Sunday, 29 November 2015

Looking for joy :: Hygge

Hygge a Danish word pronounced (Hoo-gaa) cannot really be translated into one singular concept, it is a way of life; being kind to oneself, spending time with others and  slowing down and appreciating the little things.

The Danes are experts in introducing warmth into their surroundings not only from fire light and candles but also the use of natural materials such as wool and wood. Accents such as red, cream and silver finish the look quite admirably:

Good ol' Swedish christmas. How I love this! #swedishchristmas:  

This article explains in greater detail the whole concept of Hygge and  if you watch this video you will also see that hygge can be provided in the most unusual places and circumstances!  Just think what could happen if some of these tactics were employed worldwide :-)

I first came across hygge when I led the Shalom prayer meeting a few weeks ago. In addition to the talk I laid a table with our glass martinmas lantern, a tray of soul cakes and a church candle.  We were a small group that night and my friend Sallie suggested that we all draw near and she shared the concept of hygge ~ the gathering together almost in a huddle, around a source of light, a time to share and encourage.

I was truly struggling to find joy yesterday.  The past two weeks had caught up with me and I was not only struggling with my own health problems but exhausted as well.  I gathered my spirits and transformed what little energy I had into a mini baking session for the family and that whole concept of nourishment for the body as well as the soul has remained with me this weekend.  Looking for and experiencing hygge gave me the peace I needed and it is to this end that I share some pictures from our weekend:

 Best ever gluten free cheese scones!

 Red pepper, tomato,carrot and basil soup.

 Cheese and sweetcorn fritters for today's lunch served with a very tasty leek and potato soup courtesy of Benedict.

 Cosy, cluttered and convivial!
Benedict working on "scratch" computer programming; Pip and Dave working on a Christmas jigsaw. 

Hope you had a good weekend and Advent Blessings to you xx  

Friday, 27 November 2015

Looking for joy :: Thankful

Dave was finally given the go ahead to start steroid treatment!  He has had eight doses in the last 36 hours and we have already noticed some improvements, he has managed to be downstairs twice today :-)

It is the weekend, so no school run for two whole days!!!  Totally relieved as
 I am totally exhausted.

A friend dropped off a casserole this morning and took with her a basket of ironing.  She has also kindly offered to sort out Pip's star costume for the school nativity play. 

I even managed our usual Thanksgiving meal as we remember and are thankful for friends both near and far:

Chicken and mushroom casserole, garlic carrots, cauliflower and potato mash with braised red cabbage.

 Pumpkin pie with dairy free vanilla ice cream.


So thankful for all your prayers and loving thoughts from afar, they have for sure held me together this week :-)  I even received some words of encouragement in the mail:

 "Wisdom for each day, Billy Graham" and ... 

 ... this card from my dear friend Jacqui  The parcel arrived at just the right time as I was beginning to despair with the petty bureaucracy within the NHS.  I even managed to chat with her on the phone and as usual the line was crystal clear :-)

 This welcome angel is pouring blessings down upon our home and is a much treasured card from my long standing friend Rondie, her hubby Carl and Son Jamie.  She is the one friend from my youth and she has supported me through thick and thin.  We were even pregnant at the same time with our big kids and so there is a fair bit of history between us :-)  She tells me that, she checks her email each morning and then pops on here to see what we have been up to!  

Extremely thankful that we held on to Benedict's spare insulin pump because yes, you guessed it the other one is currently waiting to be collected by courier this evening!  We telephoned to report a problem with the pump and a message was dispatched to the courier.  There was a six hour window and he is travelling from Birmingham which is not the greatest journey on a Friday evening :-(

So very thankful that the diabetes nurse answered her phone this afternoon and that she was able to email me all the relevant info regarding basal rates, insulin ratios and other info in order to programme the back up pump and then the new one.  So another crisis averted and please can I have just a little bit of boringly normal for a change?

