Tag Archive | appreciation

No Lockdown on Love

The Pandemic feels heavier than ever doesn’t it? Or is it just me?

I’m finding this winter Lockdown much harder to weather than I did last summer when the climate was kinder and there were more light hours to help lighten the spirits. I used the outdoors and nature as a strategy to help me through, especially when seeing friends and family was so limited. Whilst my love of nature burgeoned, loving those close to us felt like doing wrong somehow.

I know there’s no lockdown on love but it certainly feels like it when you can’t grab your loved ones and hold them in a big embrace, that’s if you’re lucky enough to see them!

Lockdown is certainly inhibiting our expression of love as well as access to many of the things that bring us joy. Not only the hugging and holding, but the meeting, community company, social pleasures, get togethers; all those things that dilute the intensity of everyday concerns.

No wonder we’re all suffering. Adults and children alike, however much we try and keep the cheer going. But keep it going we must in order to help the kids through such difficult times. Our responses, ideas, strategies for dealing with it will be a toolkit you’re passing on that they’ll always be able to draw on.

So what strategies have you developed? How can we keep going?

I think it’s important to keep contact with community as much as possible, making digital dates do for now.

It’s important to get out of the house daily, take advantage of what little natural light we have during winter – even cloudy light is beneficial. Walk out!

It’s important to find contact with nature in whatever way you can because nature can be so healing. Do this through walks, gardens, parks, planting your own seeds in hope for times beyond the now. Visit the same bit of nature every week and watch it change, even if only the front gardens you pass on your walks. Watch for bulbs coming, buds changing, colours returning on the trees and shrubs. It’ll help us remember different times will come.

Don’t forget the Big Garden Bird Watch

Don’t forget the Big Garden Bird Watch coming up, take part, and check out the other activities on nature sites for even digital nature can help.

Eat well. Cook. Move. Look after yourself.

Whatever you herald as important the kids will too. The strength you show in dealing with these personal hardships will become their strength. And it will improve yours too, as helping others always does.

Parenting is already hard. Parenting through a pandemic makes it much worse.

But we have to remember that actually; there really is NO LOCKDOWN ON LOVE. Love for family. Appreciation of the things we do have. Being grateful. We must find other ways to express those things if we can’t hug etc. And a strength and determination to see this through and come out the other side.

It will happen. We just have to keep on loving till it does.

Happy Christmas

Oh dear; more bad news this weekend and less chance to see loved ones this Christmas – just when we thought we might! What a year we’ve had to deal with! Who’d have imagined it? I’m just grateful to have got this far, aware as I am of some who haven’t! And although we may not be with them I’m grateful we are one of the lucky families who haven’t lost a member this year.

I’m also grateful to all of you who’ve supported this blog and my books during this past year. Some of you for an awful lot longer.

So this short blog is just to say a big THANK YOU to you and to wish you happiness in any form you can find it, this Christmas and beyond into what will hopefully be a better year.

Bless you for all your support. May your Christmas be filled with love and joy!


The bright side of a leaky roof

20150729_120816My muscles have been feeling a bit like they’ve had a good session in the gym.

They haven’t – I don’t do gyms, I exercise outside, cycling or walking daily and gardening, if you could call it that. It’s more a case of wrestling back the rampant nettles and brambles that would take us over. And the roses and vine that creep under the tiles when I take my eyes off their growth spurts, causing the tiles to lift and roof to leak.

This is the reason for achy muscles; climbing the ladder, clinging to the roof top and fighting wind lashed polythene sheeting into place until the builders get here. Thanks to former exercise I’m fit enough to tackle it!

I can’t blame the roses for the leak this time. I think it was the birds pecking the insects off the flat topped windows that stick out from the roof, making little holes as they do so. And the pigeon who struts about showing off to any watching females. That and the age of the house of course. Time has gone on and we were happily oblivious to the consequences until a steady drip of rain water onto carpet in the middle of a stormy night raised alarm through our senses.

Nothing gets me more wide awake than dripping where dripping shouldn’t be. Or makes you feel more vulnerable than the sudden knowledge that your impenetrable fortress is not so impenetrable as you thought.

Look on the bright side, I said to myself whilst lying on a plank on the flat roof in the rain spread-eagled against rearing plastic, at least it is repairable and at least I have a roof even if it is temporarily leaking, unlike those poor folks I see in grubby blankets sleeping in doorways and under bridges.

Temporary cover laid, the tricky bit is to squirm back to the ladder top and get my foot on the first rung, always a fall risk moment. But back down on the ground with fatigue wobbly arms and legs I know that a bit of a challenge and drip disturbed sleep is small price to pay for this roof over my head. I know I am privileged to have it. And maybe even lucky to have these little hiccups to keep me from taking it for granted.

This might be a very ‘Pollyanna’ attitude. (Have you watched that film with the children? It’s a great one for promoting discussion on appreciation). But it’s also a reminder that appreciation of all that we have serves us much better than an feeling of lack and envy, which the insidious advertising we’re bombarded with can instil in us.

Pollyanna makes looking on the bright side an art form! Thanks to a leaky roof  and wobbly muscles I’m reminded to practice that artistry a bit more often!

Know what love is

christmas 2012 011

A cracker lovingly made just for me!

You can tell I’ve been feeling rubbish with this head cold because I now know pretty much every advert on the telly right through. In fact, I’m even singing some of them. It’s a sign I’ve been watching far too much, but my head’s been that fluffy it’s akin to being pregnant!

There’s one on at the moment that breaks my heart every time; have you seen it? It’s the singing toys to a rendition of ‘I wanna know what love is’.

Watch it here.

I may be a bit rosy rimmed but I could cry my heart out at the thought of all those unloved toys every time – is there a word for the anthropomorphism of animals which refers to toys? I need one – that’s what I’m doing when I watch it.

I grew up with parents whose lives had been so harsh (think North East, post war), that even one single bought toy in their childhoods would have been treasured and loved, respected and appreciated, and they passed that approach onto us. There’s something terribly sad about unloved toys.

So when I look at the mountains of stuff bought for kids at Christmas I have to wonder how they manage to appreciate it all. I’m not saying either a little or lots is good or bad, but I do know that appreciation, and lack of it, can become a habit that spills over into other aspects of our lives, even into the way we appreciate love. It can seem that the more we have the less we appreciate – love too.

‘I wanna know what love is…’ the song goes. I’m very lucky; I feel I know what love is, have been loved, are loved and have others to love and it’s something I truly appreciate.

I also know, having watched news of the awful Sydney incident and destructions of war, that some lose their loved ones in tragic, unexpected dramas, others have long drawn out illness. Some seem unfairly heaped with tragedy.

The loves in my life has been constant and run a more natural course, although we do, of course, all endure bereavement as the organic way of things.

But I don’t want it to be loss that dictates my appreciation. I so appreciate my normally robust good health even before I got this dratted cold!

And the singing toys make me aware of my other particular blessings, both material and more especially of knowing what love is.

May your life be filled with love too.