General

Calculated Risks

When thinking about confidence, there is an inner glow that comes with it. My son struggles with confidence but in the graduation from nursery in the summer not only did he go and get his certificate from Sandra who had helped him in the last year, he even had the presence of mind to bow to the audience!

Now that, I feel, is a great deal of confidence because not only did he bow to everyone but people laughed in a kind way as they were clapping him. What he took was a risk, yes, but not a big one. You see, you can take a situation and be prepared to be different or make a difference because you are certain of what the outcome is going to be.

These risks are calculated ones.

Knowing exactly what is going to happen gives you the confidence to go ahead. There are times in life when you take a risk with not much forward planning. And that’s because you have the courage or confidence or whatever you call it to go out of the ways of everyone else in your industry to become a trail blazer and change things around.

Taking bigger risks without knowing precisely what will happen doesn’t come cheap. But sometimes in business, they are inevitable.

You can’t develop yourself and your business without taking calculated risks.

And any business that doesn’t build itself and change itself is not going to maintain custom. There was a Christmas shop Kevin and I visited in 2010 and we went back five years later to see what had changed and the woman was there in the place with a small white Scottie dog. We went around the store, but everything was the same! Nothing had changed…and the lack of clientele told the story immediately. I actually asked the woman why she didn’t have different things and she said that people had liked what she had in the past.

But that was in the past!

She hadn’t moved into the future. People need to see change and things that are different. So take a risk but do it with full confidence that you know exactly what you are doing. Confidence and courage to know that you can make changes and it will be ok.

That’s where we are and what I believe we should do.

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Finding Joy in the Ordinary is a Choice

When we lost Natalie in stillbirth, it was one of the worst times of my life. She was at 35 weeks and I was getting ready for her birth. At the time, I believed I would never be happy or go about finding joy again.

But you know what? One of the midwives said to us that during our grief, we would find occasions where we would laugh and we needed to laugh in those times and find joy in them because that is what Natalie would have wanted. If she had gone to term and been born and lived, we would have easily been able to have joy in the days ahead.

Finding Joy

And even the very first day we came home from the hospital, Kevin and I were looking at photos, and one of the cats took advantage of our concentration and put her head down and started drinking from my husband’s water glass! Both of us remembered what we had been told and just laughed at the cat doing this!

Finding joy in the every day is not always easy, but when you do find something to be joyful about, no matter the circumstances, be joyful. There are always small things to be joyful about.

Over these last years, I have made a conscious effort to be grateful for what we have. And no, it’s not always easy to do so. There are days I don’t WANT to be thankful but I know if I want to find joy in the ordinary, everyday things in life I need to be thankful.

There will be days you don’t want to be full of gratitude for what you have.

You may not even WANT to be thankful or just take things for granted that you have but to find joy in them you need that. Joy is not a feeling that comes along, you have to cultivate it and before you can be joyful about things, you need gratitude.

Make the Choice

Joy should be part of your life, but it’s a choice that you make, not just a feeling you have. And you can be joyful over small or big things. Within your everyday life things are there to be enjoyed but if you don’t make the choice, you won’t enjoy it.

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General

Being Scared while Creating A New Relationship

Have you ever had to create a relationship with someone in the business that you find daunting?

Maybe you are concerned because you don’t know how to prepare for them. Or maybe you are hoping to get some business from them to such a degree and you don’t want to lose this oppertunity. So you over prepare for the meeting in your mind.

I will admit I was more than concerned. And, truthfully, I was scared about meeting my in-laws a few weeks after Kevin and I had met and decided we wanted to be together. What if they didn’t like me and Kevin decided that he wasn’t going to marry me because of them? Kevin had been talking to me about his relationship with his parents. Early on, I realised that they were a really close family.

Maybe you know something about the relationships that your (possible) business has and are worried about muscling in on the group. Or maybe there is someone in the office that you don’t know well, but they have a great relationship with somebody you wish to impress in another team but it scares you to try?

