Monday, 29 July 2013

An update...

Well I thought it only fair after going on and on about my house viewing to share what happened, only I’m staring at a blank page and wondering where to start.

Yes they were very keen however as with anything connected with this grand and imposing house it’s not quite so straightforward.

The interested party is a charity and they are at the beginning of their search. The two trustees I met on Saturday will have to take away their thoughts and ideas and work together with others from their group looking at the feasibility of the project, funding etc.

As ever in my own mind I’d skipped a few chapters of the story and was almost planning packing up and moving out. I was certainly getting excited about the prospect of NOT having to sweep up the leaves this autumn.

Apparently my mum actually told my brother I’d sold my house! So maybe that is where I get my over-enthusiastic nature from.

Now I thought the delay would send my mood tumbling, I’ve been very up and down recently, but I’d read this verse in the Bible on Saturday morning…

“But oh my soul don’t be discouraged. Don’t be upset. Expect God to act! For I know that I shall again have plenty of reason to praise him for all he will do. He is my help! He is my God!”
Psalm 42 verse 11 (Living Bible)

No other version says it quite the same way. I particularly like the phrase “expect God to act!” and the certainty the psalmist has that God will do good things in the future, there will be cause for celebration.  

These words went deep into my soul and I know without a shadow of a doubt that God is working things out – I just have to be reminded occasionally, often, very often, OK - all the time. (I thank God for my best friend who is extremely patient with me – you know who you are! xx)

The truth is there is no urgency for us to move NOW, this viewing was an unexpected bonus and time will tell what comes of it.

In the meantime I can relax, enjoy my kitchen, take a sense of pride from my mostly tidy house and revel in the summer holidays and all they have to offer.

Maybe I could also do some writing while I’m waiting? Now there’s an idea!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Maybe I’m just like everyone else…

After Wednesday’s rant about iTunes I decided to just give up with any notion of keeping the songs I’d already downloaded and instead START AGAIN from scratch! You’d think I would have learned by now that NOTHING lasts FOREVER!

However what I really wanted to write about today was my three wishes - new house, new relationship and writing career. 

You see I’ve always thought perhaps these dreams are a trifle indulgent and maybe I was being greedy for wanting such things when I’ve already been so blessed. After all I have a roof over my head, I have two beautiful boys and Andrew has left us well provided for. 

Then I read an article about a new phenomenon the Quarter Life Crisis, forget the Midlife Crisis twenty-something’s are facing their own meltdown when they leave university and find their “dream job” doesn’t exist, they have little hope of making it onto even the first rung of the housing ladder and as for finding that one special person to spend the rest of your life with… 

I think I’m glad I’m in my forties and just a little bit more settled!

But it struck me that the desires for a good career, a house and a relationship are actually pretty universal.

Everyone wants an answer to these fundamental questions.

                Where am I going to live?

                What am I going to do with my life?

                Who am I going to spend my life with?

Once upon a time I had these questions all figured out, I was a wife and mother, we’d been married for over 16 years and we lived in a fantastic family home. I’m not saying life was perfect but I had the basic questions answered.

When Andrew died it threw everything into turmoil and suddenly my answers were a bit more like multiple choice. For the next few years I still have the children to consider but long term I suddenly have completely different options open to me that were never around before.

As soon as all of these questions are up in the air, floating around unanswered is it any wonder we start to panic and get a little stressed? 
Anyway the whole thing made me realise I’m pretty normal after all and somehow that’s taken the pressure off. 

Also writing on Wednesday about BIG stuff verses small stuff helped get my thoughts in order – I’m still not sure if this make any sense to anyone else but I’m just throwing it out there and maybe it will resonate. 

So my personal answer, for this week at least, is that I’m not going to worry about the BIG stuff.
As a Christian my life is not built on such shaky foundations as the answers to these questions. I have handed that all over to God and that works for me because his word says he has a plan for my life and I’ve learnt I can trust him, even if his timing never quite matches up with mine! 

Somewhere out there is a man and a house with my name on – well that thought makes me giggle if nothing else and when you’re laughing everything always seems so much better.

As for the writing, I’m sure if I work hard enough, get my ideas straight and push a bit harder on a few doors I can make writing my “career”.  

I doubt I’ll ever make much money from it, unless I change my name to Robert Galbraith perhaps, but that’s OK.

I survived the dilemmas of my twenties, I’ve been there clutching a degree certificate in my hand wondering what happens next. I’ve had countless sleepless nights wondering if I will ever get married, have children, be happy etc.

So does the Quarter Life Crisis exist?  

Actually I think quite simply it’s just LIFE. Each decade that comes along brings its own worries.  So those of you only in your twenties had better get used to it – hopefully you still have a long, long way to go!

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

BIG stuff verses small stuff

I’ve calmed down a bit now but an hour ago I was in tears, ranting and raving. 
All I wanted to do was update my iPod. It’s been over a year since I last did it, and the collection of CDs not available to listen to on my iPod is growing steadily.

I stopped using iTunes when the family computer packed in knowing I would have to download it all again onto another machine, the thought of maybe having to start from scratch with all my CDs seemed like too much hassle.

But then I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with iTunes, every few months a new version comes out and you have to re-learn how it works and in these days when everything is instant it always seems to take forever to do the simplest task.

