What does inspiration mean to you?

I find myself on the finalist list for the Inspire category for the Brilliance in Blogging Awards 2014. I look at the others on the list and am humbled to be in such amazing company. These are bloggers who are overcoming adversity or at least learning to navigate a way through it. These are bloggers who step up and make a difference to other people.

I check some dictionary definitions on what the word inspire means.

To stimulate somebody to do something: to encourage somebody to greater effort, enthusiasm, or creativity

Do inspirational people set out to do this or does it just happen?

The people who have inspired me would run away from the label and be very self-effacing about it. I suspect that the Inspire finalists may react in a similar fashion.

Although it is lovely to be on such a list, it is also a bit uncomfortable. Remember, I know my dark side. I can be moody and give in to pessimism too easily. I can be lazy. I don’t deal well with criticism. I am rubbish at the practical aspects of keeping house and so on despite my best efforts. For goodness sake, I often struggle to say hello.

I spoke with my family and here is what they had to say about how I do or don’t inspire.

My 13 year old son said “Of course you inspire Mum. You encourage people’s hearts and that is really important” My own heart melted at this point.

My 8 year old son said “You do things well and that encourages us and other people to do things well”

This reminded me of meeting a school bully on a train years later. She was in her mid-twenties and on her way to study for her degree at the local Polytechnic. I was nervous remembering her harsh words of the past. She came up to me and said that she wanted to thank me because I had inspired her to go back into education after failing all her O-Levels. It was lovely to make peace and know that she was on a much better path.

My 10 year old (rapidly growing up!) daughter said “The trouble is Mum because I am already good, I don’t really need to be inspired” Well, you can’t win them all!

I emailed my husband about making the finals and this is what he replied.

“Why do you question the fact that you are included in a group of pretty amazing people?

Think back to what your dad once said that people wouldn’t invite you to a party if they didn’t want you there.

You wouldn’t have been nominated/voted for if the voters didn’t think you deserved to be.”

Another part of my dark side is that I over-analyze things.

I think on looking at the blogs in the Inspire category, what stands out is that they are written by people who keep on keeping on and who try to do good when life is going well and also when it throws some pretty rotten challenges. And perhaps that is what being inspirational is all about?

If it is, everyone can inspire and that is a lovely thought.

Little Hearts, Big Love

Can you remember the song “If you are happy and you know it, clap your hands”?

It seems to be me the reasons to be cheerful linky helps us do this every week even if we have to clap first and feel happy later.

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with a few things. Although the main house is sorted, we still have the hidden storage areas that need clearing out. It becomes clear that we need things that are in boxes still but which one?

I think we are struggling too to accept that the crisis of the last few months is over and now we can relax a bit. I think we have forgotten how to a little.

I am also frustrated that having enquired about volunteering, I have heard nothing back.

I need to work out what i am going to do in this new place.

Clap, clap, clap – think cheerful thoughts.

1. All 3 children went to the opticians last week and have new glasses on order. Another little but important job ticked off.

2. I found a town full of charity shops. My OH complained that I spent far too long in them but it was joy to get back to them. I used to go most days before the afternoon school run to check out the bargains to be had. Often I did not buy anything but it was nice to see what they had.

3. I have enjoyed not having the mad morning rush of school preparations this week. We have just chilled largely at home quite happily.

4. I have just taken delivery of a big online groceries delivery. The van driver was so friendly asking me where my accent was from and so on. I have put a big focus on meal planning and healthy eating and look forward to seeing how that goes in the coming weeks.

5. I am enjoying lots of cuddles with our lovely kitten. He is a delightful little character.

6. I have changed my profile and background pictures on my social networks. I may be away with the fairies but it seems to be on a day when I feel a bit down that actually I have not aged too badly at all in the last 20 years.

me

me and mum

My mission this week is to laugh out loud in that carefree way again.

Last week, my daughter came home and announced that she had something really awful to a girl in her class. I don’ even want to say what it was which should get across to you that it was really bad.

