I Fell In Love Today


loveI met a very special lady today and I fell in love with her the second our eyes met. Yes, folks, love at first sight really does exist.

The special person I met is a newborn baby girl, born to parents at my church last weekend. Her name is Thea, and you know when you meet someone special you just know it? There’s no rhyme or reason to it, you just know that this person is going to be a significant person? Well, Thea is one of those people. She oozes an aura of “special” and I am not alone in recognising it.

Her parents brought her into church this morning, and she was wide-eyed in her pram throughout the whole service and during coffee afterwards. Her Daddy took her to the front of church to meet the congregation and for us to pray for her and she just gazed over his shoulder at us all the while.

There is something about her that just strikes me as being special. I made the comment to her Mummy that she is an “old soul”, a phrase that I have used before and have heard now and again spoken about other children, and in Thea’s case it really does seem that she has been here before. It might sound a bit of a strange thing to say, especially given that there is nothing in Christian teaching that tells us about souls having an age, or whether people are reincarnated or anything, but there are people walking this Earth who are wise beyond their years, and I believe Thea is one of those people.

I had a cuddle with her after the service and even at eight days old, she was keen and alert, mimicking my mouth shapes as I was talking to her. It was as if we were having a conversation already! I was rewarded with the biggest grin from her too, which as you will probably know, is highly unusual in babies so young.

All babies are special, and all babies are beautiful God-given blessings to us, but every now and again there comes along one so special that they are impossible not to love. I met one of those children today and yes, I fell in love with her. She is going to be a joy to watch grow and develop in the coming years.

God bless you Thea.

 

Tis The Night Before


keep calmIt is the night before my Big Day tomorrow, where I take my first class on my own as a cover supervisor. To say that I am nervous is a bit of an understatement! I have had precisely two and a half hours of induction, where I was shown the ropes by the school’s resident (and quickly approaching retirement) cover supervisor, who was about as enthusiastic about it as she would have been had she been asked to parade naked round the tennis courts  at midwinter.

Actually, once she warmed up to me she was ok, and she gave me lots of tips about how to handle the children and what to do on the computer in terms of rewards for them. She has a lot of experience with them so if she says “do this”, I’m going to do it. Especially when it comes to calming them down in the lesson after lunch!

I have managed to log into the system tonight and I can see which classes I’ve got tomorrow and my nerves are not helped by the fact that my first solo lesson is going to be….dan dan darrrrr…..Spanish! Yep that’s right, my first time setting a class off with a load of work (set by a professional teacher I hasten to add) isn’t even in English. Oh boy oh boy, talk about in at the deep end!

I’m actually quite excited about tomorrow, which after the horrible time we’re experiencing as a family just now is something of an achievement in its own right. I have been wavering between resentment and fear about doing this all this week, and my health hasn’t exactly been on the right track either, which has added to my stress levels no end. You may know that I am studying for my degree just now, and it is possible that once I have graduated I will sign up for teacher training. My degree is a mixture of English and History subjects, so I could teach either of those subjects if I decide to follow that route. I may not yet, but my experience as a cover supervisor will certainly help when it comes to classroom management if I do. There’s an awful lot more to teaching than most people realise, and as a cover supervisor I’ll only see a fraction of it, but it’s all experience with children and it all counts.

So. My clothes are all ironed ready for morning, I have had a shower and washed my hair and my bag is sat ready for me to just pick up in the morning and I’m heading off for some lie-down time before the alarm goes off at work o’clock tomorrow. I say that because I know for sure I won’t actually sleep

Buenos noches, buonanotte, bonsoir, Gute Nacht, boa noite, hyvää yötä, спокойной ночи, good night.

(Sorry, just practicing for tomorrow!)

abc

 

 

The Autumn Leaf


sterlingsop:

A lovely sentiment. Why not click back to the original site? You’ll find loads more like this one!

Originally posted on Positive Outlooks Blog:

I hope I can be the Autumn leaf, who looked at the sky and lived. And when it was time to leave, gracefully it knew life was a gift.Dodinsky

autumrn leaf

View original

Daybook Entry – 21st September 2014


021114_2314_DaybookEntr1.jpgFOR TODAY
Outside my window… a delicious Autumnal evening has given way to a chilly night. It’s one of those nights where frost is gently threatened and where ground mist in the morning is a distinct possibility.

