Lockdown can feel like groundhog day for some people. Doing the same thing again and again. But for many lockdown is actually a pilgrim place. A chance to listen to the wild wind of the Holy Spirit. Like Nicodemus we must really utilise this opportunity to listen to the Holy Spirit as She blows from east to west. Over dry and scorched earth and over the wild wet rainforests. Season upon season, the Spirit is always ready to impart Her wisdom on ears that were made to hear.
May we seek Her wisdom courageously and walk with our fellow Pilgrims. Knowing that for some they seek the solid solitude of being with Christ. Community is for all, friendship and fellowship is a base instinct at the heart of our life’s pilgrimage. Let us fight for justice and equality. Lets us rejoice and share moments of inspiration together. Let us pray and worship God in the unity of the Spirit. Let us love one another with a refreshed outlook brought about through the silence of lockdown. Let us use lockdowns lessons to build better communities and a wondrous outpouring of love on our neighbours. Gathered together in the sanctuary of our homes let us seek the road of peace, and be willing to share this peace with all. Amen.
There is much uncertainty in the world at the moment. There certainly is a darkness that has swept across the land. You cannot control what others do or what events may come your way but you can control how you react…how you respond to these events. How best to gain a little control? Pause..deep breathing and more pausing. Ever heard Be still and know I am God? Its hard to sit still but it is so essential and nourishing for the soul to do this. Meditation really calms the mind and if done at the start of the day can be immensely beneficial. Take some time after you get out of bed to find a quiet warm spot and just to close your eyes, focus on whats in your mind. The aim here is not to clear your mind but to let it still. If a thought comes along just let it pass and go back to being still. This really helps with anxiety and if practised every day for just 10 minutes you will find that you are functioning a little calmer and less rushed.After your meditation, try and take some light exercise. Its important to give your body exercise, it likes to move!
A brisk walk around the block may be all you need to benefit from the from the
feel good factor. If you cant get out at the moment then walking around your flat or up and down the stairs will get your heart pumping. This is stress relieving and so so rewarding for your body and mind.Next you need a good breakfast. Porridge has slow release carbs and topped with walnuts, pumpkin and hemp seeds and some juicy berries will really perk your body up. It is everything you need for a healthy start. Nettles are in season at the moment, if you can find some nettle, nettle tea is wonderfully invigorating.
There is light in the darkness and you are basking in that light, that positivity when you meditate, or simply reading your bible for those who find meditation difficult. Remember we come from a world where we would usually be at work, so to switch to a quieter mode may come as a shock for some.
One things for sure, this virus has brought people closer and communities together. We are each others light, we possess the tools to heal and nurture. Parents are spending more time with their children and have started homeschooling. Children will always remember this time that parents and carers spent a lot of time with them. When it comes to going back to work in a few months, I wonder how many of you are thinking about how to spend more time with the children? Maybe this fast paced life is really not for you? Perhaps you could take the time now to re evaluate where in life you want to go?Lots to think about.
New moon to 1st quarter; 1st-2nd and 24th – 31st. Sow crops that develop below ground. Dig the soil.
Spring Equinox falls on 20th March at 03.50.
Pussy willow catkins burst open and clouds of blackthorn blossom appear, its flowers white with long yellow stamens against the still-bare spikey black stems.
It is nest building time for the birds. Female blackbirds build their sturdy nests low in the hedgerow, while female robins build a dome-shaped nest from grass, leaves, and moss on which they lay their pale, speckled eggs.
This month if the weather behaves itself and warms up you can start to make sowings outdoors, but do so on areas where the soil is warmed by cloches.
Lesser celandine, winter aconite, primroses, and snowdrops appear. Perhaps even some purple dog violets. The sun is still weak but on warmer days it can feel as if spring is on its way.
A few blackberries of the wild privet bushes cling on, but this is a lean time for foraging.
New moon to 1st quarter; 1st-2nd and 23rd-29th. Sow crops that develop below ground. Dig the soil.
Moon gardening is peaceful, thrilling and a lot is accomplished when my son goes to bed!
Full Moon on the 9th is appropriately called Storm moon. We have our own storm brewing so be careful this coming Sunday, as gale-force winds will sweep the UK.
The nights are cold and the deep chill of February has set in. How do the homeless amongst us cope, as we throw another log on the fire? If you can withstand the chill, its a lovely time for spotting constellations.
Spring is drawing near. my favourite time of the year. The days are lengthening and nights are at last shortening.
Upon waking a few mornings ago I saw the election UK result and discovered the Tories had won the seat of power and we were now officially under a Tory government.
I voted Labour. I am usually a Green Party women but this year it was a two horse race and I preferred Corbyn’s manifesto to the Conservative manifesto. Lots of people were and still are angry. However I have John 1:5 tattooed across my chest and that is there for a reason. The Light shines in the Darkness and the Darkness has not overcome it. It may look like that light has been snuffed out, but it has not, it has merely flickered.
