What are my reasons to be cheerful this week?

We have had a week from Sunday until now full of a tummy bug circulating round the family. It only lasts 1-2 days but it is quite debilitating.

I also had email contact with one of my step-daughters and my half-sister (who I have never met) which resulted in some angst-type feelings.

I am, however, still smiling.

1. I was very ill on Tuesday. Now last Tuesday I was at the “We Will Rock You” musical and next Tuesday, I am due at my daughter’s first arena singing performance so if I am to be ill on a Tuesday, thank goodness it was this week. How is that for a positive spin?

2. I have got some paperwork in order and yes, it does include an application for a driving licence. I am working up the courage to actually post it and then move on to real lessons. I don’t have any belief I can learn to drive but I know it would make such a difference if I could.

3. I am target for the weight I hope to be by the New Year.

4. I am deluttering and it feels good, especially throwing out the larger sized clothing.

5. I have a tiny lead on some paid work. It may come to nothing but it provides a glimmer of hope.

6. I have made one minor decision about my blogging which will become apparent in the New Year and two pretty major ones that I am going to give some further thought to before revealing all.

7. I was Netmums Blogger of the Week for my Just A Woman and Proud post. They used the piece to launch their new section on all things stylish. Which would make people who know me laugh out loud I am sure. However, I am pleased that the piece clearly touched a nerve with other mums out there. Those are the posts I like best.

That’s all this week as I have hardly left the house either having my own head in a bucket or a child’s.

Here’s to a healthier week ahead.

Now pop over and see some people who are happy, knowing it and clapping their hands with http://beckywilloughby.blogspot.com/

Skydiving for charity is something many of us have thought about but few of us have the actual courage to do. I am delighted to share Cheryl’s story although so sorry to see the reasons that inspired this brave act.

Skydiving For Charity

1. Who are you, how old are you and where do you live?

Cheryl Miller, Cover Teacher at The Willink School in Burghfield Common, I’m 31 and live in Burghfield Common, Reading with my husband and my 2 lovely dogs.

2. What motivated you to take part in the Skydive for Young Epilepsy?

I’ve always said I would like to do a Skydive and saw on facebook a group that were doing it for young epilepsy on March 26th Mothers day. Kirsty was diagnosed at 12 years old and Its Kirsty’s birthday on March 31st so thought it was quite fitting to do this in her memory, then realised it fell on mothers day so for me has double meaning really and doing it for my beautiful niece’s Soraya and Regan Walker and their darling mother my amazing sister Kirsty Marie Walker.

3. How did your sister’s epilepsy affect you as a family and in particular you as a sister?

My mother is also Epileptic so it’s something that we have grown up with from a very young age. I think when she got diagnosed with SUDEP it hit me a bit more that her Epilepsy was more severe than mums but you just don’t expect anything like that to happen.

3. How did you feel when you lost your sister and the twins?

Hysterical when I received the first call from my father, numb and upset with the call from my sister to say all 3 had gone, crushed and heartbroken when I saw them at the hospital, angry that there was nothing I could do to bring them back, guilty for not being there with her (we were always together). A lot of mixed emotions to be honest which come like waves over you it’s hard to explain but all I can say is it doesn’t get easier at all you just manage to control your emotions better, apart from on the really bad days where you just get emotional over something really small that reminds you of her.

4. What have you done to raise money since your sister passed away and who for?

I did a 5K colour obstacle run last year with friends, we held a big raffle at our local rugby club, Friends have done marathons, Quiz’s etc which has raised about £22,000 so far and we are still raising.

5. How have you trained for the Skydive?

There is no training I can do until the morning of the Skydive.

6. How are you feeling as the event gets closer?

Getting quite nervous now with just over a week to go but excited at the same time.

7. What would you say to encourage people to donate? https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Cheryl-Walker8?utm_source=facebook Please let me have a link to your fundraising page.

Peoples lives can be changed with this money, you never think Epilepsy will affect you but it can affect anyone and it’s like a time bomb.

8. What would your sister say if she knew you were doing the skydive?

I know she would say I’m absolutely mad but I know she would be so proud. She was always so supportive.

9. Is there anything else you would like to share?

There was only 14 moths between me and Kirsty we were so close not just in age. We told each other everything she was my confident and I was hers. I just miss her and would like to raise as much awareness as possible any money raised along the way is a bonus.

10. Who has helped you both whilst your sister struggled with epilepsy and the wider family after her loss? – friends, family, neigbours, organisations???

We are a very close family and speak to each other all the time, our friends have been fantastic I couldn’t ask for better friends supporting me through the hardest thing I hope I ever have to go through. Our neighbours are great and actually in the process of organising another Raffle in the girls memory. The charity’s have been great too, very supportive and so very grateful for any donations received. We have a big support network and very grateful to all of them.

You can donate via Cheryl’s fundraising page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Cheryl-Walker8

I am joining in the regular Monday initiative over on the Me and My Shadow blog where lovely Liz encourages us all to celebrate our bargain pre-owned finds.