I am thinking… about a couple of storylines I want to write up. Just thinking about the ins and outs of the story is entertaining enough, but to actually make anything of them is going to take a lot of disciplined writing and I’m not sure I have that. Yet.

I am thankful… that my son has had a great weekend away with school orienteering in the Lake District and is home safe. Well, if you don’t count the 6 wasp stings on his legs from when he crashed through a wasps nest in the dark. Ouch!

In the kitchen… we had a lovely meal tonight – steak pie, boiled potatoes in herb butter and steamed veg followed by home made apple pie (made by my Mum) and it was all delish.

I am wearing… several unexplained scratches on my face along with a fresh crop of painful spots on one cheek (why, WHY???!). Oh yes, and my sleepy clothes cos it’s bedtime again.

I am creating… three baby blankets for a lady at church. I’m doing two pink and one blue one for three babies due in her family soon. I love doing baby blankets because they represent such hope for the future and the celebration of new life.

I am going… to work this week. Yes that’s right, WORK. I had my induction on Friday and I have been booked in for two days later this week doing classroom cover in the school where I do exam invigilation. I have a zero-hours contract so I can’t forecast how many hours I’ll be doing each week, but in our financial situation at the minute, every hour  I work is an improvement on where we’re at so I’m not complaining.

I am wondering… how I will be on my own in the classroom. Gulp…

I am reading… “Thin Air” by Ann Cleeves. I have to admit that I’m struggling with it, which is a shame because I have loved every single one of her previous books, and this series is one of my favourites. This one just isn’t doing it for me I’m afraid.

I am hoping… my book gets better!

I am praying for… my mother and father in law who both have complex health issues and who are both struggling with different forms of dementia; my friend who is having a serious operation on Tuesday; my friend Jane who is halfway through her chemotherapy sessions.

I am looking forward to… seeing my daughter tomorrow as it is her 21st birthday and we’re going to share a meal with her tomorrow night.

I am learning… to just relax and go with the flow.

Around the house… we’ve had a bit of a change round in the house this weekend and moved the computer and desk out of our bedroom into the box room. It has led to a bit of a sort out and clear out in other rooms (including the loft…) and the house is now littered with various boxes of junk waiting to be binned or sold. Sigh…

I am pondering… just hiring a bloody skip and getting rid of the lot!

A favourite quote for today:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King, Jr.

One of my favourite things… is reading in bed.

A few plans for the rest of the week: I’m at Stay and Play in the morning then seeing my 21 year old daughter for her birthday meal; I’m going to be working on Thursday and Friday and I will be conducting my band on Friday night.

A peek into my day… (a bit of a cheat because it was yesterday, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me!)

 

Our "belonging" wall from Messy Church yesterday. You can also see in the background the beginnings of our Harvest collection of food to share with the homeless in Manchester.

Our “belonging” wall from Messy Church yesterday. You can also see in the background the beginnings of our Harvest collection of food to share with the homeless in Manchester.

Come and join us at  http://thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/ and join in!!

Wednesday Hodgepodge – 17th September


Welcome to this week’s edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge. Answer the questions on your own blog then add your link at the end of Joyce’s post.  Be sure to go say hi to all your friends and neighbours…or at least to the blogger who linked before you!

Here we go-

1. (Joyce is) celebrating a birthday this week so a question relating to aging feels appropriate. Douglas MacArthur is quoted as saying, ‘You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt;  as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair.’ Would you agree? If not, why not?

We have a saying here in Lancashire: “I’m older than my teeth and younger than my hair”. I think it speaks for itself!

Personally, I prefer my saying to Douglas MacArthur’s. He has tortured his simile almost to death and he basically says the same as mine. Come on Dougie, sort your words out pal!

2. What remarkable feat, interesting piece of trivia, or historical event occurred on your birth day and month? Not necessarily your same birthyear, just the same date/same month.

I share my birthday with Princess Diana, although she was born 10 years before me. It saddens me to know that I am now older than her…

Something that I’ll always remember is on my birthday in 1997 Hong Kong was handed back to China after more than 150 years of British rule. I remember the ceremonial handing over by the governor Chris Patten, and I remember all the hoo-hah about human rights and the despair of the Hong Kong people being handed over to a communist regime after the freedoms they enjoyed under the Brits.

