Saturday 6 June 2020

A Calm Heart

February 2020 marked the seventh anniversary of my Open Heart Surgery.  In many ways, I am more laid-back about things now than I was before.  I realised that I have to be.  This heart of mine needs to be looked after, and not just physically.  Of course I need to take care of it by exercising (building its strength) and relaxing (reducing its stress), but it needs much more than that.  During this time of world-wide pandemic and social unrest in America, I believe that God is teaching me many life lessons. One of them being; look after your heart spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically as well.  There are many ways of doing this: a relationship with God, reading good books and articles, I am learning the importance of music, developing meaningful friendships etc.  One area where this can be extremely difficult is the area of facebook and social media.

I am a regular facebook-user but have a love-hate relationship with it.  There are days when I rue the day I ever accepted that first friendship invitation and others when I love the community of it.  Over the years there are some "friends", pages etc that I have deleted, those that are not good for the heart or soul.  Some, with whom I have no other connection other than facebook, were easy to delete but others where there is some kind of relationship were more difficult.  I have discovered the unfollow button, which means I can still be "friends" but their posts do not have to appear on what I see.   Still some of what I read, I have come to the conclusion, is not good for my heart/soul health.  I am getting fed-up with the supposed depth of some of it; the post and run as I like to call it.  I get annoyed by what is posted and would love to have great conversations about it.  However, I  know that having a proper relationship with people is essential to real dialogue, and this is not always possible through the forum of facebook (or other social media platforms).    I have been blessed with finding out some great information over the past few weeks about things of great importance (eg, why Black Lives Matters etc) but am still astounded by the triviality of facebook. I am learning that I need to treat facebook as it is: a place where I can connect on one level.  I can find out about your thoughts etc but it must not substitute real friendship.  

I know that taking facebook less seriously will not solve everything but will help maintain and build the calmness of my heart (both ethereal and physical), so that I can work on those friendships that I have outside the world of facebook and other social media.

Friday 29 May 2020

What restraint manual are you using?

On Monday, a tragedy occured on the other side of the world.  In actuality it was a travesty.  A man was arrested in America, Minneapolis to be precise, and by the end of that day he was dead.  This man was black and he died at the hands of the police officers who arrested him.  His life was taken from him because, ... well actually there was no reason why.  It would appear this man died that day because he was black.  He should not have died on Monday 25th May 2020, but he did due to the deliberate actions and complicit inactions of others. 

The police officers said he resisted arrested, except this video appears to show a very different story.  This man was George Floyd; he was a son, a friend, a brother, a human being created in the image of God.  He will be missed greatly and mourned deeply because his life was snatched from him due to the conscious choices of other men .  The police officer decided to take another man's life, despite the protests of people around.  His colleagues, in my opinion, are equally guilty, as they did not do anything to stop their work-mate.

From the evidence which has been broadcast via the Internet, it is murder and, in my opinion, should be tried as such.  (Please note, this video is very disturbing.  Therefore, I have not linked it here.  It can be found by typing George Floyd into any search engine).  On the video you hear the officers tell George to get into the car.  However, that is impossible when you have more than one person holding you down with excessive force.  In no sector could what was witnessed be called reasonable restraint, nowhere is it ever taught to hold a person down with your knee on their neck.  Whatever system of restraint you use, this would be deemed excessive.  Proper legal restraint is used for the safety of the person, and others, in volatile situations in order that things do not escalate into something worse.  That was not happened here.  The officer did not even remove his knee when the paramedics were trying to ascertain if George had a pulse.  Thankfully, the police officers involved have been sacked, but sadly only after protests.  They should now be arrested for the crime which they committed.

And sadly, this is not the only time this year that a black man was killed due to the reckless actions of others.  It is both heartbreaking and digusting to hear about these incidents.   And they are just the tip of the iceberg. 

After another such incident in 2014, someone who knows from first-hand experience that being black can cause unsolicited aggression/arrest wrote and performed the following poem. He puts the fear that black people feel and the solution into words much better than I can.  So I will leave it here, I hope that you will take the five minutes it will take to listen.  It is worth it.

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Silence has broken, maybe.

It would appear that I have not had much to write about for the past six years.  Well not here anyway.  For three of those years I was studying for a degree and had to do a lot of writing.  I read an abundance of different types of literature and had to condense my thoughts into something academic, in order to submit my written assignments.  I must not have done a bad job as I now have a Bsc.  However, I graduated nearly two years ago, and have not written much since.  I have decided to attempt blogging again. I am not sure why.  Although the other day a whole piece of writing came into my head, so maybe that is the reason.  On the other hand, it could have something to do with the fact that I am on medically-advised lockdown. Who really knows?

Life is very different than it was when I first started blogging.  For a start the world is in the middle of a pandemic, and the UK is in lockdown.  It is not just globally that things have changed. My family life looks very different too.  Nowadays I am a mum to two working daughters who are astoundingly different, but at the same time hugely similar.  As they are older teenagers, they probably will not feature much in these posts. 

As a household we still have pets, but the rabbit is a different one and the guinea pigs have come and gone.  However, a major change in this household is the introduction of a dog.  After years of mind-tricks and gentle persuasion, my youngest daughter now has the puppy she longed for most of her life.  I am still holding out against the chickens and mini-animals which she would introduce to the property in a heart beat if I let her.

Over five years ago, after a very long time hunting, we bought a house.  I have enjoyed stepping on the mortgage ladder.  My husband, not so much.  In addition, a further step of adulting was having to buy a new car.  For clarification, we have owned cars for nearly two decades, but always had a friend in the business help us buy them.  Nearly two years ago, our car needed changing and we had to search and buy a new one by ourselves.  Actually my husband did all the work, all I did was transfer money into the correct accounts. 