Regular readers will know that I put out a wish list to the universe for things I wanted and they are coming in bit by bit. I actually found a bedside cabinet in the house so that is sorted for free. I am debating between two chairs for the kitchen, a stylish Ikea one or a traditional rocking one both at around the £20 mark.

I have my bean bag for £5 which is very pretty and as predicted has being seized upon by my daughter.

I think you will all love this topical portable box acquired for £15 but let’s face it, it is lovely.

I am going to use it to put children’s books in to ensure that we actually work through all the books they own rather than just sticking to the old favourites.

My plan is to put 21 books in each week and then change them every Sunday.

Tune in later to see how I get on as that sounds remarkably like being a good mother. I bought 3 books to add to their massive collection including Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales, an Usborne book of travel games and a lovely book with limericks and classics. The books were on a buy two and get a third free offer. My daughter also managed to con her father into another girly book.

I bought a bundle of lovely clothing from the Netmums Nearly New boards. These may well feature in my #groovingmums post tomorrow.

On a total charity shop bonanza on Saturday, we brought home.

1. Myself – a leather jacket for £8.99
2. Himself – various books of the thriller variety
3. Daughter – a 7 foot snake

You try managing a 7 foot snake and working your way with 3 children through Christmas shoppers. You can imagine the delight I am sure.

and probably a fair few things I have forgotten about already.

Now what is this about Him Indoors and a woman’s drawers? Well, I found the most lovely antique drawers for sale and agreed a price of £25 with the seller. Him Indoors turned up to collect them only for the seller to realise her husband had gone off with the key to the garage where the drawers were residing. That was one evening last week and Him Indoors tried to collect again yesterday to no avail when he could not remember the house number and was caught in heavy fog to boot. He phoned and texted but received no response. He really can’t get at this woman’s drawers but then again, he should be used to that predicament.

Do visit the Me and My Shadow blog and check out other contributions from the eagle-eyed Magpies.

This week’s topic is Gadgets. Gadgets don’t particularly excite me to be honest. If anyone wants to tell me what the following are and why I need them, leave a comment as I am looking for things to put on my Christmas list.

Mp3 player
Blackberry (something to do with crumble?)

I am not a geek at all so I consulted Stephen Fry’s Top 100 Gadgets list for inspiration. Probably only about 11 of them mattered to me and I have to choose just 5 items for this blog post.

Let’s forget the housework related ones and concentrate on the ones that give me pleasure or peace of mind.

1. Laptop – this has the power to do many things but I love most that it enables me to connect with other people and also to bombard the world with all my mad ideas.

2. Kettle – I have definitely measured out my life in coffee spoons so this is a big one for me. “Put the kettle on love” when my mum wanted a chat, to comfort me or herself. “Shall we have a coffee love?” when there was nothing else to do. Yes, coffee addiction is definitely a learned behaviour.

3. Thermometer – I am not a wise mum and think all mums should have parenting classes as soon as they get pregnant. However, the one thing that gives me stress relief when the children claim to be ill is to be able to whip out the thermometer for instant information leading either to reassurance or a call to action.

4. Television – I should watch a wider range of programmes to appreciate this fully. The fact remains that it informs and entertains which are both very good things.

5. Hearing Aid – I understand people with a hearing impairment used to have a terrible time in the past often wrongly being seen as stupid and cut off from other people. Hearing Aids are imporant for me as my Dad is hearing impaired and has being so as long as I can remember. I have the best conversations with my Dad so here’s to hearing aids.

Grandchild – I want a drink

Grandfather – What’s pink?

Grandchild – Get your hearing aid in!

Grandfather – Lemonade?

Grandchild – Result!

You Baby Me Mummy

I am having a go at the Britmums prompt on giving thanks rather late this week as I felt anything but thankful earlier in the week.

I started considering this post by looking at what other people have said about thankfulness.

“Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being. Each of us owes deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.” -Albert Schweitzer

I liked the above quote because not only does it gives hope on dark days but also enables us to realise that we can be the light-giver sometimes even if it is just by sharing our experiences. This week, I have read blogs about how mums who have experienced premature babies are now reaching out to others and offering information and back-up. Wonderful stuff.

I also think it is relevant to how people are digging deep this year when times are hard for so many to help Children in Need.

In both these situations, someone decides to do something proactive and great things happen.

So I am thankful for people who say “This is really not good enough” and instead of just complaining, do something themselves to campaign, to raise money and awareness.

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” -Buddha

I wish I had found Buddha’s quote earlier in the week when I had the blues. It appears I was not alone with many bloggers seeming to go downhill a bit emotionally and the talk on the telly being about November and how the darker days seem to affect mood.

Perhaps sometimes we just expect way too much not only of our days but also of ourselves. Today, I went out with my family and we indulged in very simple pleasures. A breakfast in a greasy spoon, a raid on various charity shops and having a go on a tombola. No big deal and yet we had a very happy day.

I am thankful for waking up to the fact that life is actually just fine even if my dozy brain tries to convince me otherwise sometimes.

Which of the quotes do you like best and what are you thanking your lucky stars for today?