3. Describe a time or circumstance where you wanted to ‘have your cake and eat it too.’

This is one of those phrases that doesn’t make sense to me. How can you be expected NOT to eat a piece of cake that you have hold of? I can’t imagine why anyone could be judged for wanting to eat a piece of cake rather than hold it and simply look at it!

4. What’s something you do that makes you feel young? Something that makes you feel old?

Making popcorn makes me feel like a kid again. Old? Wow, things like having to change my glasses whenever I want to read/crochet/walk in a straight line and making noises as I get up out of the chair.

5. When did you last do something that was ‘a piece of cake’?

This week. I have been given an order to make three baby blankets, which is something I have done quite a lot of in the past but I wanted to make them a little bit different to usual this time. I wanted to do a central panel that was different to the rest of them and so I searched out a couple of options to try. The one I liked the look of had the trickiest pattern, but when I tried it, it was easier than I thought and ended up a piece of cake to do.

6. Beef, wine, and cheese all improve with age. What else would you add to that list? (not necessarily food or beverage)

Musical instruments, particularly the voice of a piano (if it is well looked after) and my cornet, which has definitely been looked after properly!

7. If I were to have a giveaway when we hit Volume 200 in the Hodgepodge, what should I give away? By my calculations we’ll hit Volume 200 on November 26th, the day before Thanksgiving, which means whoever wins would have whatever it is by Christmas.

I would like to receive a gift basket of things that typify or signify your home town or state. It ties in with the Hodgepodge theme and is representative of you. If it was the other way round and I was doing it from my home town of Manchester I would include things like a Manchester tart, something made of cotton, an Oasis CD, a Roman coin, a Manchester City scarf and a model ship. I would love to receive something that tells me about your hometown in return.

8. Random thought for the day:

As you may know already (if you are regular reader of mine) we have been struggling financially for quite some time now and things have been really tough, especially the last couple of months. I have good news though, and that is that I have been offered a job this week. Hurrah!! I am overwhelmed by the speed it has happened and I am struggling to get my head round things, but basically I heard about it yesterday, made the necessary phone calls yesterday and today, and I am going for my induction on Friday with a view to start work next week. How’s that for having your prayers answered!

The job is cover supervision in the classroom for teachers who are absent, which is right up my street because it is in school setting once again. It will not be full time and I envisage it taking a couple of days each week, but that is quite enough for me at the minute. I’m not sure how my offal will respond to regular work, and because it is “on-call” so to speak, I can fit in my studies and church activities too which is GREAT!

 

Give Us Today Our Daily Bread


daily-breadWhen we say the Lord’s prayer we kind of mouth our way through the words sometimes without giving them much thought, but there is one phrase in that prayer that strikes me every time I say it. “Give us today our daily bread”.

It sounds weird doesn’t it? I mean, who has a diet of bread every day nowadays? Especially if you are carb-conscious or are counting calories to lose weight, as a lot of people are. And why bread? Why not “give us today our daily MEAT” for example, or “daily MILK”. Both are essential for growth and nutrition so why BREAD?

There are two ways to look at it – the first is as I’ve hinted at above, that bread is an essential foodstuff to many people and we pray those words to ask God to give it to us. The second is that if we go deeper into bread being the food of LIFE, then we are asking God not only for the mechanical means to gain nutrition into our bodies, but his divine inspiration into our daily lives that we might live life to its fullest? We ask him to feed us so we can feed others.

What does that actually mean anyway? Living life to its fullest seems to be an idyllic way of living – to have enough work to do to be challenging without being exhausting, to have enough people who love you and whom you can love in return to be emotionally stable and well, to have enough food on your plate that you are not hungry and you never have to worry where your next meal is coming from, to have enough mental stimulation that you are constantly learning and growing, to have enough time to rest and relax on leisure activities that recharge your batteries, to have the emotional “stretch” to be able to support other people pastorally and to have enough strength of faith to be able to be a light shining for God throughout everything you do. Wow, who wouldn’t like a life like THAT?!