So what do we do now? My first thoughts were to emigrate to Spain. I lay down and started going through a mental checklist to the pro’s and con’s of living in Spain. However my son 8, is Type 1 Diabetic and as it stands I cannot afford his healthcare costs in another country. Thank God the NHS offers us his insulin for free and may the NHS remain free for all who walk through its doors. I am not naive, I know the Tories are privatising the NHS and the NHS is in my prayers that it will be the brilliant institute that it is for many more years to come, and will remain free for all.
I noticed on my FaceBook page, others had the same thought as me to run away and not subject their children to another 5+ years of austerity. The future looks bleak, I know, but there is hope. The Tories cannot suppress truth. The truth of the gospel is available to all and in these challenging times may the aspect of Christian thoughts be on loving thy neighbour. Love cannot be suppressed, truth cannot be held down and may every Christian be granted discernment to see the agenda behind such policies as the Tories hold, and the wisdom to deal effectively with such agenda’s.
So what can we all do in these challenging times? We can , all of us, get together and help each other out. Community is essential here. Local shops, business’ and churches all working together to unite against division and to engage with the community as a whole. Together the Tories cannot stop love, together we can overcome many difficulties and help our fellow neighbour and friend.
Toegther we can…
Help and lean on each other and give to the poor. Set the oppressed free. Isaiah 58:6-11
Donate to foodbanks
Set up Foodbanks in areas that do not have one
Set up clothing banks, people need warmth as well as food.
Buy homeless people food and hot drinks
Ask your church to consider doing a night shelter for the homeless
Set up a free breakfast club for all in your church, if it has room and a kitchen.
Shop locally, support local business with whatever you need.
Sign whatever petitions you can get your hands on for good causes like saving the NHS.
Volunteer at places of need, like churches, foodbanks, libraries. sure starts
Start a bible study group for everyone in the community
Invest your time at TimeBanks where you give people your time to combat loneliness. Invest in the poor and give them your time. James 1:27
Set up a community hub of information/pop up cafe and be a helping hand or listening ear to someone.
Invite your neighbour to dinner. We need to rely on each other so get to know one another.
Donate toys and clothing to charity
Give freely and with a glad heart. Deuteronomy 15:10-11
Raise awareness of a need via social media.
Stay informed about what is happening in your community.
Offer to cook a meal for the local community, at your local church.
Buy food vouchers for homeless units
Invest in supporting charities such as women’s aid, donate welcome packs to them.
Offer your skills for free to people who may need them to start a business, or just to get by. Such things as floristry, counselling, knitting, arts and crafts etc. Or just to build people up, things like CV writing, cookery, living within a budget. All useful life skills that we need to function.
If everyone in their community all did there bit, then each community would be built up and then this on a large scale would be pretty unstoppable.
We can all sit down and eat together, share stories and help each other with whatever problems we have. This is how to survive Tory rule…together.
Winter rolls on by but for some reason despite everyone being so busy and cheery, you are struggling to raise a glass of Advocaat to keep the cold out. There is something you can do to help beat the cold weather, and that’s self care.
Whether you have a mental illness or not these tips will really help to nourish you through the cold spell. And they might just help you keep your cool when it comes to pretending to be happy around relatives and co workers.
1, Dress to impress…yourself. Have you got a tatty old coat? Same old scarf and gloves since forever? Time to invest in yourself. You will feel better if you look better. Not only would a new coat keep you warm, but you can choose a style that really flatters you no matter what your shape. Go for gloves with accessories, a bit of sparkle always goes down well.
2, Medicine. Make sure you are taking your prescribed medication when you are supposed to be taking it. It can be easy to forget to take it during the festive season.
3, SAD lamps, these are relatively cheap these days and really have been shown to help with depression. Use daily for best results.
4, Eat locally and organically. This will help you to eat what is in season, as well as supporting local business. Your body requires plenty of fruit and veg…why not make it organic? It is an investment in your health. Besides, you are worth it.
5, Friends and family can be a little overbearing during Christmas. You don’t have to let it get to you though. Make sure you take regular breaks, stand outside for some fresh air for a bit. Do a mindfulness exercise while you are out there. Feel the cool air on your skin, recognise what it is like to breathe fresh air and how it feels filling your lungs. Accept that it’s ok to not be ok, and you are working on it!
6, Take part in the festive season. It’s called ‘act opposite’. Whatever you want to do, simply act opposite as long as its for the greater good. So when you are in bed and your mind tells you to pull the duvet over your head, instead get out of bed and get on with the day. I know its a struggle, believe me I have been there. It is so worth the effort though.
7, Mental health support team. Make sure you have your mental health support teams numbers with you. Ask a trusted friend or relative to call them if you are unable. Let people know that you may need extra support.
8, Vitamins and Minerals. Are you taking a good supplement? Try a supplement as long as your GP agree’s, and this will help nutritionally to support you through winter and beyond. If your body feels good, in theory your mind should respond postively.
