Sunday, 25 January 2015

Grow Your Blog 2015

Welcome to anyone coming here for the party and lots of love and thanks to Vicki at 2 Bags Full and her little helpers for being hostesses with the mostest!
This is the second year that I've joined in and I just loved last year as I really expanded my blog reading horizons and found so many lovely bloggers. I will be doing a giveaway and will announce it soon. This is not to encourage you to make a second visit but because I am a bit scatty at the moment!

Grab a glass of fizzy apple juice as I tell you a little about my blogs.
I am from Glasgow, Scotland
and have two blogs, this one all for me and over at pepsimaxaddict is all about my nutty cats and my life in their service
Originally the blog started off with jewellery making (and rescue from sneaky predators doing bite tests)
 Right angle weave heart key ring
 Paracord bracelet
Angel keyring
As time has gone on I've diversified in to other crafts such as crochet, knitting, decorative glasswork and wrangling a sewing machine.

even the Christmas tree got the crafty twist this year

I also love taking you along with me on virtual trips and days out
Wallace Monument, Stirling 
Luss, Loch Lomond
 Rob Roy MacGregor
 Girl on a Suitcase Gourock
 Start of the West Highland Way Milngavie
Duck Bay Marina, Loch Lomond 
I love sharing my love of reading and listening to audiobooks
I also blog about random items, things that I have on my mind and certainly in the last year I've blogged about events such as the Scottish Referendum. However, my interest in politics and world affairs is very limited so these were probably one off events!
 I have a few relatives I've been considering recycling!  
 Irn-Bru's very apt Commonwealth Games campaign 
George Square, Glasgow on the eve of the Referendum 

Thank you so much for visiting and I hope this has given you a little flavour of what my blog is all about. Please feel free to leave a comment if you'd like and enjoy the rest of the party.

With love,

Saturday, 17 January 2015

2015: Going Forward

2014 definitely wasn't the improvement I'd hoped for...
 ...and, for the first year that I can remember, I did not sit and have some personal reflective time at Christmas to review my year before moving onwards.
There have been some lovely things that have happened and most importantly it has been blessed by the most wonderful friends and colleagues in real life and through the personal conversations and support that have come through being part of the amazing blogosphere.
2015 is heralded by a number of challenges, which I have little to no ability to alter, right from the outset. I can't even contemplate how any of it it is going to pan out or where I am going to be at the end of the journey.
However, as I cannot trade in this life for one I'd prefer, which would be totally organised with no stray piles of ironing hiding behind the cat, then I think I am just going to have to face whatever arrives.
Last year's experience would suggest the best thing to do is just try to live in the moment and decide accordingly.
 This sounds a bit like an anti-plan but it's a pragmatic solution that might be a lesson in itself to learn how to go with the flow, and see the wider picture.
They say that life is all about the journey..., here's to all of us, travelling on our personal journeys, and the blessing of good companionship to see us through.
Happy, wonderful 2015 to everyone.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Pause in Advent 2014: Weeks 3&4-Loving Wishes

pause in adventLife has somehow taken over again and left little time to Pause for anything which is a pity. However, as often happens in life sometimes we just have to go with the flow and hang on for the ride instead of directing the journey which may be a lesson in itself.

So I suspect my final and very late Pauses on this Christmas Eve are best used to wish everyone a warm, loving and spirit renewing Christmas break.

Thank you to all of those involved in the Pause in Advent and especially to Floss who originated this and to Angela who made this year's possible.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

My Sparkly Wall Tree

I saw this idea while browsing the internet last year and it stuck with me. The essence of it is lights attached to the wall using the 3M command hook products to recreate a stylish Christmas Tree which takes up no floor space. I've not been sponsored or anything just inspired by the unconventional idea.
It is really hard to get a decent picture of it but it looks much better in real life, honestly!
The wall fixings were two medium command hooks, fourteen small hooks and two packets of decorator clips. The clear variety is the best with the clear tape but mine are a mixture as it is what I could get from Amazon or locally as one of my orders went astray. It took 400 soft glow LED lights, 75 teardrop fairy lights 12 baubles and a tree topper. The topper was a bit of a concern as we've always been in the fairy for the top of the tree camp but it needs something that is flat against the wall and can be attached somehow which was a bit of a challenge.
Firstly, the hooks were placed for the tree shape and I stuck with a height I could work at without using a ladder. It's such a novelty being in a house that doesn't have a 13FT ceiling and not having to clamber up a 7FT ladder to get to things! These lights are actually twinkly ones and I was a little sceptical they might leave the living room looking like a disco but they are very discrete.
Next the fairy lights were strung across diagonally. Instead of placing the hooks in advance I just decided to hook as I strung them. In the end it took 3 packets of 25 lights to my surprise, and annoyance, as I'd only bought two.
The baubles form the 'pot' at the bottom of the tree and are just a square shape. I was ONE decorator clip short so tried to use three along the bottom but it didn't look great. (the bottom of the tree shows why the clear hooks are better than the white tab ones.)
This is much better, I think. (I know it is squinty but I am trying to ignore it!)
The tree topper is still making me laugh. I have no idea where my deliberations over how to either buy or make a fairy turned into a.......ruddy great stag's head!

