social spark Aisling Beatha: 2017


Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy your stay, however short, and find something that interests and blesses you.

The tabs just below will take you to posts of particular topics. So if you are looking for my posts on food, fitness or creativity, you will find them there. You will also find my posts on thankfulness or other more contemplative posts, as well as a set of posts with traditional blessings from a number of different cultures.

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Sunday, December 24, 2017

50 Things To Do Before I Turn 50

Over the last couple of weeks I've begun to look forward to next year.  I realised that on my next birthday there will be 3 years until my 50th Birthday.  So I started writing a 50 things to do before I turn 50, list.  I know that some of the items will not make sense at first reading to my American friends, so I will be including links wherever possible.  If I've missed one that you don't understand, please ask.

These aren't ultimate bucket list items because I know our budget over those 3 years isn't going to be as expansive as I might like, so I'm not putting the big international trips and really expensive experiences on there, unless they involve staying with friends and therefore only needing to find the funds for the actual journey.

  1. Lose 10 lbs
    No explanation needed, except to say that since the start of the summer I have already lost 4 st 8 lbs, which is 64 lbs or 29kg.  Doing well so far, but this week I began taking some medication that will definitely slow that down and make it more difficult and am already seeing the effects of that.
  2. Lose 20 lbs
  3. Lose 30 lbs
  4. Lose 40 lbs
  5. Lose 50 lbs
  6. Reach Goal Weight (which is another few lbs beyond the 50lb mark)
    My eventual goal weight is to reach the top of a healthy weight range or my height, by all the usual charts. That means losing another 4 st 2 lbs, or 58l bs, 26.3kg. I might decide to stop before I get there, but we'll see.
  7. Discover how to move through the world as a woman of healthy weight.  Seriously, I’ve never done that as an adult.
  8. Hand back CPAP machine because I don’t need it anymore. (I can dream can’t I?)
    I have Sleep Apnoea, (sleep apnea for Americans) and use a CPAP machine at night in order to function as a human being during the day. 

    I had a particularly severe case in that my results in my sleep study were double what they would be in order to class someone as "severe". Every CPAP clinic appointment comes with a request for me to lose weight and the questions about what I am doing towards that goal. To be able to hand that machine back would be an incredible achievement, which may never happen, even if I lose all the weight, but like I said, I can dream, can't I?

  9. Have a professional photo session with hair and makeover
    If I reach goal weight, I will have lost over 8 1/2 stone, which is 119 lbs or 54kg, I think that will deserve a full on makeover and photo shoot.
  10. Move eldest son into a permanent home of his own
    He's currently working as a kind of intern with a Christian performing arts ministry and still has a room here at home.  It would be a big deal for him to move on from there and into a home of his own.
  11. Visit Keil Hill in Scotland

    Family will understand why.

  12. Visit Paris
    Well, duh! And for the record hubby, no, Euro Disney does NOT count, although that would be cool to do AS WELL.

  13. See Dana again (either me there, or her here)
    Dana is the friend I stayed with when I travelled to America some years ago.
  14. See the Northern Lights (or should this be a bucket list item?)
    At certain times of the year and in the right weather conditions it is possible to see the Northern Lights from Scotland or even Northern England, so it doesn't necessarily have to be a bucket list item.
  15. Watch a Meteor shower

  16. Fly Business class somewhere
    Again, cuz Duh! And because hubby got to fly business when he was upgraded while flying for work.
  17. Stay in a really unusual hotel or other holiday accommodation
    There are all sorts of incredible places to stay, even in the UK.  Check out a few of these:
  18. Visit a waterfall
    I already have a recommendation of a really awesome waterfall that would be easy to visit from home on a day trip I reckon.
    Pistyll Rhaeadr Falls - The tallest waterfall in Wales

  19. Eat fish and Chips on the sea front and don’t worry about the weight watchers points

  20. Walk the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge

  21. Visit all 15 UK National Parks

  22. Attend a grown up music festival
    Unless I do manage to hand back my CPAP machine camping is currently out of the question so it will be a day visit rather than a stay, and I'm thinking about something like Bearded Theory, or Moseley Jazz.

  23. Learn some basic BSL – at least enough to be able to say something like “I only understand a little, but can I help?”

  24. Plan and enact 25th Wedding anniversary celebration (it falls within the 3 years)

  25. Get a small tattoo  
    I'm thinking about getting some custom temporary tattoos in slightly different sizes of the design I'm thinking of to try it out and figure out what size works.

