Monday, 1 April 2013
I am currently looking for at least three guest posts on each of the following subjects / headings to be published over the course of three weeks in May :
- Diary of a Special Needs Mum (to be published under my Disability Diaries Feature) - A typical day in your life, but with an upbeat tone about what you learn and find aswell.
- Why I love being a... stay at home mum / working mum / work from home mum / single mum etc - Your life may not be as you imagined it but you love it because ?
- I followed my dream and ... whether you have started your own business / got published / got your dream job / become a mum / adopted / got a degree / travelled whatever your dream, if you have made it a reality tell us about it!
Articles should be approximately 500-700 words in length and in general light-hearted / positive / upbeat. The only other thing I will need will be a lovely little synopsis about yourself (If you wish to stay anon that is fine) with any links you wish to promote.
Guest posts should be emailed as the body of the text or as a word document by 28 April 2013 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, 18 March 2013
Stress is a funny old thing. It's by no means funny in the ha-ha, laugh a minute or any kind of 'fun' way but it is interesting to see how stress works so differently on people.
I suppose it depends on your level of stress at any one time. Mild bouts of stress may cause irritable and snappy days. A day here or there were you think you are not coping as best as you could that results in a good old cry to feel better. Feeling a bit frustrated - maybe something you wish you could control is just out of your grasp.
A big piece of surprise stress may be dealt with well at the time, but then result in a delayed reaction. When I gave birth eight weeks early to J1, about five weeks later I broke out in Shingles, a reaction to the shock and stress of the situation I had been involved in - so I was told.
But the worst kind, I think, are those stressful things, that on their own may not seem too condemning, but piled up, one on top of the other again and again starts to make you feel buried. The light at the end of the tunnel becomes dimmer, the weight on your shoulders heavy. You try and claw your way through it and some days you may think that you are edging your way to dispelling of some of those pieces of sticking tape to the waste bin for good, then a whole load more gets stuck on top.
Then all of a sudden you have got so much to deal with you don't know which to start with first. Some of them you can't tackle at all. But instead of having a public display of two year old temper tantrum to release you just try and get on with it. Bury it away. Put on a smile. Even though the idea of how to deal with each one starts to seem insurmountable you try and stay calm and sane. But in you brain it is all building up and at that point, your brain says
"OK I am filled to the brim on my stress level quota, it's starting to spill over, this will result in odd consequences."
Some people go off of their food.
Some people turn to food.
Some people turn to drink.
Some people don't do any of those things but find that all of a sudden they start to have a few medical issues that they don't, at first relate to the stress, but if they thought about it would be pretty clear.
I remember when my dad was made redundant. It was a few months in and no other job prospect had come to fruition. He got up one day had a - what looked like a huge blister - the size of a small fist right in the middle of his forehead and this had caused both of his eyelids to swell. He looked liked Simba out of the Lion King.
This was a very clear physical reaction to the stress. We hadn't got the slightest inclination that he was feeling that stressed, although in hindsight it was a given really, being the main bread winner of the family.
Our build up of stress has built slowly over the last three years in particular, with a significant increase I would say in the last 12 months. In that time I have probably been back and forth to the doctor with little annoying ailments more than I ever have. I can only put it down to a stress reaction and I am pretty sure I can say the same about some of the issues The Hubby has found himself suffering.
These are negative reactions to stress. Are there any positives? Could it be that some people have used stress in a productive way? I have been thinking about this a lot lately, being a generally positive person I do not like it when I can not see the silver lining (or the light at the end of the tunnel) so I started to think about people that have propelled their dreams into reality due to the stress of real life.
JK Rowling, was a young single Mother when she penned Harry Potter. We all know the stresses of a small child, but on your own and trying to make a life for you and your child on benefits income must have been an extremely intense and stressful period.
Michelle Mone left school with no qualifications and felt compelled to find work to help her mother financially when illness left her father in a wheelchair. Taking on modelling, she gave it up when she fell pregnant with her first child but instead found work in Marketing. Being made redundant from that role, she took a leap of faith to start the Ultimo brand which took some time to make it to recognition. But Michelle channelled her energy into staying determined, working hard and pushing her dream. Trying to do that and be a mother must have taken every drain of energy she had.
Oprah Winfrey - need I say more? If you don't know Oprah's background a short synopsis is here
I guess there are some key ingredients to being successful. An idea; hard work; trial and error and the determination to get through all the 'error' parts and of course usually somewhere along the line a bit of luck.
But I wonder - and hope - did these three women (and the many others who have changed their own lives) take the stress of their current situation to help fuel their desire to better their own world?
Did their overwhelming desire to see light at the end of the tunnel make them overcome a fear of offering up their writing skills for the world to critic? Did it make them become a better marketer and not afraid to pitch with gusto for contracts on an unknown product? Did it make them research harder and practise public speaking into a mirror until the early hours of the morning?
What it has made me see is that there is always hope. There is always a chance to try and make things better. Some people are unlucky with the chance they take. I am positive there are many people who deserve to have made their dream come true, that have tried, hard, but not succeeded.
