Thoughts on sabotaging friendships.

Today, via Facebook post from and old work colleague who probably doesn’t even realise I follow her work page, I found out that an old mentor of Mr.DB and I is in the country.

She watched over both of us while we gap-yeared away at a Christian outdoor center (Mr. DB and I were both there at different times) and she left to return to her native country shortly after I left the center. Now she has returned to sunny (uncharacteristically sunny) Scotland for a few months but will be leaving in around 10 days time.

I feel… odd. I feel like Mr.DB and I should have known she was back on Scottish soil but I also know why we didn’t. We lost touch. Not just with her but with a lot of people, friends, from our times at the center. Part of this is laziness yes, in Mr.DB’s case some of it is linked to his anxiety. For me though…

I actively chose to distance myself when I left the center. Leaving was hard for me, I loved it there and I loved the people there and I knew if I didn’t distance myself I would struggle to do anything that didn’t lead me back there. I still have moments when I see things posted on Facebook that make me long to go back.
I also didn’t want the people I left behind there to know how I was coping (or not coping) with leaving and specifically moving back into my parents home. Just as my parents had often told me to give up my life at the center and move home, I didn’t want anyone from the center to tell me to give up my life “outside” and move back.

As time moved on and Mr.DB and I married we moved to a remote area where meeting up with people was harder. And then I fell pregnant and that pregnancy was so hard on me emotionally, I couldn’t face those people seeing me struggle (despite knowing that some of them had seen me at the very bottom of my ability to cope).

Even now, 3 kids and 10 years after I left, I still feel like hardly any time has passed and everyone I knew then will still see me as this awkward teenager who couldn’t handle being complimented and often had no idea what she was doing. I worry that they won’t see me as a grown-up (not that I always feel like a grown-up unless I’m doing dishes or folding laundry) and that everything I’ve done since leaving will be judged and found wanting. Like they worked so hard to turn mend my brokenness and I just haven’t done enough with it.

There is even a part of me that worries they will regret ever letting my on the gap year.

So I don’t keep in touch. And then today to see that post and find my old mentor’s blog and realised what news we had missed. It made me wonder. Did I really do the right thing pushing everyone away?

But how do I mend that bridge without admitting that I sabotaged it in the first place? How do I reconnect with people I deliberately ignored for so long? Tonight I wish I knew but maybe tomorrow I’ll feel embarrassed by it all and go back to ignoring them all.

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My new planner.

So, in a bid to get better organized, I bought myself a planner and I thought I’d share it with you all.

This is my Happy Planner – Faith Edition. It has monthly pages and weekly pages so I can see what’s happening all month at a glance or focus on the week.

Lots of people use thier planners and faith planner differently. Some use them merely to note future events. Some use them as journals or memory books, some use them to write prayers or bible verses or gratitudes. I do a little of it all. Here’s a picture of a blank week from next month:

On the last weekend of the month I look at the month ahead and decorate the pages with stickers and washi tape and such. I always start by putting a strip of tape down the page separating off the 3rd of each day that’s slightly greyed. Then I write in any events coming up. Birthdays, appointments, things I know own I need to do, these go on the left in the larger space. On each day I fill in any leftover space on the left with journalling notes, things that happened that I want to remember. On the right I note down bible readings or prayers depending on what bible study I’m doing.

I also have little stickers to mark how much water I’ve drank, if there’s something important to do, if I’m on my period etc. I really enjoy being able to add different bits to each day as and when I need them or don’t.

Here’s a completed week from last month when I was studying Proverbs:

I’ve only used this for 2 months but so far I’m really enjoying it and it’s helping keep a lot of stuff straight in my head. It’s especially good for noting when important emails and letters have arrived and when I’ve replied to them (though I feel like I need a new sticker for those). I’m hoping to grab some a stickers soon to remind me to post here as well so you might start getting more updates from me.

Do any of you use a planner or a journal or a diary?

Take care

D.B

The thing… the THING!

So I did a thing and now it looks like it’s going to become A THING and this is both scary and exciting.

So back in December I listened to an audiobook on parenting that suggested that sometimes we need a break from our families so we can come back to them stronger. At the time I was also doing a bible study on resting in the Lord. Well the two ideas combined in my head and I decided to pull together a women’s bible study retreat this November using that bible study.