When Kevin and I arrived at the house for Sunday lunch and dinner, Mary (his mother) offered me a cup of tea. I really do appreciate a cup of tea any time of the day. As she was handing it to me, I could see her hands were shaking.

I realised she was just as or even more terrified of me, as I was of her.

As you go to meet a new client and do new work for them, you don’t know if they have had bad experiences before. What if they are now wary of what you are going to do? In fact, for all you know, they could be as wary and scared as well. Even more so than you are. Truth is you never know what they are thinking or planning to do and vice versa.

If you are going into a job and are desperate for things to go well, just remember that they could be nervous as well. You don’t know what has gone on in their minds or lives before you see them.

Take heart, see and recognise that the fear that has held you up is not necessarily justified. The person you are talking to could be as scared as you that something will go wrong. Or that you will not be able to produce the work they need.

You can do this.

Just imagine that the people you are seeing are as scared as you.

Work out how you would put them at ease.

Show them that you are more than capable of doing the work required.
General

Video Games & Teaching Moments

Where do I start with this? Let me go back a bit. Kevin had a video game – Pikmin 2 for the Wii. He played it for quite a few years on and off (well, more off than on). So about a year and a half ago, Johnathan was wanting games that taxed his mind and his analyzing ability. Kevin introduced him to the game as something he could do.

Well, Johnathan got on really well with the game and although he would ask for help, it was infrequent and for something that he simply couldn’t do. He could tell Kevin how to do it, he just didn’t have the skill with the remote or nunchuck. He played it in a very weird way – had the remote stuck in the left-hand side of the screen and left it there while he used the nunchuck.

Anyway, they completed the game and Johnathan was really proud of this – as he should be. It was a massive achievement. He had achieved something I didn’t believe was possible at his young age. Kevin and he would play the short games and occasionally he would go down and complete a cave again.

When Curiosity Gets in the Way

Johnathan is always very curious about how things work. He tends to go and interfere with the options and the settings, just to see what he can do. This could be a blessing, but he doesn’t have the background knowledge to know what to do. Kevin has told him to stay out of them in every game he plays but the other day he decided to go into them, as he does with other games. He basically wiped out the whole completed game on the Wii.

Trouble was he wanted to do it again, which would have been a good thing to do but he was leaving ALL the work to Kevin and not doing any of it. The fact is he did it all in the past and has more than enough knowledge and ability to do it himself. Kevin and I spoke about it together and we decided that he was going to do it again. Kevin was just going to be there for advice and help if he needed it.

Working on it Himself

Johnathan didn’t believe he could do it and was deeply upset at us asking him to. We told him that we knew he could – he had done it a year and a half ago. If he could do it in a bizarre way and complete the game, then he could learn how to do the game in a usual manner. We were well aware of his capability even if he was not.

So he has actually been doing it and succeeding. The game is teaching him skills that will help him in the future. Working things out for himself again is really rewarding. Every bit he is achieving, I am encouraging him that he can do it. Hoping he sees that it is possible for him to succeed.

Yes, Johnathan wiped out the game by accident, but we are using it as a learning and achieving lesson for him. He doesn’t have much confidence in his abilities so I am hoping as we encourage him, we can help him achieve whatever he wants to.

It’s wonderful to see Johnathan’s joy and delight over every bit of the game that he achieves. He knows that he can do these things now and I am hoping this is increasing his confidence. Unfortunately he doesn’t yet understand how to transfer his skills from one area of life to another. He holds them in separate sections in his mind but we are working on him recognising that skills are transferrable from one situation to another.

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Journey to Bringing Johnathan Home

The day after having Johnathan, I was sitting in the bedroom and two social workers came in. They had been to see me a couple of times because they weren’t sure how Kevin and I would handle the baby with the two of us being disabled. They didn’t take into account that we help each other and work to our own strengths.

