Family love

Not only have we been blessed with amazing weather this weekend but many of us are blessed with having a loving family. I count myself in this category and had a beautiful day Saturday at a family wedding. I won’t name names but my niece looked absolutely stunning, and, as she walked to meet her wonderful hubby-to-be a few tears were shed by many a woman…and a few men.

There is nothing better than being surrounded by all generations of family at such special events, and our family has many interesting layers including second marriages. We are really lucky that we all mix well and enjoy each other’s company…we are family and that is all that matters. For a lovely lady that reads my blog you looked fab in that pink dress and you rock that sparkling cane!  

I am apologising publicly for my ‘mum dancing’ no excuses as I was sober – that’s the way I dance!!

Along with the joy of celebrating a beautiful union of a great couple there were moments of reflection of those who are no longer with us to share the day. Indeed, this was even  acknowledged within the speeches. At the end of the evening I collected flowers from the tables and yesterday placed them at church in memory of my own mother who I know would be so proud of all her children, grandchildren and now great grandchildren.

I had an interesting chat with my local minister and we agreed that it is only human to think of those we have loved and lost at times of celebrations and shed tears of happiness for that love we remember and hold dear.

If you know somebody who is recently bereaved make time to see them and allow them to talk freely about their loved one it really does help.

 

Finding time…

A great mentor of mine always maintained that ”we will always find time to do the things we like or want to do.‘ I guess, to a certain extent, that is true but at times ‘other stuff’ prevents us from getting on and doing things we like at the risk of neglecting what others may perceive as more important.

I had an interesting chat with a friend today on how we both avoid being judgemental on how others spend and live their lives but sometimes we will be criticised by those that we would rather support us. Unrequested advice can be very annoying and to some upsetting. We all have that friend or family member that wants to tell us what they think we should be doing but above all else we must remain true to ourself.

It would be a boring world if we were all the same..and life would be a dessert without a little rain. I will also spout more words of wisdom from said same mentor ‘that people are only important if you allow them to be.’

Realistically we can only just try to live our lives the best we can and hopefully without hurting anyone around us. Anyway who has the right to say what is and isn’t normal eh? In my experience of helping coach others; most people are just too hard on themselves. Once we learn to accept our limitations and love ourselves the rest will fall into place with time, patience and perhaps self-development and self-belief.

For the rest of the day remember what it is YOU like to do and just do it!

 

Getting ready…for exams

When I started my psychology course in the Autumn I chatted with my tutor saying how I had been putting off  beginning my course for one reason or another. After sharing for a while I soon realised that this was not the case as my work and life experiences had been preparing me to a certain degree to be in the right frame of mind, and, be better equipped to respond to what would be required of me.

I had great momentum going throughout the course returning each lesson promptly and starting reading and research for the next whilst my tutors marked my latest offerings. Then…suddenly the past few months when I should have been starting my exam I seem to have been distracted and whilst there is no time restraint (aside of those I impose) I feel I am starting it later than I intended.

The sunshine of the past few days and the welcoming blue sky brings us all out of the winter blues which I know a lot of my colleagues have found to be never-ending this year. I am now sitting in the garden re-visiting one of my reflective reading books and ready to resume my studies and face my exam. Maybe it is partly down to the fact that I will be invigilating exams the coming months and the student in me is coming back.

I am mindful that as I write my blog students all over the country are also starting to revise for exams. I will of course start to post blogs about exam stress…or should I say how to avoid it very shortly but for now here are a few quotes from ‘The things you can see only when you slow down’ by Haemin Sumin.

‘Wear confidence, It is the height of fashion’

and

‘Love, not righteous words, can change people’s lives’

 

 

 

Losing calories by kissing

 

My kindle book  ‘The Little book of kisses’ is available from Amazon to download and features some useful if not amusing information about kissing…worth knowing. For those romantics out there that still think kissing is important this is one for you…and yes you can lose calories by kissing!

 

Moving forward

After the loss of a loved one it is very hard for the bereaved to move forward and accept a new era of their life without them. For many older married couples the remaining spouse may have been a full time carer for sometime and that became their life’s role.

Speaking to a recently widowed lady I know it is not uncommon for the older generation especially to do everything together and this in itself can make it hard to venture out alone in search of new hobbies.

As with retirement many people find that they at last have time to persue the interests that previously may have been out of the question. With bereavement it is so often the case that a love one will feel an unwarranted sense of guilt to be seen to enjoy themselves.

Whatever your situation it is always a one step at a time process and regaining one’s sense of purpose takes time. For anyone recently bereaved please seek help and talk honestly to those that can offer support. Remember that you do not have to be a regular church-goer to speak to a local minister they are trained professionals and bereavement support is part of their community role.