Well it seems that although the numbers for November aren’t great (could do with 1 or 2 more attendees) there’s been enough interest to put together another retreat next May. Which is great. Sort of.

I’m doing it all myself and it’s a lot of work and expensive so while I’d love to keep going with them I’d need to increase the cost so minimum numbers covered me going to which might price some people out which I’m not thrilled with.

The other issue is that if I want to keep going beyond next May then this stops being a hobby and starts being a business. A business that requires a lot of finance to cover all the legal requirements. I’d need first aid and food hygiene certificates as well as licenses for playing music, DVDs, for handling cash and people’s details. And probably a bunch more stuff I can’t even think about right now.
The main problem, problems I guess, are the fact I don’t have this cash and the fact I have no idea what licenses exactly I need or how to get them. So while my little hobby thing may look ready to become a big business THING. I can’t see a way to make it work just now. I did apply to an entrepreneur trust to see if they can help but I haven’t heard back.

To be honest I think the idea that this could all pull together and actually work is almost scarier than the idea that it’ll need to fall apart next May.

Reducing the chaos

Last week was a great week.

It’s been a while since I had a whole week that was “good” but to suddenly have one were everything seemed to go smoothly and all goals were met was nothing short of amazing.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a week of warm nights so the kids (an by extension me) weren’t sleeping well but lack of energy wasn’t the same huge problem it usually is.

Despite only getting 4ish hours sleep most nights I managed to keep on top of the housework. Like not just dishes and washing clothes, every room got tidied, surfaces were cleaned and floors hoovered almost every day. The laundry bins were emptied and our bed stripped (a mishap with a pull-up in the wash halted things at the end of the weeks so the kids beds will get done today).

I’m using a bible study app now so even though I’m no longer writing anything down I am reading some bible and some devotion every day.

And? The absolute best part. I got to spend time, off my phone, playing with my kids. I know that makes me sound like I don’t do that, but the truth is I probably haven’t been doing it as much as I could. I used to attempt to get 90 minutes of housework done a day. Now I aim for 45 at the most and part of that is done with the kids. I used to aim for two 45 minute exercise sessions a day. Now I do one 30 minute session and usually with the kids at least in the same room if not sitting with me when they can. I used to check Facebook, Instagram, Twitter a lot. I’ve removed all those apps so if I want to check them it’s a more conscious effort (I also removed a lot of groups, pages and people from my Facebook so what I do see there is less trash).

I’m not going to sit here and say that I suddenly have it all together. This week I only just managed my housework on Monday, failed to do Porridge’s bible study with him and spent way to long on my phone. Plus I felt ill all of yesterday (nauseous and light headed but it never came to anything) so nothing got done. But it finally feels like I’m making sustainable progress. Like maybe I’ll eventually get this whole wife/mother/adult thing under control.

How were your weeks? Did you have any big breakthroughs?

Take care

D.B

Update.

As you may have guessed from my last entry. Things around here have been a bit difficult lately.

My sister-in-law found out her baby had heart issues during a routine scan at 20 weeks and from then on things were hard. I wanted to help her and her family (this was baby number 4 and her eldest is the same ages as Porridge) but I couldn’t think how. We’re far enough away that I can’t pop over but close enough that we never make a big effort. So I made the baby a blanket, as I’ve done for all the kiddos born since Porridge (except Biscuit who is still waiting on hers being bigger than a tea towel) and I organised a still-birth photographer because that was the most likely outcome and I prayed. A lot. And I aksed others to pray, like random people on my jury duty team, my driving instructor, Jehovah’s witnesses I passed on the street. Just because it felt like doing something.

They got 2 hours with their beautiful baby girl but that was all. Of course the whole thing drove my post-natal depression wild, not helped by the return of my periods and all the hormone changes that comes with that.

So there have been no posts for a while because I was struggling. Struggling to be a mum to my 3 especially when I was being a shouty mum and then feeling guilty because at least I had them to shout at. Struggling to be a decent wife when hormones were making me act crazy. Struggling to find me time as Mr. DB’s hours got longer. I gave up my driving lessons because I was getting so stressed I was becoming a hazard on the road.