  26. Go Horse Riding  
    I've avoided this up until now because to ride at the weight I was, would have meant riding a huge carthorse or shire horse.  Even losing as much weight as I have would make the ride much more feasible and less scary, but at goal it will be awesome.

  27. Walk/Run a 5k 
    Maybe I'll start with parkrun and doing the race for life.

  28. Walk/Run a 10k
    I'll be honest that while the 5k seems do-able to me the 10k seems much more difficult.

  29. Move House  

  30. Get a Dog (rescue)We always had dogs growing up and since I left home I've not had one, it's something we definitely want to get back into. 

  31. Complete every lesson in a year long online art class. (By “complete” I mean at least engage with the lesson in some way and make an attempt to do something with it)
    I'm going to be doing Lifebook again in 2018, so maybe this year will be the year, although to do every single activity offered means 84 activities or something like that.  No falling behind with this one or I'll never catch back up.
    I was lucky enough to win one of the spots in class on the launch giveaways.

  32. Sell a piece of art work  

  33. Create and Maintain a weekly letter writing practise
    I'm thinking about treating myself to The Letter Writers Complete Resource from The Postman's Knock to get myself started.

  34. Read 50 books (see separate list eventually)I've started thinking about this.  Should I just keep track and get the number up to 50, or should I start out with a list and if so should there be categories and so on? Any suggestions dear readers? 

  35. Take an IRL cooking class  
    To do this close to home would mean doing the classes that Mukasse Afro Caribbean foods sometimes put on or going to one of the classes at Brompton cookery school.  Although my dream would be to do one of the bread courses at River Cottage.

  36. Bake a rainbow unicorn cake  

  37. Eat something you think you won’t like  
    I might surprise myself.

  38. Celebrate one of my birthdays with a day of RAK events (Random Acts of Kindness)  

  39. Spend a whole weekend technology free – (still need to remain contactable in emergencies, BUT, no phone, no computer, no internet, no TV, etc)  

  40. Wild Swim? I'm not sure I'm as brave as my friends Kate Hatton or Sue Austin but Sue has promised to meet me at a local lake this summer when the weather is right to take me for a wild swim.

  41. Picnic under the stars

  42. Walk a Labyrinth 

  43. Learn to identify some of the trees we see on our walks, other than the very basics that most people know.
    There might be a course or walk that I can do with The Shropshire Wildlife Trust.

  44. Watch a sunrise from the top of a hill. 

  45. Join (or start up) a Stitch & Bitch or a Knit & Natter group.

  46. Make more crafty gifts. 
    A conversation from last year and something that happened this week made me realise that you never know the impact those gits have, especially when they are made and chosen with care and intention.

  47. Go whale/dolphin watching (preferably off the coast of Wales).

  48. Attend a live sporting event.

  49. Attend a ball or other formal event in a kick ass gown even if I have to sew it myself.  

    Although there is no way my sewing skills are up to a dress like that!

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Raspberry White Chocolate Baked Oatmeal - 5SP

A couple of people on Weight watcher connect have asked for this recipe after I shared a photo the other day.  Here you go  - Raspberry and White Chocolate Baked Oatmeal at 5 points per portion.
(That larger piece in the bowl is 1 portion, I had an extra spoonful as well in this photo).

4 portions at 5 SP each by my calculations (I recommend you enter recipes into the recipe calculator in case the particular ingredients you are using are different to mine)

80g Jumbo Oats
80g Raspberries
14g White Chocolate (I use chocolate chips, but you can use chopped up bar if you need to)
1 tsp, level Vanilla Extract
1 tsp, level Baking powder
200g Fat Free Natural Yogurt
1 1⁄2 tbsp Artificial sweetener (an extra 1/2 tbsp would probably be better)
2 medium, Egg
Frylight Spray Oil

Preheat oven to 190c/375f . (Lower temp a bit if using fan oven)
Grease a oven proof dish with spray oil.

Add to a bowl - the oats, sweetener, baking powder, yoghurt, vanilla and egg and whisk to combine Pour in the oven proof dish greased with spray oil.

Pop into the top of the mixture the fresh raspberries and white chocolate chips Bake in the oven for 40 mins till set and lightly golden. Serve and enjoy!!

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Friday, September 15, 2017

I Bet You Didn't Know That I ...

TODAY’S NUDGE: Share something that isn’t widely known about you.

Looking back to some of the things that happened when I was growing up it's fairly amazing that I am still here in some respects.

I am not going to attempt to get these into the right order, my memories aren't that good.