The next day, her Dad delivered her to breakfast club as usual. Just as I was settling into some work, the door bell rang. I could see my daughter through the door. I was shocked. I asked her what was happening and she said she had left school as she knew she was going to be in trouble for the incident the day before.

I asked her how she got out of school and whether anyone had seen her. She said she had walked into the playground and out through the gate and made her way home. The school is over a mile away from our house.

We talked for a few minutes and then the telephone rang. It was her school and I reassured them that she was with me and I would return her as soon as possible.

We walked back to school and the receptionist returned her to class saying the Head would be having word with her later and would be firm but fair. It was not easy to leave her as she was clearly upset. I asked if it would be helpful for me to talk to the Head and was told that was not necessary.

At the end of the school day, I picked her up and she told me the Head had a chat with her and the matter was now closed.

My concern on the day was dealing with the unexpected incident and ensuring she felt as OK as possible but also knew she would have to accept some discipline.

When I talked on Twitter about my day, other parents and people involved in teaching said this was a serious safeguarding matter.

We are new to the area. A big part of me does not want to make a fuss or to be seen as a difficult parent.

However, the very next day, the children in the school received a letter for us about an attempted abduction of a child in the next village.

It does make you think.

Should I say something to the school or leave things as they are?

I should point out that the gate to the school was still open when I returned my daughter to school.

What would you do?

What are my reasons for cheerfulness this week?

groovinggrabbadge

1. Although my 6th wedding anniversary did not go to plan in various ways, my husband did get me a lovely necklace and make me one of his famous steak dinners.

2. All the children are now kitted out fully for their new schools. Why is there so much to think about?

3. My teenage son is being particularly lovely at the moment. He brings me little treats on the way home from school like pain au chocolat. He goes on walks with me and says he wants us to do things together. I sense somewhere in the mix I must have done something right to have such a kind-hearted son.

4. All the children have new friends and are missing their old school that bit less every day.

5. We are getting the house sorted well now with new (to us!) furniture. I am particularly pleased with the arrival of a blue bed for my youngest son and a pink one for my daughter. We have less space here so the beds are high sleepers which also include sofa/chair beds, desks and drawers.

6. On the subject on smaller living space, this means there is far less housework to do and you can make the place look ship-shape much quicker. Happy days!

7. We have a Bank Holiday weekend and a school holiday coming up. I feel our family need this now we have got so many things sorted out so that we can relax and chill a bit. I am hoping to get to a car boot sale on Monday.

8. We had a lovely meal out as a family at the local pub restaurant. The service was disappointing but it was a good night in other ways.

9. The children has a good time at Film Club and just as I was thinking I did not want to climb the hill home, I spied my husband driving towards us to give us a lift home. We went for a sneaky little white wine on the way back.

10. Obviously shamed my his son, my husband brought me a posh sarnie for lunch the other day. He went to get it before setting off for work. Romance is alive and well.

11. We have found our kitten. It went missing a week ago. I am quite smitten with him so was upset. A card in a local shop resulted in a lady telephoning me today and Indiana (don’t ask!) is back where he belongs.

12. I am happy and humbled to be mentioned on the finalist list in the Inspire category for the Brilliance in Blogging Awards 2014. I am in the most amazing company who have overcome such tough challenges and done so much for other people.

My secret online love affair.

We met online.

It is easy to be cynical about what can come from the Internet. However, one of my friends found a husband that way so I decided to give it a whirl.

It was fun whilst my husband was at work to look at all those images. They all had something to offer but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you stood out.

I tried to resist and put you out of my mind.

It didn’t work. I embarked on a secret love affair.

I thought about your good looks and what you might do for me.

I really believed you could change my life.

I had to meet you.

You didn’t disappoint. Tall and slim. Fresh and powerful.

It was inevitable.

Things got steamy.

We didn’t make it upstairs and did it on the kitchen floor.

When I asked your real name, you said it was Vax.

I love my new steam cleaner.

Cuddle Fairy