So when we ask God to provide enough for us to live our life properly and to its fullest through the words “give us today our daily bread” we are entering into a contract with him that in return for that, we will live our lives well and fully in his name.

But what if your life isn’t like that idyll I have just painted? What if you have too much work to do and you are constantly exhausted and stressed because of it? You haven’t the energy to be “nice” to people, let alone have the emotional stretch to help them when they are stuck. What if you don’t have enough food to eat and your thoughts really are taken up with where your next meal is coming from? It is difficult to appreciate the beauty of the world when you are constantly hungry and can’t enjoy the food you do have because you know it will be the last for a while. How about when you don’t have time to recharge your batteries? When the worry about day-to-day living takes its toll to the extent that you can’t switch off at weekends, you can’t sleep during the week, you can’t enjoy a holiday from work because you know it’s all piling up for you to do when you get back? How about the times when you are so bogged down with your own worries that you just can’t see how it is for other people? When your own parents are facing big decisions about their future because of infirmity or disease, and you have to manage their affairs as well as your own? There is little time for affection and love when duty and responsibility are piled on top of worry and grief. What about the times when you want to do things with your church, such as take communion to sick people in the parish, or help out at the play group in a morning but you can’t because you have to go to work? How about the times you want to be creative but the materials are too expensive and your time is taken up with work and stress and worry and duty to other people?

To live with all these things when we ask God to provide our daily bread we are asking him not just for the food in our belly, we are asking him to help us deal with our lives in such a way that we can and do make room for the things that make life worth living – the company of others, love and laughter, creativeness, joy in rest and so on. We are asking him to help us make room in our lives too for those things that bring glimpses of his kingdom to others here on Earth. Most of all, we are asking him to keep feeding us with his strength and his spirit so that we can grow and mature as spiritual beings as much as we do human beings.

Next time you say the Lord’s prayer, see how different you feel if instead of visualising a loaf of Mother’s Pride at that line, you visualise a life full of beauty and wonder with God pouring it all out to nourish your soul as well as your body. It’s all about trusting him to provide for us, even when we don’t know exactly what and why.

 

 

 

Happy Hodgepodge!


Thank you Joyce for another fantastic Hodgepodge this week. Many happy returns to your daughter today. My daughter has a birthday coming in up in a couple of weeks and it’s a big milestone this time. I can’t believe my little baby is already 21 eek!!!

1. On Thursday we pause to remember a dark day in history-9/11. Will you mark it in some special way?

Personally, no. Here in the UK we are probably about as far removed from ground zero as could be but that doesn’t mean to say that the tragic event wasn’t felt by us at the time and in the aftermath. I will say a prayer for those still affected by the tragic loss of life, and I will also pray that lessons continue to be learned about finding peace in this time of global strife.

2. Do you ever/still…listen to an actual radio? Watch a videotape (VCR)? Look up a number in a telephone book? Refer to an actual paper map while traveling? Set an alarm on an alarm clock as opposed to your phone?

Haha I can see where this question is leading! I listen to the radio every single day – we wake up to the radio alarm, Kevin puts the radio on as he prepares breakfast and his lunch to take to work and we have the radio on in the car whenever we travel. I have a digital radio by the side of my bed which we take with us when we go away in our caravan. Love the radio!

No, we don’t watch videotapes any more and I can honestly say hand-on-heart that I don’t miss them one little bit. Fuzzy pictures, having to fast forward and rewind them, having the tracking (remember that?!) shift about and half the picture being lost….nope, don’t miss that AT ALL.

Yes to the paper maps. We have an extensive collection of Ordinance Survey maps for when we walk and cycle when on holiday. We kind of collect them for the area where we are camping each time, and over the years we have amassed quite a number which get referred to all the time. We also use a map book in the car which we use in conjunction with the Sat-Nav.

No to the phone directory and no to the alarm clock. Over the years the local telephone directory has shrunk in size so much that it now resembles a slimline novella and whenever I need a telephone number I Google the company I need instead. And who in their right mind want to have their home number listed any more when it leaves you at the greedy, grasping, intrusive mercy of aggressive marketing companies? And the alarm “clock” is now a combination of mobile phone alarms and the radio set on a timer as previously said.