But at least they tried. And nothing should stop them taking a new dream and running with it. The sadder situation is the ones where the effort isn't made. Maybe they don't have quite enough stress to propel them to take that leap or they just can't see past that pile of sticking tape.
Sunday, 17 March 2013
Last year I was lucky enough to attend two amazing evenings, organised by Essex Book Festival (Alexander McCall Smith and Jodi Picoult). They were fantastic events and I could not wait for the March 2013 listings to be announce. I was not disappointed.
My mother and I once again decided to chose one evening each. My mum chose, the hugely talented Sandi Toksvig. I have many childhood memories of Sandi T being on our television screens and related to her more for the comedy and presenting accolades she has built up over the years. What I did not know was she is author of 25 books as well.
Unsurprisingly there was not a spare seat in the auditorium and she made her entrance with her trade mark 'Heloo' to riotous applause that took some time to quite down. The evening was loosely based on a question and answer format with a host but was still free flowing and fluid. Even when she was trying not to be funny she had the audience chortling away just with the natural way she delivered her answers.
Along with her incredible ability to make people laugh, was the thoughtful and eloquent way she described the research for her new book; Valentine Grey. She openly admits that she did far too much research than required but my gosh, she remembers every detail.
When the floor was thrown open to questions many were raised in relation to the historical period in which Valentine Grey is set (1897 - British Victorian and The Boer War) and she could answer absolutely everyone. Even one about Bicycle Brigades role in the War!
It was really quite a marvel to be in the presence of someone who was so funny and yet so sensitive. It makes me dislike the 'comedians' who can only seemingly tap in on those that are 'different' or try to make fun of people by being crude.
The final thing Sandi left the audience with was the answer to the question 'Do you find writing lonely?' Answer : No far from it, I am in the company of my fabulous characters! And 'Do you like Twitter?' Answer : No, if I want to leave a short message for anyone that gives a crap I leave a post it on the fridge!
On Monday 18 March we will be attending our second evening, which again this year will be quite different from our first. Jo Wheatley, winner of The Great British Bake Off 2011, will be talking about her book and whipping up something scrumptious from it. I will let you know what it is in my next 'An Evening With...' post.
Saturday, 16 March 2013
On the whole most people know, I try to stay positive. I really do. I can not see the point in too much moping and expending precious energy on griping over what can't be changed.
But lately things have been tough and I have to ask the question:
When are we going to catch a break?
And it isn't just us. A myriad of my friends are all struggling the same. Bills are stock piling, jobs are scarce. Positive attitude waning.
People say every generation goes through this stressful economic period at sometime or other in their life. How do they get through it?
I like to think that we can say, there are more important things than money. There are. But money, more to the point, lack of it is the biggest cause of stress.
Good health, people say, we should be grateful for. But with a son with severe Cerebral Palsy and husband with various on going ailments, I can do without stress causing me to feel ill.
I know this is a bad day. I have a bug and am feeling low. I can hear the wind howling past the windows and I am inclined to think this long, cold winter may never end.
But I do have to ask :
Are things going to pick up? For anyone?
Thursday, 14 March 2013
Last week I missed my Reasons to be Cheerful post as I was featuring guest posts all week and I did really 'miss' it. So without further ado, I am once again linking up with the #R2BC blog hop (this week hosted by Seasider in the City).
This week has been a bit of a tough one, for reasons out of our control and this results in a lot of frustration. But as everyone who knows me, and or reads the blog, when this happens I like to try and channel that negative energy into something more positive. I admit at times it is a struggle, but generally I get there. What has been lovely is that my beautiful network of friends have been really supportive and that has made me feel really thankful for having the group of people around me that I do. It has also pointed out that my husband and I really do have a strong relationship because my, we have been thrown some cr*p over the last 36 months, financially and health wise.
The week long series of guest posts on Appreciating Motherhood received a fantastic response. I really enjoyed hosting the week and getting to know some wonderful bloggers and writers. All the posts were so touching and heartfelt. I felt most honoured to be publishing them on my blog.
Mother Sunday is always a lovely treat in the midst of what seems like the longest winter ever. Although The Hubby wasn't well on Sunday so I didn't get a break from my everyday duties of Motherhood, I didn't have to cook and we spent a pleasant afternoon indulging in cake at my parents house. I received some very sweet trinkets from the children and the most well worded card from The Hubby.
I also received the most fantastic email from one of my best friends. We do not get to see each other as much as we would like as she lives in-a-whole-other-country : Wales. However, my annual visit is next week and not only am I looking forward to a few days change of scenery and routine but my spa day that she bought me for my birthday last year. The email was details of the package and wow, what a package. A day at the Spa with 120 minutes of treatments of my choice. H.E.A.V.E.N. A whole day of relaxing, reading, eating and being pampered. And at this precise point in the year, it couldn't be coming at a better time. I do have to admit, I feel in need of it.
If you want to think about the best bits of your week you should jot them down and link up with Reasons to be Cheerful. Read other posts and be inspired!