Tag: Thankful

Life is Fragile, and we need to treasure it.

Life is so fragile.  It may seem robust when we look at the hurley burly of traffic, deadlines and positive goal setting.  The truth is it is extremely fragile and although it is trite to say, we really only have today promised.

After returning from my adventure in South Africa, I found myself sitting on my sofa on a wet Saturday afternoon wondering.  I had such a wonderful time spending time in the country of my birth.  It was simply an awesome adventure in the sunshine.  And yet here I was in my living room, feeling a little sorry for myself.  I was surrounded by laundry drying indoors and contemplating the choices I have made in my life.

I think we all know this feeling.  The what ifs, and what could be if only something would change or was different.

Life is fragile

I then got news that a dear friend in South Africa had her life completely altered between going to bed and facing the new day.  Her husband was shot and killed.  This was a man in the prime of his life, father to two young men and husband to my friend.  His life was literally snatched and he no longer has any tomorrows.

The friends and family that are left behind have had their lives altered to such a degree that their tomorrows are dramatically altered.  A complete act of violence has created a fork in the road, and placed a road block on the original path.

This is just a huge reminder to me that life is fragile.  When I hear of tragedy and loss I am always reminded that we have an obligation to live each day with joy, remembering to be kind to others and to embrace possibility.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think it is very important to have dreams and visions and to strive to be a better person every day.  I constantly dream and plan for a future where I am living a life that is filled with all that I desire.  I work towards this too and practice journaling every day making plans for travel, work and creative pursuits.

I also continue with writing my book (almost complete now) where I share how I have changed my own life.  But, truthfully as we are reminded so often life is fragile.  It is delicate and should be nurtured and appreciated every day, and every minute of every day.

Cherishing my Adventure

I had so many wonderful experiences on my trip and I have the pleasure of being able to look back and remember them.  A bit like the song from the Sound of Music, these are a few of my favourite things.  Memories of moments, memories of people and reminders that living each day like it is your last is the only way to live this fragile life.

  • The bitter sweet taste of creamy cappuccino shared with my Mom and Dad.  Spooning the foamy froth from the bottom of the cup and relishing the bubbles popping on my tongue.
  • Sitting in my parents living room watching my son graduate with tears in my eyes because I wasn’t there, but joyful ones because I got to watch.
  • The prickle of heat sitting outside having breakfast and watching whales frolic in the ocean with my wonderful friends in Port Elizabeth.
  • Watching ice cream melt in front of me because I was so absorbed in chatting to a client in person that I had only ever met on Skype.
  • Waking up to freshly prepared fruit including African paw paw (papaya) prepared by my Dad.
  • Meeting my Facebook friends in real life.
  • Presenting my Deep Dive events and getting to know such wonderful woman, and understanding the value of woman who support woman.
  • Taking my joy of craft to a new audience.
  • I know I ate far too much cake, but I have no regrets.  The cake that was served with two forks for sharing was always the best.
  • I felt so connected to my African roots in the Rietvlei Nature Reserve watching and photographing my favourite zebras and then laughing so much when it was pointed out that the Zebra in front of my lens was excited and showing off his private parts!
  • I had really special times that were not traditionally high points.  Spending time working alongside my old friends, and simply chatting.
  • I drank many cups of tea and spent many hours just being with the people who are special and the richness of my life.
  • I saw old friends and met new friends.  I had a princess birthday party in October when my birthday is actually in June.  Thank you to my special mom and dad for making this happen for me.

Life is a fragile vessel

I could go on and on sharing little memories, and although I won’t bore you, I am making a mental promise to myself to life me my life as though it is a precious and fragile, but valuable vessel.

A vessel filled with memories and lessons learnt and lots of capacity of future dreams.  But most of all I am going to life my life relishing every single moment of every day and know that when I lay my head to sleep at night that I have lived and added to the lives around me.

Life is fragile and tomorrow isn’t promised for any of us.

Thank you for reading

Kerry xx

I am dedicating this blog post my friend Nikki Bush and her family.  Her late husband  no longer has any tomorrows as a result of senseless violence.

The Magic of Three – and how this little number helps me in my day to day life.

Three is a magic number.  Or so I am told.

I have been having a bit of a tough time lately.  I had two bad falls which set me back a bit.  As I stumbled around the house trying to get focus and motivate myself, I realised that three really is my magic number in so many ways.

I make a commitment to tackle (at least) three things off my to do list every day.  It might seem little, but when you look back on the week, know that you have achieved 21 things.  By using this focus I know that I move forward.  Sometimes little and often, but I do achieve what I set out to do.