I think we’re a household in balance when it comes to traditional and technological tools to live by.

3. Is it ever a good idea to discuss religion and politics with people you don’t know?

Hmmm. Good question. I think it depends on the situation you’re in and the setting of the conversation. For example, I wouldn’t walk into a pub for example and start talking about religion and/or politics with random strangers, but I would obviously talk about religion when meeting new people through church.

4. What’s a dish you haven’t eaten all summer, but come September find yourself craving? Have you made it yet this month?

My September dish is my own bacon and lentil soup, which is not usually on the menu when it’s hot because it is quite brothy and thick, and as my Dad says, “it sticks to your ribs”. It is most definitely a winter warmer and is quite cheap to make too, and yes, I have made it twice in the last two weeks. It really is delicious!

5. What’s something you know nothing about?

Good grief, where to start! I know nothing about the back of my own neck, but neither to do I know anything about quantum physics so it’s a bit of a difficult question to answer. How about asking the question “what’s something you know nothing about, BUT WANT TO?”. If that was the question then I would say I would love to learn about stump work (a three dimensional, multi-material, multiple-technique form of needlework), and I would love to learn how to play the accordian but don’t know where to start with either of them.

6. September is Classical Music Month. Do you like classical music? If so, what’s your favourite piece?

I love most forms of music (not the monotonous droning and whining that counts as “pop” music these days) and to me, “classical” music is quite an all-emcompassing term that covers quite a substantial range of styles and forms. It is difficult for me to choose just one favourite piece because I listen to music according to my mood and what is my favourite one day might not match the next and so on. But, there is one piece that never fails to move me, or to change my mood and outlook, and that is the Blue Danube waltz by Johann Strauss II. I find my imagination firing off in all sorts of directions whenever I hear it, and I get swept away by mental images of Viennese ladies and gentlemen in their finery waltzing round gilded ballrooms of yesteryear. Glorious!

I am also quite moved by the finale to Madame Butterfly by Puccini, the Overture “William Tell” by Rossini, any Baroque trumpet music or antiphonal music by composers such as Gabrieli. Here’s an example so you can hear what I mean:

 

7. What’s the oldest thing you own?

The oldest thing I own is probably my Gran’s wedding ring. I have a couple of my Grandad’s law books, but I don’t know if he had those before or after he got married to my Gran.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I will probably come back to this topic in the coming days or so, but the Scottish Referendum debate is really beginning to gather momentum now. It is all over the newspapers and the media is alive with it just now and it is hard to sort out the real nuggets of fact from all the hype and spin on the issues that people are worried about. My own personal feeling – as an English woman – is that the world is in so much turmoil and distress at the moment and by opting to leave the Union the Scots would just be adding to it. There is the threat of wars in Russia and Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria; terrorism and extremism seem to be around every street corner; there are world shortages and violence everywhere; there is instability in Europe with countries in austerity measures and others wanting to come out of trade agreements and the Euro etc. It strikes me that an upheaval on the scale that some Scottish people want, ie dissolving the Union, is unnecessary and is borne out of something else other than the need for a separate identity and economy. It troubles me.

 

The Pizza That Broke the Camel’s Back


Well, it’s happened. When rock bottom approaches the last few stages go really quick, and we have finally hit it.

You may have gathered that things have been pretty tight financially for us for a while now, and this weekend saw the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. In actual fact it wasn’t a straw but a pizza. And no ordinary pizza either. It was a £4 “create your own” pizza from Asda and it proved a step too far because we simply did not have the money for one.

Sounds bad doesn’t it? Well, let me tell you just how bad.

We have been struggling for months – years – with finances. Ever since I became ill and lost my job we have been up against it to make ends meet. Month after month, year after year we have been skimming back, giving up things that other people take for granted and have long since waved goodbye to. A quick example is the fact that my hair is so long and curly now. Lots of people comment on it; “oh, isn’t it lovely and long?!”, “isn’t your long hair wonderful??”, “I do love your hair long like that” and so on. But the truth is that it is only this long because we can’t spare the money for me to go and have it cut. My son’s hair has been cut by me the last couple of times and my husband clips his own hair now too. Not because they are precious about it (or because I am particularly skilled at hairdressing) but because there simply is not the cash available to visit the barbers.