9, Mindfulness. Practise, practise, practise! Mindfulness will give you that much needed 5 seconds of glorified pause. It helps put the brakes on and grounds you back in your body. Good for those that dissociate.
10, Keep a journal. This can be hard going at first, but it is one of those essentials that we look back on and see the benefit. We often say things like “This was me last year” and then see how much we have changed. A journal will help document moods and changes. You can see if changes you have made really helped or not. We are often required by mental health professionals to keep a mood diary, or to rate our mood daily. You can easily do this in your journal. Feel free to take your journal in with you to appointments. It can act as your advocate.
Stay well this winter, invest in you and enjoy the season.
Life Coaching or Counselling? Its a valid question for anyone considering hiring in some help with a difficult area of life. Counselling does not give you answers, it helps you to find the answer itself. Counselling looks back through your history and you talk to the counsellor about the things that have troubled you or those things that have made you.
Life Coaching is different. It only looks backwards on your past to get a brief glimpse of where you came from. Life Coaching is about looking forward, discussing methods that work. It is about setting goals and going over those problems that stop you achieving your goals until you have met them.
Life Coaching differs from Counselling in the respect that there is that goal setting and achievement gaining mentality. If you are stuck in a rut in any area of your life it is useful to discuss it with a Coach who can help you analyze the problem and together use tools to help you overcome obstacles and issues.
Coaching wants the very best for you, it does not focus on the past and work its way up from there, it goes with you directly to the source of the issue and helps you move forward with a plan of action. Life Coaches such as myself may employ all manner of tools to help you move forward. Tools such as prayer, art, painting, mandalas, CBT, Hypnosis, Meditation and Mindfulness.
A good Coach will also help you to be referred to another body should the need arise. I would have no problem referring a client to a counsellor should any painful and long term issue arise.
I hope this blog post has been helpful in showing the difference between a Counsellor and a Coach. I have personally trained in a form of Counselling and of course I am studying Life Coaching currently.
So it’s come round so quickly this year Halloween hasn’t it? The issue of trick or treating has probably come up in your house if you have children. But what to do with children who have diabetes? Well if they are young enough for you to go with them, then make sure they eat before they go out so they will not be very hungry. Encourage them to collect sweets but to actually eat them when you are back at home. This way you can easily keep track of what they are eating so you can work out what to bolus for.
Some sweets have no nutritional information on the packets, its best to avoid these if at all possible. Why not have some sweets in the house that does have the carbohydrates on them and swap them for the sweets that do not have the carbs on them. There are plenty of sugar free sweets around, but please don’t use the diabetic sweets or chocolate as they can cause an upset stomach. Don’t forget the old tip of cutting up fruit such as apple and dipping it into dark chocolate. A nice treat but with far less sugar than a conventional sweet. or introduce new foods such as custard apples.
If your child is old enough to go trick or treating with friends on their own, again make sure they eat before they go. When they are out do let any adults know that there is a diabetic child with them, and hopefully if you can help them to help your child during a hypo if one occurs. Would it be possible to ring you if anything should occur? Cover all bases. You may think they have enough sweets to treat a hypo but remember not all sugar raises blood sugars quickly enough. It is wise that your child takes some hypo treatments with them regardless of the amount of sweets they have collected.
And so here we are again, that time of year where we get an extra hour in bed. However as I have a young son who is Type 1 Diabetic, it matters not to me whether I go bed earlier or later. I am up with my husband checking my sons blood sugar levels anyway! This is just a reminder really that for those of you who have a meter or pump, you need to roll your equipment back an hour as well as your clocks and watches. This may also mean altering the ratios.
What do we have to look forward to now the nights are rolling in quicker and darkness arrives earlier each day? You could always purchase a fire pit and wrap up warm as you toast marshmallows around the fire. You can also burn important but not needed documents to save on shredding tasks. There are lots of comfy coffee shops selling seasonal coffee. I have noticed also that places are starting to offer dairy alternatives/vegan/gluten free food and drink.
There is nothing quite like the smell of fresh baked bread, with homemade soup. For those of you who like foraging you can bring home a real treat if you know where to look. For those who have a diabetic in the family, please don’t buy diabetic chocolate. It causes tummy ache. The best thing you can do is to buy dark chocolate and carb count for that (it’s not that much)
Try spending some time together as a family this autumn. I have had a great time building with my son and husband, just cutting up cardboard boxes and making ‘dens’ out of them for Nerf wars. Reading books by candlelight adds a magical feel to this time of year. Buy some wellies for the whole family and head on over to the park. Its just this side of cool outside, not freezing so still time to enjoy the outdoors before the winter steps in.
Whatever you do this autumn do enjoy yourself, life can be so stressful at the moment what with Brexit coming up and whatnot. Now is the time before Christmas to take some time out and enjoy the autumn together.
Picture located on Google Images, it is not my personal pic.