Zena Skinner…saying goodbye

Earlier this week relatives, friends, colleagues and neighbours said a fond farewell to the amazing Zena Skinner. This great lady will be missed to those that knew and loved her in her home village of Redbourn.

Known globally for her fame as a TV cook and celebrated author of many cookery books she was also a keen fundraiser  for the Keech Hospice…the collection on Wednesday at her funeral was also for the hospice so even after she lost her own fight with cancer she goes on to help others.

Aside of her culinary skills and community work she had a fantastic sense of humour and that is how I will remember her; making a group of ladies in the village hall kitchen howl with laughter with her collection of funny voices, and, her talk at the U3A 2016 gave an insight into the fascinating life she led…with her tales of being a Wren as young woman having the audience laughing all afternoon.

As I said to our wonderful Reverend Will Gibbs who took the funeral:

The Zena I knew would be saying why all the long sad faces?’

 

International Women’s Day

Today I started celebrating International Women’s Day by having a ladies breakfast at the Waffle House with two of my favourite women. I am extremely fortunate in having known and worked with with some amazing women in my life many of whom have been great mentors.

I look on with pride at the younger generation of females who are so confident, sassy and non-judgemental and who have ambitions and the energy to follow their dreams. Spurred on by positive supportive mothers and great role models in other female family members and successful friends no challenge is insurmountable.

As a mother of a daughter for many reasons I realise the world can be both a cruel place and one of great opportunity and for those wanting to take the plunge and make something good of their lives…it will happen.

Last year I attended a great women’s conference where a speaker suggested that world leaders and heads of large corporates should adopt the many positive female traits of compassion, empathy, caring and sensitivity to work towards world peace and fairer and more honest business practices.

Here’s to being a women with the world at our feet.

 

Empathy and confidence

It is no secret that one can learn empathy but nothing beats having walked in another’s shoes to really know how they feel. Even the most confident person has experienced times in their life when experiences have left them feeling isolated and possibly insecure. It takes great courage to fight the natural instinct of flight and stay and fight.

However, as one gets older and reflects back on those conflict situations we would rather not have encountered we realise that they were all indeed character building. I often say to those in need of positive input and support that no experience is a waste and it is true that it is not what happens in our lives but how we handle it.

I am mindful what works for one person will not work for another as we are all different but we all have to move forward and grow in our own way and try to be the best we can. As my great mentor used to say ‘worrying about things won’t change them’ and that is sound advice.

My years spent in marketing and sales it was a case of every complaint is an opportunity and when things are tough in life it can be just the opportunity we need to make that change in our lives we are struggling to avoid making.

Seize the day and live one day at a time…as in reality that is all any of us can do. Remain curious and take that adventure as it is offered.

 

 

Helping the bereaved not ignoring them

Earlier this week during a visit with a bereaved lady we both agreed how we put on a brave face with those around who are also struggling in coming to terms with a loss of a loved one. Why is that? Over the past few years I have read many books on the beravement journey of others and have my own experiences to recollect too and what is blatently obvious is that to deny somebody’s right to grieve openly is of no use.

I am certain I would have said this before -my own mother said people crossed the road to avoid having to speak to her after my father died suddenly. It made me cross and upset then as a child and still does. However, shall we just be angry with the person that does that or should we feel sorry that they cannot find the words…any words?  As I have written in various articles just a hand on the arm or shoulder and ‘i’m thinking of you’ will suffice nobody who is recently bereaved expects you to say something profound honestly!

What we need as a bereaved person is for people to acknowledge our pain and the existence of those we have loved and lost. We have such a long way to go still in this country in dealing with how we approach the subject of death and it is something all of us will have to encounter and deal with at some stage of our life.

In a world where people post so many private things about their life (which frankly I would rather not see) I find it hard to believe that talking about death leaves them dumb struck.

As always I am sending a little reminder that it is after the funeral people need you to to phone or visit and let them know their loved one is not forgotten.  For anybody who is feeling alone in their grief then please talk to somebody, your loved one would not want you to suffer in silence and most of all celebrate their life.

A Mother’s love

The older I become the more, and I guess obviously so, my friends and extended family members are losing their parents. The loss of a Mother cuts deep and I described my own feelings at the time of just losing my sense of purpose – when I say that to the recently bereaved I always get a nod of acceptance. Bereavement brings a whole range of emotions and at times these feel so over-whelming. Some may argue it doesn’t get any easier and they are probably right but acceptance becomes stronger and we do start to remember their love and the gift they brought to us.

After being nagged by many of my friends and family I wrote my own thoughts and experiences of my own relationshipwith my mother down. It is true that writing is indeed therapeutic.

‘A Mother’s Love’ Gospels according to Dorothy is available from amazon kindle to download.  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annie-Manning/e/B005XXYJL0

Mother-s love (1)

**Cover illustration courtesy of Paul Manning