I was greeted quite formally and told I wasn’t taking my baby home.

“I WHAT NOW? Of course, I will.” was my response.

“No, you won’t. We don’t know if you two will manage and because of your past we don’t know if you will have extra problems so we’re taking your baby.”

Did they know of the hurt and anger and frustration in my voice? I struggled to comprehend what was going on. This was meant to be the happiest time in my life and they were taking MY child.

To that end, I was never allowed to pick Johnathan up or feed or change him unless one of the nurses was with me. They all said I did a fantastic job and there was nothing wrong with my care, but the social workers would not listen.

So my friend (who was also my carer) offered to take Johnathan for me as a kinship carer. You see, we would have been allowed to see the people who were taking him but whether we liked them or not, we would have had no choice of who they were.

Heather & Johnathan

My friend took my son in and looked after him for me. I was another week in the hospital and dreading the day we had to leave him with somebody else. We knew Kevin’s parents weren’t able to look after him so I was and am truly grateful to Heather for her generosity.

We left the hospital and Heather drove us home in our car after we stopped at a restaurant for lunch. The week in hospital had been filled with singing to Johnathan and crying about losing him. We had lost four pregnancies before him and now my past would count against me and my son was being taken from me.

When we got home, Heather sorted everything out for us. I was so grateful! She left me with nothing to do and that was lovely. But the inevitable time came when they had to go. It felt like Heather and Johnathan were taking my heart with them and I was never going to get it back.

That night was one of the worst nights of my life. I wanted to be strong for my husband, but I couldn’t. So, I used the bathroom and then went to our room.

And I laid there on the bed, sobbing.

Kevin came in and pulled me into his arms. I knew it was because of me that they removed our son, not Kevin. I took all the blame on myself.

But you know what? There is no blame for my past.

It was what happened to me – nothing I did. This totally destroyed me mentally and emotionally. I thought I was the one at fault and so became unable to remember how to do simple things – like wash and dress a baby.

Never, ever take the blame for something you didn’t do to yourself. It’s a destructive force. It took me years to break away from that mind-numbing thought. But I AM a good mother. Everyone has told me so – including the social workers in the end. It took me a long time to realize it inside though. I felt like a total failure and believed that I could never do this alone. But there have been times that I can and have had to do it alone. And I did it, even when I have been poorly.

Getting Johnathan Back

We had to live 2 months of the year with Kevin’s parents so that we could firstly have Christmas as a family and secondly to prove that we could look after him. One of the months Kevin had to take off work completely so that he could be assessed to be sure he could do absolutely everything with our child.

And of course he could.

Those two months of my life were a hell I will never forget. My in-laws chose everything. I had never felt comfortable with them and I was sure at the time, they were judging me, although I am sure now they weren’t. There were a number of arguments with Kevin’s Dad and one night he put me in a flood of tears. I didn’t want to stay there. It was horrible because I had to drive them around as well as leave Johnathan with them if I had to collect or drop Kevin to or from work. We were not allowed to be alone with our son. Kevin’s parents were there in case something went wrong. They could stop it.

I never felt happy at their house, but had to stay there.

I didn’t feel comfortable enough to do anything around the house because Mary (Kevin’s Mum) is so particular with things. Smells and fear of Johnathan getting hurt or damaged by whatever I did to or for him was on the top of her mind, but she did allow me to just get on with it. I slept in the living room with Johnathan and Kevin went back to his old, single bed in his bedroom. I was the one who got up and fed and changed Jonathan in the middle of the night and cared for him. But this was something not seen by the social workers assessing us, of course.

Giving Johnathan back to Heather after the Christmas holiday for a few days and then gradually getting him back after having stayed with Frank and Mary and proving that we could look after him felt really odd and wrong.

And not only did we get him back gradually but when we did have him back, people would pop in at odd times to check that I wasn’t left alone with him, EVER. Kevin finally got the social workers to see that this was unnecessary and that was removed.