  • When I was very little one of my great uncle's had a canal boat.  I don't know how often we went there, but I do know about one particular visit.  Apparently there was a little rowing boat that was sometimes used while the canal boat stayed moored.  From what I understand, there were 3 of us on the boat.  One of my great uncles, my dad and me, oh and one of the dogs. I FELL IN THE CANAL. One of the two adults on the boat yelled "She's fallen in" and in that first split second the other one thought they meant the dog.

    I don't remember any of it but I think I remember afterwards being wrapped up in someone's jumper because I had no dry clothes there, my mom had no idea I would need them.

  • At some point in my childhood I discovered that childproof medication bottles were not childproof.  I have no idea what the medication was or how many I swallowed but it resulted in me ending up in hospital having my stomach pumped.  Again, I was very young and remember little about it.  I do know that someone bought me a gift of a nurses outfit after it was all over.
  • A few years later we went on a visit to Blackpool Pleasure Beach (A big permanent fun fair). One of the rides was a roundabout with cars and motorbikes and so on.  I was sitting on one of them, waiting for the ride to start and decided I wanted to be on a different one.  I got off and started to move to the other one but it was too late, the ride had started.  The ride operator stopped it immediately but not before I had got a huge nasty graze across my back as I had fallen over and one of the bikes had hit my back in some way.
  • When we went on holiday (vacation) to Romania, we had an emergency landing on the flight home, on the wrong side of the iron curtain so the airport was complete with soldiers with guns saying "you will go here, you will sit there, you will eat cake".  To us kids it was all a bit more adventure, but I remember one of the women there being in tears because "I don't like cake".  I think it was just the last straw in what was already a very stressful day.

There were other incidents too but I'll leave you with those.
If you are someone I know, how many of those were you aware of?
If not, what stories do you have that you pull out when you need to say "I better you never knew this about me"?

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Your Story in 50 Words - or - Who I Am

Have you ever seen this before? God's story in 50 words.

God made.
Adam bit.
Noah arked.
Abraham split.
Joseph ruled.
Jacob fooled.
Bush talked.
Moses balked.
Pharaoh plagued.
People walked.
Sea divided.
Tablets guided.
Promise landed.
Saul freaked.
David peeked.
Prophets warned.
Jesus born.
God walked.
Love talked.
Anger crucified.
Hope died.
Love rose.
Spirit flamed.
Word spread.
God remained.

I've seen this around for years and cannot find a record of the original author, so if anyone knows for sure where it originated, please let me know.

I was reminded of it recently and got to thinking what my 50 words would be. Or yours? My 50 words could be

I am :
the baby who survived after multiple miscarriages.
the toddler who nearly drowned in the canal.
the child who discovered what happens when childproof bottles aren't.
the awkward kid who never who never really found herself.
the ' good girl ' who found a guy, had a baby, THEN got married.

And that could be the end of my story, only it isn't.
And there begins another 50 words

I am:
blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed and forgiven.
loved with an everlasting love.
I am:
one who struggles to live in that grace.
one who dances.
one who writes.
one who STILL stands.
one who hangs on by her fingertips when everything around her yells "let go".
I am.

If you had to fit your story into 50 words or less, what would it say?

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Mixed Media Art Video

I'm still taking part in the Blog Along with Effy Wild. TODAY’S NUDGE: Give something away. A printable, a mini class, a tutorial you did on YouTube, or sound advice about something your readership might benefit from.

I did think about doing a giveaway of something physical but since most of the people who read my blog are based on the other side of the Atlantic, postage could get expensive.  So, instead I decided to share a video of a mixed media art page I did a few years ago, pulling together inspiration from a couple of different pages I had seen online.

Please excuse the quality of the video, it was my older camera, and not brilliant.

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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Forgotten Dreams

Today’s Nudge: Write about a dream you once had that you let go of, and where that led you.

Growing up I went through all the "chosen careers" that little girls often go through, but ended up settling on teaching, on teaching at primary level.  (For any American readers who are confused by English education terms in this post, please check out my other post where I explain it all.)

That didn't go so well.  My dad did not like the idea at all.  I remember phrases like "no daughter of mine is becoming a teacher" and "Well if you must teach then you have to teach at a secondary school, because primary teachers aren't worth anything, they don't teach anything that's got any point to it."

Looking back I see those statements through a lens of how hard he had fought to get to where he was in life and not wanting us to settle for anything less than what he thought was the best, but at the time I was heartbroken, and I spent months crying myself to sleep because there had been another argument about it.  I tried explaining that primary teachers are the most essential part of the process because they teach kids how to learn the school way, they teach kids all the basics they need in order to learn the stuff that he thought was worthy.  It didn't make any difference.