Its been named Big Eric after the stag in the Monarch of the Glen. I do believe the original met an inglorious end but mine has no chance or being eaten.
I do love it though and as the tree is non-conformist then its probably right the topper should be too. Big Eric has also been graced with two spare baubles as earrings
 So that is my main tree this year. I've loved the idea, had good fun creating, it has been fairly hassle free, the cats haven't mugged it and best of all there is no tinsel needing hovered up.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Pause in Advent 2014: Week Two - Being Present

pause in adventMy Pause this second week of Advent is on the subject of being present. Thank you so much to everyone who commented on last week's Pause for your loving and very kind words.

On Sunday I'd hoped to sit and consider what my Pause might be as nothing particular had sprung to mind and I didn't want to write something trite. However, life brought me a lesson! My Mother has been increasingly unwell cognitively and is presumed to be in pain. For the last fortnight she's been distressed and irrational including refusing her medication which now has to be given covertly. I am not going to go into the gory details but despite the best efforts of the wonderful carers she was a ball of fury and no-one could connect with her on Sunday. It was all they could do to get her into some clothing as she had been naked, livid with rage and lashing out on the half landing of the main staircase.

When I arrived it was clear she had no idea who I was which is the first time there was absolutely no recognition and her behaviour included purposefully trying to push the carers and myself down the long flight of stairs. The attention was simply fuelling her distress so I suggested they leave her with me and I sat on the steps on one of the wings of the staircase within reach to grab her if necessary. I tried all my tricks to get through to her to absolutely no avail and eventually resorted to feigning calmness and disinterest while being alert to making sure she was safe. Many times while I sat there I questioned what the heck I was doing. I was doing nothing to improve the situation and anyone could have done the same for her. There seemed to be no value to our relationship as the connection was broken on her side. She persisted in standing for two and a half hours which was obviously causing her great discomfort but she was absolute in her refusal to sit as she knew better than everyone. Eventually, she began finally giving into the pain and effort of standing and she agreed to sit beside me on the stair. When she accepted my hand to help ease her down she leant against me in distress, and I have to admit I just sat cuddling her with tears pouring down my face at seeing her so distraught and out of control, oblivious to who I was which was heart-breaking.

Obviously, this is a personal story which has little to do with Advent on the face of it. However, afterwards it has made me reflect on the nature of 'being present' which is a facet of the reciprocal relationship with God. Relationships sometimes seem deepest in those times where neither party asks anything of the other beyond being there and knowing an unconditional love which transcends words or actions. I have always loved the Footprints poem and the hymn Walk with me O my Lord which characterise the element of God's relationship with us which enables us to live our lives while feeling the comfort of having his strength nearby.

Being present can be both an active role of witnessing or it can be a passive, loving and non-judgemental role which contains humanity, humility and compassion all of which are intangible but deeply felt. Being present can also refer to engaging in the present moment.

Being present with my Mother on that staircase listening to the rain drumming on the glass cupola overhead met a need neither of us could articulate. I felt utterly useless and wondered why I continued to sit there as clearly I wasn't 'doing' anything yet I felt compelled to remain. It also made me think of my own relationship with God this Advent.

I have been trying to throw myself into Christmassy things, to power through work and make an effort with the house. I thought this purposefulness and activity was me being present in the moment which would strengthen my connection with God, allow me to hear his voice and embrace his presence. Yet Sunday showed me that being still, attending and pausing to be present can be of equal value. Just as we often call on God to bestow the blessing of his presence in our lives we perhaps also need to be reminded that the quiet gift of being present is something we too can give to someone in need.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Pause in Advent 2014- Week One

pause in adventI'm delighted to join in again with the Pause in Advent which was hosted last year by the lovely Floss of Troc, Broc and Recup who has passed the baton to the equally lovely Angela of Tracing Rainbows.

I cannot believe a whole year has passed. It has been another year of tumult with some very deep and desperate lows particularly around serious illness in those that I love. I too have been severely limited in my mobility by on-going knee pain. There have been lovely and fun things that have happened, wonderful friends, blessings and abilities that have enabled, supported and created a sense of joy at times too.

In my daily life I hate routine and love going with the flow to engage and respond. I positively loathe having my days mapped out with appointments and demands. Where others enjoy structure, anticipation and planning I often find I've lost interest by the time a long awaited concert or event finally rolls round.

Conversely, in the important aspects of life and in my relationships particularly I crave certainty and security, finding it almost insurmountably hard to deal with uncertainty and not knowing where things are going to end. This often makes me very risk averse and I over-ponder decisions through my need to explore every single potential outcome and alternative. While this is hard enough to do for yourself it is even harder to do on behalf of someone that you love such as a child or parent who lacks capacity. This self-imposed pressure often becomes overwhelming which in turn makes things even more difficult and I neglect my own needs.

This is when I find it hardest to let go and let God and to hear the voice of reason that can only be heard internally when I am ready to listen. This Advent I feel the need to renew my connection with the Lord, to live in the moment and to find a way to negotiate a path between my fears and the need to embrace freedom.

This year particularly I need to make the best of this Christmas as it is likely prove to be more bittersweet than any other due to my Mother's advancing illness. To stop myself becoming overwhelmed by anticipatory grief I need to find my balance, to operate in the moment and to make time to meditate quietly so that I can draw on God's Strength, Wisdom and Love.