As someone suffering from chronic conditions like arthritis and fibromyalgia it isn’t always easy.  Even if I think of keeping my home tidy – it is overwhelming.  By the 7th day of concussion and I was getting frustrated.  Three things I kept telling myself.  Put a wash on, unpack the dishwasher and wipe the counter.  Then you can sit down.  A little later I tackled three computer related tasks, and after that sent three thank you messages to friends who have helped me out.

By the time I got into bed I felt a real sense of accomplishment despite the fact that I was ‘under the weather’.

The Magic of Three – in so many ways

Every night before I go to sleep I always recall three things I am grateful for.  Sometimes it is more than three, but never less.  This really puts me into such a positive place.

The more I think about it three is a number that resonates through my life.  It is a small number but a perfect number.  It is just enough but not overwhelming.  Add a few threes together and you can really rack up some impressive personal statistics.

Imagine if we saved 3 Euro a day.  That isn’t a lot – a cup of coffee.  Over a month that is 90 Euro.  Over a year it is over a 1000 Euro – more than enough for a holiday.

Three and its multiples are also a great way of dividing up your day.  As I mentioned before I need to pace myself due to my conditions.  By dividing my day into 30 and 60 minute chunks I can ensure that I get enough rest time and also get things done.

I have followed this principle for a while now and I can honestly say that 3 is my magic number.

The internet of things

The internet is awash wish apps, blog posts, and articles confirming that by simply using a formula of three we can become happier and more effective in life.

I have downloaded the 3 Good Things app for my phone and am going to see how that goes.

Before writing this blog post I did a little bit of internet research as to why 3 is a number that seems to have magical properties.

  • As a creative person I was delighted to be reminded that there are 3 primary colours
  • Almost all religions have 3 as a sacred number
  • Mathematicians will confirm that 3 is a really cool number.  It is the first prime number and of course is the first number that forms a geometric shape – the triangle

So many things come in threes – here are a few random ones that delighted me.

  • The beginning, the middle and the end
  • The past, the present and the future
  • The three bones in the human ear
  • The three little pigs
  • The beauty of 3 dimensions
  • And of course the perfect 3  minute egg.

Frivolity aside, I am happy that I have the number three in my life.  It really helps me to pace myself, feel productive and puts me in a lovely positive mindset as I am reminded daily that we have at least three things to be grateful for.

Thank you so much for reading xx

Kerry

 

Empty Nest  – a Syndrome or an Opportunity

On Tuesday last week I waved my son off on a journey that will propel him into the real world.  I closed the door and burst into tears.

I could not really explain the tear. They just came and the more I tried to stop them, the more they flowed.  I was a bit taken aback as I thought I had my head around it all.

From birth our role as a parent is as a nurturer.  We feed our children, keep them safe and do everything we can to make them smile.

I am a proud Mom

I am incredibly proud of the young man who is my son.  My son is a hard worker who is passionate about everything he does.  In my opinion he has unusual clarity about his life’s goals and is now on the way to a wonderful future.

He has had a fascination for computer games and programming for since his early teens and has worked steadily away in tandem with finishing school and then completing a degree in Theoretical Physics.  And, now he embarks on his new adventure as a games play programmer working on his dream game.  Yes, I am proud, extremely proud.  But, this job is near Manchester in the United Kingdom. So he is not only starting out in his new career and a whole new chapter of his life, but he has moved to another country.

Of course I will be visiting, and I have already started looking at flights and planning get-aways, but ultimately this week marks the end of my role as a mother to a child and the beginning of true adulthood for my son.

So an empty nest.  What does that mean?

In some ways I feel a fraud talking about my empty nest as he and I have lived apart for a while now between college and other things.  I did have the joy of having him under my roof for a couple of months after college which was a gift which I cherish.

An empty nest for me it marks the end of an era.  My child is now a tax paying adult!  It changes nothing about how I feel about him.  I will continue to worry about if he is eating well and meeting nice people, and that he is happy.  That part of mothering never turns off.  I do know however that as he left the nest, he is ready to fly.

I am sure that he will feel the excitement I once felt when I started out on my own and moved into my first flat with my sister.  The day I was shown my first desk at my first job, and the day I received my first pay cheque.

I have allowed myself a few days to get used to the idea that we no longer life in the same country, never mind the same house or town.  I have had a glass (or two) of Prosecco to celebrate his success and talk endlessly about how I feel, but now it is time to face up to what this empty nest means for me.

An Empty Nest as a launch pad?

I am at a stage in my life when I too can stand on the edge of the nest and decide where to fly.  What changes can I make in my life?  What destinations can I choose to fly too.

I know that many people of my age face the same challenges.  In a way it is an exciting phase for us empty nesters too.  We can play the game of reinvention.  I am putting myself in the way of opportunities.  I am determined to embrace my creative side and work on my art with the long-term aim of holding an exhibition.