I didn't give in though and eventually got signed up for a teacher training degree, with his reluctant blessing.  That, however, did not go according to plan, I don't think I was ready for university on one level and then I got pregnant part way through my second year.  There was no onsite nursery at my college and I just did not feel I had it in me to be a mom to the best of my ability and to be a student to the best of my ability.  I could do one or the other.  So I left teacher training college to be a mom.

I walked away from the thing I had fought so hard to be allowed to do and I never regretted it not for one moment, I was happy being a mom.  But it was always there, in the background, this thing I had not got to do.  I did various things over the years that I see now were connected with this passion, this drive, to teach, to be involved in kids education in some way.

  • I was treasurer of the preschool playgroup my son went to, 
  • I was chair of the committee on the scout group my boys were in (and my husband was a scout leader at), 
  • I took a home study course in Montessori education.
  • I started to take a turn on the rota in the creche (under 5's) at church, 
  • eventually moving up to take responsibility for overseeing that group
  • Then I was asked to move up to the 5 - 11s 
  • and at one point was responsible for all our kids work, birth up to 11
  • I got involved in a charity that needed volunteers to take school assembly talks on how children could get involved in their project
  • I started offering "broadly Christian" assemblies to the schools that had taken the charity assemblies (There is a legal requirement for UK school to hold a "Broadly Christian" act of worship daily, the extent to which and the ways in which schools fulfil that requirement differs greatly but for now the requirement is still there) and worked my way up to 6 different schools
  • At the request of one of the head teachers I brought together a team of people to do Open the Book bible story assemblies in his school
  • That extended to a second school
  • I then became a school governor in one of the schools

It was at this time that a job came up at a local primary school.  I looked at the job description a number of times and didn't apply. I figured I just wasn't good enough to get it so why bother applying.  Then a friend who had also considered applying told me I really should apply because I would be perfect for it, so I did.  It was for someone to work for the Methodist church in the school because the school is a church school joint between Church of England and Methodist but the Methodist congregation in that part of town had closed down due to dwindling numbers.  (for American readers, this is a still a state school).

I got that job, it's only 7 hours per week, but 24 years after I last walked out of a teacher training classroom, I stood in front of a room of 30 children and I taught a Religious Education lesson.  Strictly speaking my role in RE is only "support" but the first teacher I was assigned to handed me the curriculum and said "there you go, do what you want to with it" so I took the challenge and I taught.  24 years.  I got my dream.  24 years in which there were many years I did not even think about it. 

I do other things in school as well as teach RE, I do assemblies, I set up prayer spaces, I run after school clubs, I lead "moving on" sessions with the year 6 pupils getting ready for secondary school, but it is the teaching that gives me the biggest feeling of satisfaction.  I'm living my dream.  It doesn't look like I thought it would look, but it is still my dream.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

The Woman Who Bled

Today in the Blog Hop I am sharing a story that I wrote a few weeks ago.  It is a story where after reading (or in this case listening to) a bible story, I imagined what it would have been like to have been there.  Where would I have been, what would I have seen, and heard? What are the details that would have got missed out when the story of that event was written down?

I was on the edge of the crowd somewhere and I wasn’t looking at Jesus.  I was watching HER.  I didn’t KNOW her, not to speak to but I knew who she was.  We all did.  We knew not to touch her if we passed in the street and I had watched her when she was shopping in the market.  She always waited for the stall holder to place her items down and completely remove their hands before she picked them up so that they would never be touching an item at the same time. I knew that a lot of the stall holders wouldn’t serve her at all, wouldn’t answer her questions, wouldn’t even make eye contact or acknowledge she was there.

It was as if they wanted her to be invisible, or maybe it was the concept of her blood they wanted to be invisible, for to deny the idea of a woman’s blood is to deny her power in part.  To refuse to acknowledge one is to never allow the other to be mentioned.

I watched her move through the crowd, slowly, silently, almost invisibly.  She was touching people, I mean she MUST HAVE been, there was no way to get through that crowd without doing so, but no one noticed.  They were all so focused on Jesus and what they wanted, what they expected from him that they didn’t even see this woman who really needed him.

There were moments when she disappeared in the mass of bodies, but then I would catch sight of her again.  Sometimes she had her back to me, or the side of her head, but there were moments when I had a clear view of her face.  I was expecting to see fear, or desperation, but what I had not expected to see was such a fierce determination.