But it was still a while longer before they believed I was capable too.

Now we have it on record that we are good parents with the social workers. But there is a possibility of it going to back to social work all the time. I remember the time we asked them for more help, they said that the easier thing would be for them to take him away. So we have stopped asking for any help now. We pay carers ourselves and get the help we need.

General

Being Grateful for Myself & Knowing I’m Worth It

I am in a group and the leader of the group asked “when was the last time you named everything you love about life and included yourself?” I sat there, suddenly realising that actually I never have.

And those of you who know me on my personal page know that I try to write in it every day and include something I am grateful for. Wow! And not once have I included myself! Does it mean that I am not grateful for my life and what I have? Not at all.

I am very grateful for my life and the things I have learned. In fact, I am grateful that I have a 5 and 1/2 year old here on earth and 6 in heaven. My life allows me the freedom to work from home and write, and I am grateful.

I am grateful for my life and the fact that I am living now, here, today. I want to live in the moment and be grateful for what I have and the life I live.

So Why Haven’t I Mentioned Being Grateful for Myself?

I think the reason I haven’t mentioned myself was because I had such a low opinion about myself. The inner critic was harsh and loud in its voice or opinion. I was listening to what it said and not focusing on what I had or what I was living with.

My life has transformed dramatically since I moved up to Scotland. I had been looking for what I missed all those years before and thought I wasn’t worth having the best. But I am! My worth is not determined by what I do or don’t do or what I “deserve” because no matter what happens, I DO deserve the best.

I was talking to my counsellor and saying that I had been looking for parent figures to take the place of my own. She asked me what I was actually looking for when I have the love, compassion and understanding of my husband and friends for when I need a female to talk to. And she’s right.

So it’s not that I’m not grateful for my life – I am. And I know now that my worth isn’t determined by what I do but who I am.

I have a blessed life and you do too.

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My Process: How I Write for You

This article is going to answer the question of what my process is when I am working for you. Actually, the most important part of my work is getting the information I need both visually and orally.

What you need to understand is that if the process I have developed is incomplete, there is no way I can complete a job.

First things, first.

The first thing that happens is you request that I do a job for you. Whatever the project may be, my process doesn’t change.

At this point, we discuss what I will be doing and how you want it to look. We might also decide then and there on the length of time it will take, or we can agree on a number of hours I can work on the project. If we go with a time limit, I show you at that point what I have done and I either complete the work, or you decide I have no more time left and take the work that I have done so far. After this is sorted, I require from you is a non-refundable deposit of £40.

Then I need to have an hour video call with you and ask you lots of questions. Now, these questions may seem totally out of place with what you want in the finished piece of work, but what they do is give me the flavour of you and a basis from which I form the finished article.

Letting it Simmer

This next part is where what I think of as the “magic” of the work I do really takes place. Basically, it sits in the back of my mind for a maybe a few hours, days or a week and I may need to ask you further questions to clarify things in my mind at this point.

Finally, I write.

I must admit that generally, writing is the most important part of the process. Because I have processed most of it before I get to this point, it is actually comparatively quick.

I love to write from my heart. Being able to express you and know I have got it right is the greatest reward I can ever have. Personally, it drives me insane when I see simple mistakes in copy that could have been avoided if someone had just taken the time to ensure that it was right.

I will offer a one time rewrite. Then if you require more than one, it will be charged at the usual rate. However, I have discovered that if I am given the information I require and have that visual hour online with you, I can write the copy. I have never had anything come back to me as being incorrect if every part of my process is followed correctly.

If you have any other questions to ask me, please do so and I will answer them in another post.

Until next time…..

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Positive? Or Realistic?

Have you ever looked at someone that was so positive it was sickening? Or on the other end of the scale so negative that it made you feel depressed? There is a really good medium that one can achieve in life where you can be both positive and realistic.