I lost a filling at the beginning of this year and it was massive trepidation that I booked an appointment at the dentist for 1st September. Part of the trepidation was because I’m terrified of dentists, but the other part was because I was frightened of the cost. Not long after I booked the appointment I broke a different tooth and to be honest I was really glad when the dentist sent me a letter cancelling my appointment because…well you can guess can’t you? Not because of the pain involved but because there just is not the money available to pay the bill.

The situation is this: My husband works full time and earns what on the face of it is a decent wage. I can’t work because of my condition but I try to do little bits of admin or audio typing where I can to earn a bit of cash, and I sell some crocheted items where and when I can too. We have a daughter at university and a son who is in Year 11 at secondary school. He goes to music centre and we have to pay fees for, which we don’t/can’t begrudge him because he wants a professional music career and that is the best place for him to be in order to start it.

I have tried to claim for ESA (for my non-UK readers it is a sickness benefit awarded to those who are too ill to work) but as everyone knows, the threshold for “can’t work because of illness or disability” is so high now not many people are accepted on it. Even disabled ex-servicemen with no limbs are deemed “fit to work” by the assessment people for ESA so my little condition doesn’t even register with them.

We don’t qualify for income support because my husband works (that counts against us on two counts because a) we are married and b) he works more than 16 hours per week). Incidentally, I can’t claim Jobseekers Allowance for the same reasons, but there is an extra factor why I can’t claim that and that’s because c) I can’t with all honesty say that I could work any job that I am offered because I don’t know from day to day whether or not I can get up and do any work at all. Even if I did qualify for it, it would only last for a maximum of 6 months and I wouldn’t be able to claim again for another couple of years once that has expired, which is no good for a long term plan.

We have been surfing the 0% interest credit cards for some time now, shifting balances about to try and free up some cash for us to use as living expenses but they have all come to an end now. We are paying massive amounts of interest on them because there are limited options available with credit all over the place – not just us, but for other people too. We now have a combined debt totalling more than a year of Kevin’s salary. It may as well be a million quid for all the hope we have of paying that off.

We worked out last week that after my husband’s wages come in and the necessary bills have all been paid (gas, electric, council tax, TV licence, mortgage) we have £157 per month to pay for the rest – food, bus fares, petrol and so on. That doesn’t include a clothing allowance, my medicine, music centre fees, socialising/entertainment or anything like that so to pay for any of those other things we have to take it out of the £157. What we have been doing is taking more money from the credit cards to try to cover the shortfall, which has caught up with us now. We are about £500 short each month, which obviously mounts up if we keep going up to that every time, and now, we’re at the end of the road. When there isn’t even enough for a £4 Asda pizza you know you’re up against it.

As bleak as it all feels, there is a bit of hope on the horizon.

Kevin went through all the finances on Sunday and followed up a link I’d seen on Facebook about a debt management company. The chap was very helpful and is sending us some information and an application form for an IVA, which is an agreement to pay creditors a fixed amount for a fixed term. There are pros and cons which I won’t go into here, but what it represents is a light at the end of the tunnel for us. It is a 5-year long tunnel, but at least with an IVA in place we can see that there is a light in the first place.

I always get emotional when we talk about money – I don’t know why, but it is very embarrassing – and I thought I would try and get my head round what the IVA would entail myself by looking up a few things on Martin Lewis’s website (he’s the Money Saving Expert off the TV) and I found a link to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. They are the people who measure poverty levels in the country, and they have a fairly comprehensive set of criterion as to what constitutes a basic standard of living, and what constitutes a decent standard of living etc.

I did their questionnaire and calculated where we were on the scale of “need” compared to other people in this country, and I was gobsmacked to find that according to their figures we are more than £1000 per month short of what they call a “basic standard of living”. We were feeling bad about our £500 shortfall and all the pain that that entails, but according to the JRF we are actually doing twice as well (or half as bad, whichever way you look at it) as they reckon.

When I looked further at their criteria, I was astonished to find out what they constitute a basic standard of living and the amounts of money they say are legitimate to spend on each part of life – personal goods and services (dentist, medicines, eye tests etc), clothing allowances, socialising, food, alcohol, holidays…. If we spent what they say meets basic living standards on all of these things then we would be living in luxury compared to what we are now! We have done without so much for so long their list seems like something out of this world for us.

