Tag Archive | love

Less stuff – more love

December already and I’ve only just started my Christmas shopping. 20161129_103846

I don’t like to make a big thing of it. I don’t do present overload. I prefer to give less stuff, but more love.

Love is more important than shopping – more important than stuff. The best present you can give is your time and attention. Time to be engaged.

Nothing worse than being with someone who is only engaged with their gadget. Hope you’ll remember that this Christmas! As parents;  remember it for all the times you’re with the kids. There’s times for gadgets and times for kids; exclusively.

Talking of love, if you’re short of a pressie for a Home Ed friend this Christmas you might like to give them my newest book A Home Education Notebook. Because I wrote it as an offer of love and support for all those home schooling families since I can’t be in the room giving them a hand. This is my hand of help. Reviewers tell me it really does the job when they’re feeling wobbly! (Read some reviews here)

And if you are looking for a loving family read for a mum you know, you might like to offer them my story; ‘A Funny Kind of Education’ guaranteed to bring tears and laughter, folks say! (Lots of lovely reviews on Amazon)

Meanwhile, I’ll get back to my own small Christmas list. Always hoping I’ll get a book for Christmas!

Will harmony and peace be well and truly Trumped?

A picture for peace and harmony

A picture for peace and harmony

It takes much tolerance to live together. Anyone who is living with others knows that. Family life is a bit like negotiating sea changes; sometimes it’s smooth, sometimes it’s choppy.

All parents know this. Couples know this. Families know this. In fact, my single friends know this too, as they listen to my dilemmas and family challenges and count their single blessings.

But I know my own blessings come family shaped. And when my two delightful family shapes are home again, as they recently have been, my blessings are rich despite the inevitable choppy bits.

These take some negotiating. There’s times I’m trying to calm rippled feelings and no doubt times I’m causing them! Mostly though, they are just ripples of laughter that permeate the house.

This is what family life – in fact all life with others – is about; storms, ripples and rainbows as we accommodate living together, whether that’s on a family scale, a friend and colleague scale, or population scale. In order for us all to live together we have to tolerate each others differences, learn to give and take, build understanding of and empathy for those with different ideas from our own, educate ourselves to be compassionate, curious, considerate and kind. Above all practice respect for one another.

So I rather fear for peoples when we have someone in charge of a major populace who lacks most of those characteristics, instead who openly practices racism, sexism, bigotry and a disrespectful style of communicating with others he fails to understand.

Is that the family climate Trump grew up in? And is it the kind of global togetherness he endorses?

I have to not concern myself too much with it; it’s too depressing a thought.

What I can concern myself with instead is the practices which I believe perpetuate love, respect and togetherness, as we all can. Right from our family doorsteps, throughout all our relationships, both online and in the flesh, so that these actions spread out from us and make our world a more loving and inclusive place.

I believe that always starts at home. With our relationships at home. It certainly should be part of our parenting and education.

Learning to love and live well together is the most important part of our human existence. You can look up any knowledge on Google – you can only learn about love and peace through experience. It should be the most important part of family development, education and politics – but I don’t bear to think about that right now.

I’ll just continue to go on loving and respecting my precious family shapes so they can in turn pass that on around.

A hug from me

20161012_175742 Sometimes I stand on the step so I can be taller than my daughter.

This is not for egotistical purposes, honest!

It’s just so I can put my arms around her shoulders in an all enveloping hug. And she can put her arms around my middle like she did when she was a child.

Doesn’t matter how old they are or how tall they grow, or even how loving the arms of boyfriends, they still know there’s nothing like a mum-hug to help ease the stresses of adulthood.

And how lucky I am to be looked to still to provide it.

No one is ever too old for a reassuring hug. But sometimes we get too busy to prioritise them.

No one is ever too tall or too grown up. And it doesn’t matter what gender – boys need them just as much and everyone needs to be tactile. Technology can’t do tactile, that’s one thing at least we still need to be human to provide! Lets not be on our technology so much we forget to be tactile. Life could easily become totally virtual.

Even grown up friends and I swap mum-hugs when that’s what’s needed and there are empty arms needing to be filled. We have the need both to receive and give hugs. Nothing shares an empathy or love like a hug does. Nothing soothes as much or feels as good.

