework let alone add in exercise, which I know is essential for me to lose the amounts I need to lose.
So in the end I have got stuck in a vicious cycle which only gets worse and worse.

How long have I been suffering what I consider to be sleep apnoea symptoms?
I would say that seriously I must have had it for at least 4 or 5 years now, this lack of energy, this daytime tiredness, but I did not seek help at first, because I "Knew" that the doctor would just tell me to lose weight and go home. At that point in time I had not thought it was sleep apnoea, and so carried on as best as I could thinking if only I could lose the weight it would be fine.
After a couple of years of that my symptoms got worse, around the time when my son went to 6th form. I was driving 12 miles each way a number of times a week, and at least 3 or 4 miles each way the rest of the week. Not a lot, not a problem, well, not if you can stay awake. And his school pick ups would often come at what was my worst time of the day for tiredness. It was hard. I kept cola, caffeine tablets, and an anti viral nasal spray in the car to keep me awake. If you think the nasal spray is an odd thing to have in a list of things to keep you awake, you've obviously never used one of those things, WOW does it make sure you're awake, for a while at least.
Once I actually fell asleep driving, thankfully I hit the kerb and that woke me up.

That frightened me enough to finally go see the doctor, although I didn't tell him about the falling asleep driving, I did stress how tired I was and how little energy I had and so on. I was by now convinced I had sleep apnoea.
I did not see my usual GP. Our surgery is a large surgery, and is also a training practice. Every year we have 2 doctors who are on the final year of their GP training. I saw one of those doctors. By now I had begun to do my own research, and I was pretty convinced I had sleep apnoea, everything seemed to fit, so I went and told her so. She refused to refer me for a sleep study, because my husband could not say he had heard me stop breathing in the night while I was snoring. I was incredulous, I mean, just because he hasn't witnessed it means it hasn't happened?
So they did all the usual blood tests for tiredness and lack of energy, iron levels, diabetes, thyroid and EVERYTHING came back normal!

I should have pursued this further back then, but I didn't, she had basically left me with the distinct impression that my original assumption had been correct and that all they were going to do was assume it was because of my weight and therefore my own stupid fault and just tell me to go away and lose it. Oh yes, they even offered me exercise on prescription, which is a fantastic scheme if you get free prescriptions, if not it actually ends up costing more than a gym membership and I couldn't afford one of those!

Anyway, add another 2 years to the story, and earlier this year my symptoms racked up another notch. I can't pinpoint when exactly but I gradually began to be aware that I was FREQUENTLY falling asleep
  • At the computer desk
  • seated on the sofa
  • as a passenger in the car
  • even during a sermon in church
  • finally even during lively worship in church
  • ALWAYS if I lay on the sofa
  • and so on
At the same time I became more and more aware of my night wakings. I would wake, sit bolt upright on the side of the bed and fall back to sleep right there, only waking again when muscle tone dropped and I fell over. I was falling asleep on the toilet in the middle of the night and all sorts. It was quite frightening.
I was starting to get neck cricks form the falling asleep sat up, and I was often biting my tongue when alseep in that position. I researched sleep apnoea again and I KNEW that this was what I had, what I didn't know was how to convince the GP.

BUT STILL I was tired, falling asleep etc. I researched some more and found a chart where you fill in how often you are likely to fall asleep in a number of different situations. If your result was 11 or more, you should consult your GP with regards sleep apnoea being a possibility. Mine came out at 17 or 18, which the chart considers even a risk of narcolepsy! So I took that with me on yet another visit to the GP. This time was very interesting, I was armed with my chart, I was armed with the knowledge that Andrew would now happily say he had heard me stop breathing in the night, because he had!
Now, I mentioned that our surgery is a training surgery, they are expanding their training services and this time there was a very young newly qualified doctor, considering a move to GP work, sitting in on the appointment. It was clear my GP was not happy about me researching myself, and he had this guy run through all the other possible reasons for tiredness and lack of energy, and insisted on referring me for the blood tests. Anyway I finally got him to refer me for an appointment with the sleep clinic.

I had to wait over 12 weeks for my appointment at the hospital. 3 months of symptoms getting worse again, meanwhile we started with the whole round of blood tests again, la de da! One did not come back normal and concerned them because ti was away from normal the opposite way to the way it normally is if there's a problem, I researched it online and discovered this was a common result in obese people and would return to normal when weight reduced. And that it wasn't a health threat in itself just a warning.

So finally, back in November I was due to see my sleep specialist, Mr Moudgil at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, Shropshire. I actually got to see him a few weeks early because they added in an extra clinic on a weekend. the only thing about weekend clinics is that all the other departments, like x-ray etc, for doing tests are closed, so I had to go back and do those on the Monday.
But in talking with me Mr Moudgil was quite happy that he was sure I was right and I did have Sleep Apnoea. He did not confirm my fears about being lectured about my weight, in fact he confirmed what I had already worked out for myself about the vicious circle and said "Let's get this treated first, then we can get the weight off." WOW, what a revelation, a doctor who took me seriously, a doctor who was willing to do what I needed to get better, WOW.