Changing My Attitude to be Positive

I have tended to think of my husband as the positive one in our family. I am improving at getting realistically positive which is really great. You see, it is possible to be positive, but in a realistic way and that is how I am looking at life.

Coming from a background where I was often depressed and anxious, it has taken me some time to reach this position. So I am grateful I can be both positive and realistic at the same time. Learning how to be grateful for life and things that happen and look for the small beam of light in a situation has really helped me.

When you have grown up thinking the worst and trying to work out what you would do in the worst circumstance you can imagine is not something to be commended for. The worst situation is, in fact, unlikely to happen at all.

And why prepare for the worst and not the best?

I’m not saying you have to be so positive that you make everyone feel sick around you because you annoy them so much. But look at your life and what you are going through or experiencing and finding that one silver lining is the best way to view life.

People could look at our life and say to us that they can’t imagine living life as a disabled person. That’s ok. They don’t have to. However, it is something that we face every day – my husband and I. Now, we could get really depressed about it, or we could live the best life we can.

I’m not saying it’s easy, and I’m not telling you that what you’re going through is an easy thing to face – it may not be. But what I CAN tell you is that it is possible to be positive about it. There is always something you can be grateful for.

Looking for Silver Linings

Kevin and I have found that accepting what we are going through and finding that one small silver lining on a cloud is the best thing you can do. Don’t expect a bad experience to happen and plan out exactly how you can deal with it because more than likely that won’t happen! And I know that if you do that, depression and anxiety reaches heights that you cannot even begin to contemplate.

I don’t want to be a victim to my circumstances. I want to live a positive and grateful life where we live in the fullness of all that life has to offer in any given moment and we take pleasure in it. No matter what goes on, there is always something good in it.

So why don’t you begin to look at your life as the positive experience it can be? I’m not saying all your experiences are going to be good – they’re not. But you can live a realistic positive life and enjoy the people around you.

And if you do get down and depressed, there is an answer. You can find the small positives in life and begin to be grateful for them and build your gratefulness up and enjoy the life you have

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Different Reasons behind Procrastination

Procrastination. Hmmm. Now, what can be said about it? It can prevent someone from moving forward in many areas of life. It can come in disguise where you don’t recognize it or come for many different reasons.

Now many people believe that procrastination is a trait of laziness. But that is not necessarily the case. Yes, I will admit that for some it is true. But that doesn’t mean it actually is them being just lazy.

When you look at a subject like procrastination you have to recognize the reason, or the why, behind it. This is the most important thing to look at first. Because the why behind it could be an excellent reason that you may have overlooked.

Let me give you an example. I will look at the house and think that I need to do some cleaning in one particular area and my husband will say “No, it’s not important right now.” You could think that he is procrastinating, but actually what he is doing is leaving energy for the more important things in life. Sometimes I want to do it, and there are occasions where I have gone against his advice and done it and generally if I do so, I have to give up other things I need to do because I don’t have the energy.

This is a case, it is not of procrastination, but actually being able to do the important things in life because they matter. Conservation of energy with disabled people is actually a must. To do something unimportant when you have little energy is a crazy thing to do. You need to have your energy restored to be able to attempt anything else and often that doesn’t happen instantly.

Procrastination could also be because somebody is thinking about doing something and what way will be best to do it. That doesn’t mean they’re not working – it just means that you can’t see them writing/typing or doing whatever it is you think that you should be seeing them accomplish.

But you know what? I don’t think people actually are lazy. Sometimes people will not comprehend what it is they have to do or have the courage to ask what it is. That doesn’t mean they are wrong. Or that you need to tell them you think they are living a wrong lifestyle. They will realize it themselves at some point and they may or may not make a decision to get help. Sometimes you can help, sometimes you can’t. And that’s ok.

So procrastination. I believe there is always a reason for it. Next time you think of complaining at someone because you believe they are procrastinating, stop and ask yourself why they are and see if you can help instead of instantly condemning them.

Until next time…