My youngest popped back for one earlier. I see how many I can get in before she goes again. And I did stand on the step!

Someone said recently that my books feel like a hug. When life is challenging and they dip into them, that’s what it feels like they tell me. I think that’s one of the most endearing compliments I’ve ever received; I feel truly honoured. Couldn’t wish for anything better when that’s what I’d hoped they’d feel like, along with the odd tip of course, but perhaps that’s not as useful as a hug sometimes!

So if you’re in need today consider this another one. I’m just sorry not to be giving it in person!

Precious moments

20150604_144804When they’re little, it’s important to spend as much time with them as you can. This is the groundwork for their development and education.

When they’re older those times all together become increasingly rare. And very precious.

Which is why this is substituting for a blog post. I’m spending a bit of time with these two and making the most of precious moments! 🙂

Do it like the sparrows!

001It’s only a touch milder and the birds are thinking Valentines.

As I walked through town last night the Blackbird was singing his heart out on top of a chimney pot. This morning there is a chaffinch bursting with song. And there is a chattering of sparrows jostling for the next boxes and showing off their assets.

Being sociable birds we decided to build them a semi. A two-side nest box to be shared with neighbours. They keep popping in and out, first one side, then the other, like estate agents showing a prospective client round rooms. Swapping over, having a bit of a squabble, then carrying on as if nothing had happened.

Then occasionally one will bring a tuft of nesting material to impress his mate and earn him the right to bonk her on the roof!

I love the carnal stirrings of the natural world. It’s not that I’m pervy or anything, it’s just that it really means spring is on its way when there’s pairings in the wild. And it’s so beautifully removed from the the commercial hype that showing our love has become around Valentine’s day.

It seems far more fitting to bring your Valentine a token of your togetherness and love in the form of an act or a gesture that you’ve put some effort into – even if not nesting material – than buying a pre-packed, prescribed and generic box of something dictated by consumerism which is polluting the natural world and all the other living things in it.

Many of our garden birds are on the decline because of our pollutive habits and the way we farm is destroying habitats. The places that support them are destroyed or disappearing all together as we grab and greed and lust for far, far more than we ever really need to support us.

Just thought I’d mention it so you can think about loving the earth’s creatures as much as you love your Valentine and be mindful of the way in which you show it. I’m not suggesting you go out and bonk on the roof (although if that’s your thing…) I’m just asking that you also think about the world’s roof as you celebrate a day of love!

Together again and home educating the dog!

 

home educating the dog!

Aw! We’ve all been back together again and I didn’t get a picture.

Charley snapped this one of Chelsea educating the dog about what’s in Vogue – I wonder where she got the concept of that from – and we had a good laugh over it!

We’ve just had a few days all together and it’s been so lovely. Not something you can ever imagine when you’re immersed in raising little ones; that one day you’ll be all adults together, rather than adults and children. I’m not so sure who’s the more adult now, to be honest!

How different from when the four of us were growing up here all those years ago, which I described in the story ‘A Funny Kind of Education’. I say the four of us growing up because we parents did as much growing as they did.

Well, you do as a parent, don’t you? You do as a person really. You grow and change throughout your life – all experiences teach and change us. If we’re open enough to them, of course.

I’m having to be open enough to brace this new stage where my children give me as much inspiration and advice as I give them. For I’m still growing too even as I watch my two younger family members do the same.

We have to keep adapting as parents; we have to keep adapting as family, as the dynamics constantly shift like the silt on the marshland where I walk, carving out new channels as the tides of life come and go and alter our direction.

Nothing ever stays the same; an idea both comforting and nostalgic.

Whatever life throws at us – it won’t stay like that.

I watch these two amazing young people so full of energy and ideas and am inspired. I remember the little people they were and how we negotiated our way through tricky stages as we all have to do all the time with all relationships – negotiate the tricky stages, whether personal or circumstantial.

So this is just a little post to remind you of that.

Nothing stays the same – ever! And it’s worth making the most of each stage of family relationships, however tricky.

And enjoy yourselves, learn, be inspired and keep love up high on the agenda! Your family now will be a different one by tomorrow, by next year, in ten years.

And I hope, like mine, it just gets better and better.

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.