Honestly, posting here was the last thing on my mind. However, I’m hoping to change that. Things have slowly gotten easier over the last 2 weeks and I’m hoping we can get back into a better routine once the spring break is over and Porridge is back in school. I’m not promising lots of post or a schedule or anything more than a bit more effort.

Take care lovelies
D.B

My Dearest Angel

I prayed for you. I asked friends to pray for you, I asked strangers to pray for you. And you made it! You survived being born when many people doubted you would. But your little heart could only take so much so you left this world on 2 short hours after you entered it.

I’m supposed to say that you’re with the angels now or you’re smiling down from heaven. I don’t believe that though. I’m not saying I believe death is the end, just that I believe it is the rest before the end. I believe that you are resting now for when the trumpets call at the end of time. I believe that you, little Angel will never know a time without your mother. I believe that there is a reason for this even if I can’t see it and maybe never will.

I wish you could have stayed longer. I would have loved to meet you. Your parents kept you with them and didn’t want anyone else to meet you. That’s okay, it’s how they chose to cope. And I will meet you one day, at the end, and I’m okay with that.

I have cried a lot the day after you visited Earth. Not so much for what you will miss out on but for what your parents will miss, and your siblings. G-boy may always be the baby of the family now. LJ may never have a little sister to play with and JT, he will remember you.

I know that as Biscuit grows I will question telling your mummy about her milestones. I know that should we decide to have a 4th I will dread the announcement. But none of that is your fault little Angel. You came and you did your very best even when the specialist said you wouldn’t survive your own birth. I am proud to you for holding on for your mummy and daddy and I look forward to telling you that one day.

Today we attended your funeral. It was beautiful.

Your mummy was so strong, she was the loudest voice in the opening hymn and read your eulogy so well. She told of the journey your family had been on with you but also of the grief of a lifetime lost. I was so proud of her. She only broke down during the last hymn. Your daddy was brave too, he carried your tiny coffin in and out of the service and stood tall and proud.

So many people came to support your parents it was a blessing. They have touched so many people and the fear that you would be forgotten or not counted was forgotten.

I did not come to your gaveside. I wanted to but it was cold and rainy and Uncle J was not well so we went with Uncle D to your wake instead. One day I will visit your grave though, I will take your cousins to visit you. I made you a special stone with your name and a pretty heart on it. I don’t know if your parents will put it on your grave or keep it at home but I plan to make you one every year for your birthday. You will not be forgotten little one.

I wish I could have held you, or even seen you. I wish we knew what colour your eyes are, what your laugh sounds like, what your favourite fruit is. I wish we could have had longer with us. Thank you so much for being strong enough to give what you gave. And I look forward to meeting you properly and finding out all about you.

Good night dearest Angel.

What to be…

Every morning before he heads through the school gate Porridge and I have a little ritual. I tell him to be kind (he says he knows), I tell him to be brave (he says he knows), I tell him to be awesome (he says he knows) and I tell him I love him and hope he enjoys his day.

Every so often another parent overhears our little exchange and gives me an odd look. I’m not sure if they’re confused, surprised or what but as they never ask me about it I thought I’d explain here instead.

The basics here are simple; if kids can internalise the bad that we say to them surely then can internalise the good too. So I give him good ideas to internalise each day. I could tell him to be good, but “good” is subjective, what he thinks is good might not actually be. I could tell him to have fun, but that runs the risk of him only looking for fun and the expense of others and his education. So I tell him to be kind, be brave and be awesome.

For the first few weeks I told him this and sent him on his way and that was that. Then I started adding to it. Now on the way home we talk about what he did that day that was kind, and brave, and awesome. It’s been brilliant for both of us. He’s learning what counts as kindness (playing with your friend as usual doesn’t count as much as playing with someone who’s friend is off sick). He’s learning new ways to be brave (saying sorry without being asked, answering questions when he’s not sure he has the right answer) and he’s focusing on the good parts of his day (answering lots of questions right, playing well with friends, eating all his school lunch).

I am loving how this is showing his personality emerging and teaching both of us more ways to be kind and brave and awesome.

I love my little Porridge.

What about you’re family? Do you have any little rituals to help with values like kindness?

Take care

D.B