Last but not least the biggest thanks go to my mum and dad for being there at the end of the phone on an almost daily basis.  Their love and prayers have sustained me through some very difficult moments and I am truly grateful xx

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Looking for joy :: A trip out

Dealing with virtual immobility presents many challenges not only around the home but outside too, one has to start thinking about wheelchair accessible places including parking and toilet facilities.  It is the little things that we so often take for granted that are often the most problematic, the daily struggle of washing, dressing and moving around that take twice as long.  In order for Dave to be out of the house for 8:30 last Friday morning he had to be out of bed by 6:00 am at the latest.  Those tasks that previously took him half an hour when he was fully fit now take two hours.  So it was with great joy that we managed a lunch time treat at Barton Grange.  We both had a nut roast with cranberry stuffing and all the trimmings, can't you tell it is the holiday season and it isn't even Advent!

 As always the Barton Grange chefs make amazing food.  Next time I'm there I will try to remember to photograph their patisserie section it is mouthwatering!

Twenty seven years ago we said "I will ... in sickness and in health" and for most of that time we have been dogged by serious health issues, first me and now him.  Despite it all, I wouldn't have it any other way.  


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Looking for joy :: Comfort

The Challenges:

Dave still awaiting test results which will indicate the go ahead for steroid treatment.  The NHS wheels are running slowly and the relapse clock is ticking.

Pip crying and not wanting to go to school.

Benedict having a major grumble about pot washing and home school work.

My dealing with acute pain in my hip made worse on driving and general moving around.

The constant up and down stairs with drinks, meals, snacks and other needed items.

The Successes:

Benedict actually completed some school work, cue the hallelujah chorus!!  Design and Technology, English Literature and History were ticked off the list today :-)

I managed to take Pip to her swimming lesson and we even had time to have a drink and a snack in the tea rooms.

Benedict kept a watch on the tea and organised some extra frozen veggies as part of the meal.

I picked up the camera and recorded one good thing  during the day:

 Raw cacao hot chocolate, sweetened with coconut sugar and topped with mini marshmallows.


Monday, 23 November 2015

Looking for joy :: Hope

Still feeling numb with it all but we are slowly finding our new (hopefully temporary) normal.  As ever I run on practical mode and have worked out ways of making life easier, such as shutting down the back part of the downstairs so we now have the caravan table and dining chairs in the front room/schoolroom/playroom.  During the daytime we keep Dave company upstairs and then we gather downstairs for tea, after which it is back upstairs again!  It has been interesting to see Benedict settling earlier of an evening, I guess it is something I have always known, that he relies on the reassuring presence of a parent to help him settle at night :-)

Today Pip and I made our way over to our fortnightly "Little Flowers Group."  I am so blessed to know three lovely gals who exhibit such loving kindness and Pip loves spending time with her friends, it is a precious time. We are still studying St Monica and our memory verse is:

"For you are my hope, O Lord, my trust since my youth."

Psalm 71 v 5

The flower represented for hope is the ivy and it is a reminder to us that we need to cling to the Lord.  God is good!  He is using the lessons in the meetings to remind me that He truly is near and that we are not alone.  Such comfort, when little else makes sense right now.


Sunday, 22 November 2015

Can A Girl Change Her Mind?!

It was my mum's comment yesterday, "what about your friends how will they know what is going on?"  It got me thinking and made me realise that writing and sharing here no matter how difficult is a way of continuing to look outward.  Who knows maybe someone else going through a similar struggle might feel less alone?

 Our Martinmas lantern, trying to hold onto the inner light x

Friday, 20 November 2015

Saying Goodbye

I haven't been here much this past year and several times I have debated whether to shut down the blog, but a spark has always remained I have managed to keep going, but not anymore.  Dave has had a massive MS relapse and in addition to attempting to provide an education for Benedict, supporting Pip through the daily woes of school and now the school run at either end of the day, providing meals, dealing with housework, working 16 hours a week to keep the Government happy and living with chronic pain, I am now involved in care tasks for Dave.

  We are currently awaiting input from occupational therapy, neuro physio therapists, a brain scan, possible steroid treatment and a referral to another MS specialist for assessment regarding disease modifying drugs. I struggle through most days and no longer want the added burden of sharing our life on line.

Thank you the stalwarts who have faithfully encouraged us from afar over the years, some of you have even become friends :-)  I will pop by and visit you when I can!

This blog will be left up in cyber space for a week and then I will set it to private.  I am hoping to have the content here transferred to "blurb" or something similar so that Benedict and Pip have a record of part of their childhood.

God Bless

San xx