Well today I downloaded the new updated version onto my laptop and even managed to get a CD into the system but I can’t figure out how to upload to my iPod without losing every other song I’ve ever added.

Sometimes I think I’ll just wait until I get a new Apple device and I’ll start over again and everything will be right with the world!

However iTunes is not really the problem.

The real issue is everything seems out of my control. I am waiting for my viewing on Saturday and tinkering with all the little problems round the edges, dealing with the cluttered corners and cupboards that bring a quick fix satisfaction. While still avoiding filing the paperwork and the huge mess left in the dining room after the kitchen re-fit.

I’ve written lots of flash fiction this week too – a pure distraction but it’s taken me away from writing about grief and working on my Unravelling-Edges manuscript – didn’t I once say I wanted a first draft written by the summer holidays?

Once again I can’t cope with the BIG stuff. Yet my stomach is churning because the BIG stuff is going on all around me.

I may have to make some pretty dramatic decisions in the coming months, perhaps weeks, possibly even days! And that scares me because I am on my own.

Friends and family are great, I don't know where I would be without them but I really want someone special in my life again, someone to work together with and make decisions as a family that affect the pair of us and the boys.

Two years ago I wrote this - “My Life in A Day”  Even back then my thoughts revolved round three BIG hopes for the future, new house, some kind of writing career and finding someone new to share my life with. Andrew hadn’t even been dead a year – such shocking behaviour! 

Sometimes I feel like a stuck record – what will there be left to write about once all my dreams have come true?

Then a year ago I gave up on all my wishes until I was unexpectedly rescued by Dark Knight – will I ever know his true identity?

So I sit here thoughts going round in circles, like the fly currently buzzing round my head. I’m babbling a load of nonsense in favour of switching off the laptop and doing something more constructive instead…

But in between thinking about this post, writing it and being in a strop I took some lunch to oldest son. He’s helping out at the local tennis club with the under 8s. 

“Hello!” called one little boy as I walked through the gate. 

“Hello!” I replied.

“You do assemblies at our school!”

“Yes I do.” I said with a smile.

That little conversation made my day, just the recognition and joy on the boy's face.

Some things may never seem to change, some things may be too BIG for me to understand but life has moved on this year and that little act of going into school each week and telling Bible stories has made an impact on the children and on me too.

Perhaps concentrating on the small stuff is OK after all.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

#VisDare 29 - Pensive

When I saw this week’s #Visdare picture my immediate thought was “Rosa”, a character I conjured up at the beginning of the year, a story that I’ve written in bits and pieces but I have no idea where it’s going.

You can read the original stories here:-

and now it is time for a new tale… a version of events from the perspective of the child “heroically” rescued from the fire… 

You never even looked in my direction did you? You didn’t see my face watching at the window?

The kerfuffle had woken me, I was scared and frightened. You did know he locked me in the caravan every night? I couldn’t escape so easily. All that held you back was a curtain and your own fear.

I banged on the glass desperately wanting to go with you, to be free.

Did you think I’d be a burden? That I’d slow you down on your travels?

I saw the bag you always carried tucked under your arm, where I should have been. I watched you every day, that bag never left your side. Did you think he didn’t see it too?

He wasn’t bothered that you’d left; I had a string of other “mothers” to look after me.

But I woke every night crying, my dreams always filled with your singing.

(150 words)

 I know it doesn't totally fit the picture but in my mind I saw a woman sat on the back of a cart, not looking back, a woman holding a bag tightly by her side. A woman with the weight of the world on her shoulders, unsure if she's doing the right thing....

...hopefully I'll find time to re-visit this story again because I really want to know what happens next - #WhenCharactersSurpriseYou!

Monday, 22 July 2013

#MondayMixer "Arabella and the Refulgent Fandangle Incident"

The trouble with writing flash fiction is once you start you get caught up in a whirl of words and other lands your imagination craves more. And it makes for a great distraction when you really should be tidying up!

So when Jeff Hollar (@Klingorengi) challenged me with this week's #MondayMixer I had to at least take a peek at the prompts.

I actually knew what some of them meant for a change which was a great start and including a word like "fandangle" into the mix was inspired, my story could take any direction. As it was I wrote something funny, well at least I hope it makes you smile :-) 

It's a bit crazy but then I have used ALL NINE prompt words, usually a recipe for disaster. At first I fitted them into a story of less than 100 words, what I found hard this week was stretching them out for the required 150.

So sit back and enjoy the tale of...

Arabella and the Refulgent Fandangle Incident!

Arabella stood defiantly, hands on hips.

She explained clearly that there was no way little Freddie was going to beguile her with his refulgent fandangle, however sparkly he claimed it was! He was well known for being heavy handed with the glitter. 

She admitted she had taken matters into her own delicate little hands and given him a wallop around the head with her threadbare comfort blanket. 

She declared that her nursemaid had often forewarned her with ominous portent of young swain like him with his country ways and unbecoming natter.  She was not as craven as she appeared in her frilly white dress.

Arabella, aged 4, was removed from Sunnydale Nursery later that day, in the circumstances it was thought to be for the best.

Freddie, aged 3 and three quarters, was overjoyed to see his mum that afternoon and she was absolutely delighted with his handmade glittering triangle.

Christmas decoration made by one of my boys at nursery a long time ago - our very own "refulgent fandangle"!