She continued to move through the crowd, and I was so intent on watching her, so fascinated by her journey through the crowd that I almost forgot that Jesus was there.  That was until she got right up to him and then she ducked down and I lost sight of her altogether.

I was desperately searching for her with my eyes when I heard Jesus speak, clearly, above all the noise and clamour around him.
“Stop!  No, really, STOP, who touched me? Who was it?  I need to know.”
His friends looked at each other, then at the crowd.  They looked at Jesus and then back at each other, I could tell that none of them wanted to be the first to speak, but finally one of them did,
“errrr, have you seen this crowd? They’re ALL pushing and shoving.  Look, we’re not bodyguards, we can’t stop them.”
“No” Jesus said “That’s not what I mean.  Someone touched me, I felt power go out from me.”

That’s when I spotted HER again, I think I realised what had happened at almost the same moment she did.  She looked around herself and then right at me, I was sure of it.  Did she know I’d been watching her?  Was that a smile creeping across her face?  I don’t think I had ever seen her smile before, but then I noticed she was trembling too.

She rose slightly from where she was crouching, she cleared her throat and whispered
“It was me” but no one paid her any attention.  Was she still invisible to them?
Louder now she said, “Me, I touched him.”

Jesus turned to face her, she fell at his feet, her whole body shaking now.  He held out his hand and the crowd went quiet.  They waited to see what he would do next, they KNEW who she was, they knew to avoid her, why didn’t he know, was someone going to tell him?  Then she took his hand and there was an audible gasp.  Jesus smiled as she took his hand, he drew her towards him and she stood up, in front of him, in front of all of THEM.  Finally, they SAW her, finally she was acknowledged.

“Daughter” Jesus said “It’s OK, don’t be afraid, I know what you have been through, I know how you have been forced to live separated from even those you love.  You can go in peace now, your faith has healed you, you are freed from your suffering, both that which came with your condition and that which was put upon you by others.”

Where do you think you would have been had you been there?
Have you ever imagined yourself into a well known story, whether from a faith background, or a historical one?

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

What Brings Me Joy

There are 3 photos that I keep on the desktop of my computer and all 3 of them bring me joy for different reasons.  The first one is the most recent.  A good friend of mine (Hi Rachel) has a farm and recently had to hand rear one of the lambs.  I was lucky enough to make a visit during that time and I got to bottle feed that beauty up there.  Not a tiny little lamb any more, that gorgeous cutie, was as big as the dog and strong, really strong and the bottle was gone in seconds!  I didn't even have time to get a photo of the actual feeding.

My friend also gives me joy but because her home is difficult to get to by bus I don't get to see her very often.

The second photo is from a trip I made to Belarus with Operation Christmas Child.  The lady on the left is one of the Babushka ladies, in a village we visited.  This was in a village not far from the border with Ukraine, so fairly close to the Chernobyl dead zone.  It was really cold when we were there, snow at least 2 foot deep.  

Obviously most of the shoeboxes were being delivered to children in homes, schools, children's homes, churches etc, but a very small number of boxes had been packed specially for the elderly men and women of these villages.  We delivered just 2 of them while we were there.  I went with Denise (also in the photo) to one house and two other members of the team went to another house.  

This Babushka lady was 84 years old, lived on her own in a house with only cold running water and an outside toilet in a country which has snow on the ground at least 4 months out of the year. Her only heating was via a small wood fire in the living room and an even smaller one in the bedroom.  She chopped all her own wood for the fire and grew all her own vegetables.  Remember how close to the Dead Zone this is and you wonder whether that was a good idea but she seemed so healthy and so strong for her age.  And she smiled the whole time we were there.  This was truly one of the highlights of that trip for me.   

Finally the year I got gunged at the church holiday club (VBS).  It wasn't exactly a PLEASANT experience, oh that stuff was so cold and slimy as it ran down the back of my neck inside my T-shirt, but it was the culmination of a week where we had taken something that the kids loved, Dr Who and used that to teach the children about God as well as having lots of fun during the week.  

That's my son over on the left in the stripy shirt, his team had lost the points competition and he was supposed to be gunged (all a set up for what came next of course) but I stepped in at the last moment and took the gunge for him.  The kids loved it and it still comes up in conversation sometimes.

These 3 photos bring me joy because they bring back vivid memories of those events.  There are loads of other things that bring me joy too, but these are the ones I wanted to share with you today.  What brings you joy?  What makes you smile?  What makes you feel like flinging glitter all over the place?