I do recognise that it’s one thing to say “this is what a basic standard of living should be” and quite another to meet it. According to the JRF, we are in the 25% of the population who fall below the line but that doesn’t actually help does it?

Knowing that we don’t have the cash for medicines, glasses, dentists, hairdressers, food, school bus fares, school uniform (my son is going to school in trousers and shoes that are too small for him because we couldn’t replace them before the start of term) and all that is one thing, but finding a way out of it is quite another.  We have cut back and cut back to the extent now that we have forgotten what “normal” is like. It’s not so much “how the other half live” but “how the other three-quarters live”.

So here we are. We haven’t applied for an IVA as the paperwork hasn’t arrived yet, but even when we do it won’t actually solve anything in terms of day to day living. Yes, we will have a handle on our debts and yes, we can look forward to the balances being written off in 5 years’ time, but we still won’t have any extra coming in to meet that £1000 shortfall each month.  I am studying for my degree which will hopefully affect my earning capacity in a couple of years, but that is if I could actually hold down a job in the first place. My condition is getting worse and yet the doctors still don’t know what’s causing it or how to treat it, so I can’t see me getting and holding down a job even armed with my degree. I am trying to sell my crocheted work, but for the odd fiver or so that brings in doesn’t even put a dent in our overall living expenses, meagre though they may be.

Ah well, if I can sell a £5 crocheted hat this week then at least I could look forward to an Asda pizza this weekend with a bit of change to spare. Chips anyone?

Daybook Entry – 6th September


021114_2314_DaybookEntr1.jpgFOR TODAY

Outside my window… the weather is drizzly, overcast, grey clouds and warm winds. Autumn is here!

I am thinking… about how complicated things are at the moment. Complicated emotionally I mean. There are lots of things that are sapping my emotional energy just now and it’s hard for me to pull myself along.

I am thankful… for the unconditional love and support of my husband, who is also going through the emotional wringer at the moment as well.

In the kitchen… Kevin’s cooking tonight and I think we’re having pasta Bolognese. With extra cheese. Yummy!

I am wearing… comfy shorts and pink polo shirt.

I am creating… I’m working on building my stock for my craft stall in a couple of weeks’ time, and I am collecting ideas for writing so you could say I am creating notes on characters and scenes.

I am going… to take Ethan’s girlfriend home shortly.

I am wondering… why Strictly isn’t back tonight?? I am so disappointed that it isn’t on until tomorrow. Major sulk.

I am reading… “Salem Falls” by Jodi Piccoult.

I am hoping… for a miracle on the financial front. Things are getting tougher and it is extremely stressful. I have been looking for paid work but there’s nothing forthcoming as yet.

I am looking forward to… things getting better.

I am learning… to bite my tongue and keep my trap shut about certain things.

I am thinking… a lot about what it means to be married. Not just from my own point of view but from the perspective of older people who have been married for 50 years or so and where there is illness and infirmity.  I have been thinking about how far the marriage vows have to be taken, and is it possible to take them too far. For example, the vow is to look after each other “in sickness and in health” but what happens when one of the couple is too ill to be looked after by the other, and where professional nursing care is more appropriate for them. What happens to those vows then? Does that promise mean that you yourself have to do the caring, or is it OK to make sure that that care is provided, even if it is by a team of professionals and not you yourself personally? At what point does the line between marital duty and realism get drawn?

I am praying for… my parents in law; my friend Jane who is now halfway through her chemo treatment; all the kids I know who have gone back to school this week and especially those who have gone for the first time and found it difficult; my husband.

Around the house… laundry is mostly done, things are pretty tidy, kitchen is clean, table is clear (for once!)

I am pondering… which new patterns to try out for hats to sell.

A favourite quote for today… “Treat each day as if it was your last day on earth because one day, you’ll be right”.

One of my favourite things… is the feel of yarn and crochet hook in my fingers.

A few plans for the rest of the week: Church tomorrow, Stay and Play on Monday, back to Music Centre routine from Tuesday evening.

A peek into my day…

laundry