He suggested it might be an idea for me to see and ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat surgeon) as after one look at my tonsils his first comment was how big they were. He figured that overlarge tonsils just add to all the flesh in the throat that causes the airway to close down and removing them MIGHT solve the problem on it's own.

Some consultants at this point would have made you go research that alternative first, then come back to them, but he didn't, he said eh was quite happy to continue down both tracks of treatment at the same time, then He referred me for a sleep study, which these days involves bringing a machine home and strapping yourself up to it that night, then taking it back the following day. He said that if that came back positive I would probably see one of the technicians to pick up my machine before I saw him again.

Sure enough, the appointment to pick up my machine, came in the post weeks before my letter from him confirming that indeed my sleep study confirmed I have sleep apnoea.

SO, I pick up my machine on friday 23rd January, this week, which is also my birthday!
Then on 11th February I see the ENT to discuss my possible tonsillectomy. However in my letter from Mr Moudgil he did say that having viewed my results he now thought this would HELP rather than CURE, but heck, I'll take all the help I can get.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Prayer

From "The Ragamuffin Gospel" by Brennan Manning.

A little child cannot do a bad colouring; nor can a child of God do a bad prayer. "A father is delights when his little one, leaving off her toys and friends, runs to him and climbs into his arms. As he holds his little one close to him, he cares little whether the child is looking around, her attention flitting from one thing to another, or just settling down to sleep. Essentially the child is choosing to BE WITH her father, confident of the Love, the care, the security that is hers in those arms.
Our prayer is much like that. We settle down in our Fathers arms, in his loving hands. Our mind, our thoughts, our imagination may flit about here and there; we might even fall asleep; but essentially we are choosing for this time to remain intimately WITH our father, giving ourselves to him, receiving his love and care, letting him enjoy us as he will.
It is a very simple prayer. It is very childlike prayer. It is prayer that opens us out to all the delights of the Kingdom."

Jesus' tenderness is not in any way determined by how we pray or what we are or do. in order to free us for compassion toward others, Jesus calls us to accept his compassion in our own lives, to become gentle, caring, compassionate, and forgiving toward ourselves in our failure and need.
Compassion for others is not a simple virtue because it avoids snap judgements - right or wrong, good or bad, hero or villain; it seeks truth in all its complexity. Genuine compassion means that in empathising with the failed plans and uncertain lives of the other person, we send out the vibration, "YES, ragamuffin, I understand, I've been there too."

Worship Without Words

AWESOME worship!
If you are in the area of Shropshire or mid Wales that means a village near Shrewsbury is accessible to you, you really need to head to Brockton Christian Fellowship next time there is a conference on.

We have just had the MOST amazing weekend, with Peter Jackson and learning all about the GRACE of God.
When there are conferences on at Brockton a couple from Welshpool come and lead the worship. It was AWESOME! Just awesome. And at one point we were just flying in the spirit. And I couldn't sing any more. Not because of my energy issues that sometimes hold me back in worship, nothing like that. I just couldn't sing, the presence of God was so tangible, there were NO WORDS.

Worship Without Words
Giving
Receiving
Heart Response
Overflowing
Pouring
Increasing
Two way flow
To and Fro
To God, From god
Worship of the heart
Without Words
Without End
Overwhelming.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Do You Believe It?

Someone on W@H asked what God was teaching us today!
And I wrote out this explanation and felt I needed to share it on here.

Grace and belief.

I have to breathe, I HAVE TO believe!
I mean, REALLY believe, not just believe in Him but believe him. Every single word he has ever spoken, every thing he has ever said, Every word written in HIS Word, every single word of prophecy He ever spoke over me, IT'S ALL TRUE!!!!!

And the most important question is "DO I believe that he loves me, I mean really loves me, that KNOWING every evil thing within me, knowing all my hurt and pain, all my judgements, and assumptions, fussiness, legalism, refusal to love those who really need love, spitefulness and selfishness. Knowing every skeleton in my closet, every moment of sin, shame, and degraded love, my shallow faith, my feeble prayer life, my inconsistent discipleship, knowing all of that, HE LOVES ME THE WAY I AM. He doesn't love me the way I should be, He loves me the way I am. Do I REALLY BELIEVE THAT?

Do I really believe that NO MATTER WHAT I do, He will never love me any more or any less than He does now, and that RIGHT NOW, IN MY SIN, He love ME just as much as He loves Jesus! Do I believe it?
Do I believe that if I change and make myself better He will not love me more, do I believe that if I never make any attempt to be better, if I have no intention of ever even trying, He won't love me less? Do I believe it. Because He said it!
Dare I risk believing it?

Do I believe that just as I CANNOT earn my salvation, I can in NO WAY earn my sanctification either? That it's ALL HIM! ALL HIM! ALL HIM!

It's All True

Everything God ever said.
Every word he ever spoke.
Everything it says in His Word.
Every word He has spoken over you in prophecy.

It's ALL true!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

A number of photos to share this week.
First these three:




Then these two:



Check back in tomorrow for Tell Me Thursday if you want the story behind the photos. And why not think about taking part yourself, if you have participated in Wordless Wednesday today.
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