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Saturday, September 09, 2017

Purse Dump

*A Purse Dump is a list form blog that lets you just get all the crap that’s in your head out on the page. I tend not to edit mine, because I’m the queen of oversharing, but you can edit yours if you like.
Which brings us to today’s nudge: Dump Your Mental & Emotional Purse all over the table that is your blog. Don’t sort it. Don’t apologize for any of it. Just take an inventory, in list form, and let the old tissues & twenty year old mints fall where they may. (images are not my bags, credits are below)

  • Youngest is going back to uni in 7 days with 2 Chronic conditions, YIKES

  • He's doing what he loves and I love that for him but I still worry

  • I wish he wasn't so far away when he needs extra support

  • I do worry about his health and how that could change in the future.  I worry about him coping with that this year and later when he starts to work instead of study and how much support he will need from us long term, even after this year is done.

  • I swam 35 lengths of the pool in 33 minutes this morning which is the furthest, fastest and longest I have swum since I started back to swimming in November last year.

  • I'm on weight watchers and watching candy making videos on youtube. Go figure!

  • Hubby got offered technical lead on a project that would have meant weeks in Germany, but he said no because he knows it could end up being months instead of weeks.  I do miss him when he is away BUT I get to use our car when he is away, and I admit that I DO like that.

  • Eldest son is working on what you could call an Internship with a Christian ministry.  He's "living by faith" because that's what that place does and he needs the experience for his CV (resume) going forward.  No one should get me started on how angry I am with that place that they expect these young people to do work for virtually nothing and yet think they can justify that with spiritual guilt trips.

  • Because youngest cannot afford to wait and earn the money for his masters degree and do that later in case his conditions get worse, we are supporting him financially as well as emotionally.  That means every penny of MY income from my part time job will be going to him for the next 12 months (and the last 3 months too, that's waiting for him).

  • That means no money for art supplies unless I manage to sell some of my work or pick up a bit from ads on my blog or youtube.

  • Looking forward to getting creative with the supplies I do have!

1st image -  “Purse” by m01229 is licensed under CC BY 2.0
2nd image - “purse contents” by TheChanel is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Friday, September 08, 2017

Where I Come From

TODAY’S NUDGE: Write about your hometown, your roots, or where you come from.

I'm from a self made man, born as the 2nd world war came to a close.

I'm from a man who worked his way up, from a woman who did the same, pushing hard each and every day until one day they were able to buy their own business.
I'm from a 1970s newsagents. We lived above and behind the shop with no more than a tiny yard with a loose brick incinerator in the corner, and the alleyways and streets to play in.

I'm from 1970s fashion, even when I was just learning to walk.  (Check out my mom's outfit)

I'm from parents who decided they didn't want his children to live the way they had and moved the family all the way across the city to a beautiful, green suburb with a chocolate factory at its heart, while still getting up at 4am every day to drive over to the newsagents shop to open up.

I'm from going to school opposite the chocolate factory, being able to smell the chocolate from the playground if the wind was in the right direction.  I'm from old school buildings with tall ceilings and a classroom in the bell tower.  I'm from a time when parents were not allowed inside the school gate unless they had an appointment with a member of staff.

I'm from Silver Jubileee street parties and fancy dress competitions.

I'm from tennis, and golf and sailing, and squash, but mainly tennis, lots and lots of tennis.

I still have one of the trophies they won, even though both my parents have passed away now.  I'm from sporty parents but I have never been a sporty person, and I spent many hours at the tennis club sat under a tree daydreaming or reading.  Yet this trophy, now that I have cleaned it up takes pride of place on my sideboard.

I'm from Girl Guides, and Scouting and Volunteering, they were all a part of my growing up, my parents were always aware that there was need outside of us.  I'm from following in my father's footsteps, becoming the chair person of the scout group my children were in just as my dad had been for the scout and guide group I had been in.

I'm from a man who looked so like his dad it was crazy.

I'm from falling in love and falling pregnant, aged just 19 and having to leave a teacher training course at university to care for my son.  I'm from not regretting a moment of that and understanding that God doesn't let anything be worthless, as 24 years later I got to stand in a classroom and teach a bunch of kids, in my new job in a school.

I'm from being mom to a second son who had surgery aged 8 months old after multiple infections in those early months.  I'm from being mom to that same son, who now has 2 chronic digestive conditions and battles through it all, having completed his degree and is now off to do a Masters Degree on top of that!

Where, what and who are you from?

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