So, I think I will give this blogging lark a try again.  It may or may not work, as at sometime I will have to come off this medical lockdown and go back to work.  The posts will be written from the worldview of being a Christian and someone who feels like they are sidewards in a parallel world.  Those two things may be connected, but not necessarily.  And even if it all comes to a grinding halt, I have enjoyed writing this post.  So, lets crank up the motor and see what happens.

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Race for Life

I ran this race in 2011.  My running was stopped whilst I waited for Surgery and then as I recovered from it.  Unfortunately, I have not run much this year as I have just fallen out of the habit of training.  Today I have entered into this race which I will walk/jog/run on the 28th May of this year.  I have started training, by that I mean I am going for long walks.  I will do this for a few weeks and then start gently jogging.  I am not sure whether I will run much of this 5k but it is a positive thing for me to take part.  I am taking part with my daughters and one of their friends.  If you want to sponsor us please click on the button to the left of this post.  Thanks.

Monday 24 February 2014

What is my sacred scared?

I came across this blogging series this week.  It was good to read the stories of ladies who are doing things despite or maybe because of their imperfections.  It is a lesson that I am learning a lot recently.  I went to a Conference and had a great talk with someone whilst I was there.  During the course of my conversation I came to realise that a lot of my fears are based on my dread of being lonely or alone.  I am a people person; I love being with people and that energizes me.  However, I have spent a lot of my life struggling with thoughts of not being good enough to be accepted by people which inevitably has led to feelings of loneliness.  And then it has become a vicious circle.  One which I have fought for years to get out of, but that has made it worse and I became more entangled.

How on earth did this happen?  I was brought up in a busy family of four children, been part of a couple since the age of 17 and have been a mum for over 10 years.  But loneliness and the fear of people not liking me has hounded me for years.  It has crippled me from doing things in case I fail and cause people to laugh.

I thank God, for I believe those feelings are going, if not quite gone.  I can trace them to a time when I moved schools, was verbally bullied and made to feel very stupid.  I can also realise that I was never alone, not really anyway.  As a Christian, Jesus was always with me.  He guarded, kept and guided throughout the bleak times then and since.   It was a real release to sit in the Conference with lots of people around me and for that time not need others to affirm my worthiness.  I know that in Christ I am worthy and He has many a work for me to do.

Friday 14 February 2014

Happy Heartaversary

To borrow a phrase left on my facebook status.  A year ago last week I had Open Heart Surgery to replace my leaky aortic valve.  I am doing well; having been discharged from the Surgical team and Cardiologist back in June and July.  I pop to the GP Surgery on a regular basis to get my Warfarin levels checked.  Once a year I will need a blood test to check the state of my kidneys due to the blood pressure tablets I am on.  Apart from that I no longer need any medical intervention.  Yippee.  (Although, I have found out I am more expensive to insure.  :) )

When the weather is better I am going to get training again as I am hoping to run a 5k in May.  If I cannot run it I will certainly walk/jog it.  I have not exercised much since the Autumn as I have been searching for a house to buy with my family.  We think we have found the right one so watch this space.

I have learnt an awful lot since having surgery.  On the day of the surgery I was amazed to wake up and find that I have slept the previous night.  It was wonderful to know that God gave the grace I needed for that day; a lesson that I am trying to put into practice.  I can only take one day at a time; this is coming useful in the house buying game.

I am also learning to try and step back from things which I cannot control.  I need to do the things my skills suit and leave others to do what they are gifted at.  Ultimately, God is in control of all.

I went to a Stress Busters Course; learnt some great things on it and have added them to some of the things I was already doing.  Each day my intention is to write down 3 positives things that happened to me.  I find it really helps put all of life into perspective.  I am planning on writing more things in my quotes book that I kept up in the lead up to Surgery, it has been neglected over the past 6 months or maybe more.  The trouble is I sing a hymn or come across something that is positive or encouraging and then forget to make a note of it.

My Surgery has definitely changed me for the better and I do thank God for His hand upon me all through that time.

Friday 13 September 2013

Modern day miracles.

A funny example of the strange prayers we pray as Christians.  We were on a long journey the other day and my husband needed a comfort break.  He prayed for a lay-by to become available.  We drove past lots of them but they were hidden until we went past.  On the particular road we are on is a famous shopping place, which has an abundance of facilities.  My husband drove past.  And then prayed again for a lay-by.  I was not sympathetic as I felt God had already given him a good answer to that rather flippant prayer.

This is just a silly example of how Christians sometimes pray.  I believe that we must pray (although my prayer life is ropey to say the least) BUT sometimes, we pray and the answer is already staring us in the face. Occasionally, it seems like we use prayer as a magic talisman.

When people are ill I pray for healing and I believe in miracles.  I really do.  However, I have not seen any like the ones Jesus performed in the Bible.  All the miracles I have seen involved modern medicine.  I really believe that God uses it an awful lot to make people better.  I often hear Christians pray, "Lord, bring a miracle.  Heal this person." or "We believe that God can heal this person."  Yes, and so do I so please visit the Doctor, take the medication and go for the tests that are called for.  (I know of Christians who have talked about giving up medicines because they feel like they are lacking trust in God.)  By doing this you are not being a faithless Christian or distrusting the divine healing that can come.  You are using the amazing brain that God gave you.  He may heal you dramatically but then again the answer to your prayers may be more long term.

I thank God for the miracle of modern medicine because many of my family would not be here without it.  I thank God for the answers to prayers which look like Doctors, Nurses, Scientists and other workers in the Medical Field. I will continue to pray for miracles but I will also use the ones that God has already provided; the ones that reside in the GP surgeries or hospital etc etc.