You don’t get to 53 without accumulating. I have so many ‘things’ in terms of items that need dusting and tidying. So instead of shopping I am looking to spend my time and money on experiences.  I have booked to go to the National Gallery to see the Vermeer exhibition, signed up for an international craft class, and am playing short away trips.

South Africa is my destination in October and I am planning on spending time creating some wonderful new memories with friends old and new during my trip.  I will also stop off in Dubai for some special family time with my sister.

I have decided to consciously consider myself a Mommy bird who looks at her nest and instead of seeing it as empty sees it as an opportunity to fly.

As I continue to celebrate being fabulous in my fifties I hope you come back to share my journey here.

Thank you for reading.

Kerry xx

Introducing the gifts drawer – the joy of planning and giving

The Gift  Drawer Fabuliciousfifty

 

I love buying gifts, I buy them all year round and then keep them in a very important place – my gift drawer.

It isn’t about the value of the gift for me, but rather about the sentiment, and the person I am buying for.  I get so excited when I find something that simply shouts out a name, and I know it is the right gift.

My gift drawer makes me smile.  It has some random goodies collected throughout the year.  It is lovely to know that when November comes and Christmas countdown begins, I can rummage through my drawer. I always find that I have collected lots of gorgeous goodies specifically for the special people in my life.

Not just for Christmas

Of course a gift drawer is not just for Christmas (although it certainly helps). It is also there for birthdays and those very important gifts – gifts with no reason.

Quite often when I am going to visit someone instead of buying chocolates or wine, I might have a peek in the present drawer.  This magical drawer often yields just the right thing to take along and make my host feel special.

I do love giving but I have honestly learnt the best lessons on giving from getting.  I think of the feeling I had when a friend arrived with a paper bag full of little gifts all of which show how well she knows me and how much she cares.

Lots of gifts at the ready

When I was a little girl I had a lisp.  Legend has it that when I was asked what I wanted for Christmas I replied Biths and Pieces.  I still think it is a great idea.  I delight in lots of little parcels – all with meaning.   Because of this, I rarely buy one large gift but prefer to collect up a little grouping of special things with great memories and thoughts.

I am blessed to have friends and family who think like me, and treat me to special times unwrapping little gifts all carefully thought out.

Home made treasures

I also make a lot of my gifts – upcycling common household items and of course raiding my craft supplies.  A personalised gift is a great way of telling someone who you really care.  For this reason I have a second drawer with items that fit into this category.  This year I am going to be creating some personalised jewellery using mini art works and photographs.  I am also determined to try the Sharpie oven bake idea for personalising gifts.

Wrapping and writing

The third drawer down in this magical chest is the wrapping and writing drawer.  The place where I keep wrapping paper, tissue, ribbons and cards.  And of course tape and scissors (as I am always looking for them!

My mom always takes so much time wrapping gifts.  I remember Christmas where each gift was wrapped in tissue and then in matching cellophane and then curly bows pulled with scissors.  These are the memories that make me smile!

Thank you for reading

Kerry x

 

 

What is your definition of Fabulous?

 

Fabulous means being the absolute best version of yourself.  It means tapping into yourself and understanding exactly who you are and them adding a bit of oomph!

Be fabulousA dictionary defines fabulous as being extraordinary – it is a superlative, but a good one!!

When I started my blog I chose the name and the meaning because I was striving to overcome quite a few things that had landed in my way.  I was rebuilding my life after a marriage breakdown, dealing with depression, kick starting a career at fifty and dealing with a couple of auto-immune diseases that meant that pain was a constant companion.

Be Fabulous.  I said this to myself on a daily basis.  I was tapping into the idea that if you act the act and talk the talk it will become reality.  Every morning I get up, I do my hair (which was a challenge when it started to fall out), and do my make-up.  I learnt new make-up tricks and started treating myself to new products.

My wardrobe became my friend as I started to put together outfits that made me feel fabulous.  I have some great favourites like a cobalt blue chiffon jacket that makes me feel good on a bad day.

For me this seemingly superficial attention to detail was a great trigger to feeling better. By taking care of myself on this level I started to pay more attention to the next level down and took time to give my skin nourishment and to start putting a walking plan into place.

Slowly the sense of fabulousness filtered through to a deeper level where I take time to nourish my mind and body on a daily basis.  I make sure I have time each day to simply be.  To sit and think.

I have a huge amount of work to do in my life – not least of which is my tidying and decluttering journey which is my current voyage.

A tribe of Fabulous Women

A huge joy for me this past year has been starting a group on Facebook of Fabulous Women.  Here I have met so many wonderful ladies who all define fabulous in a different way.

The constant is that we as fabulous women lift each other up and celebrate our uniqueness in a positive way.  Fabulous women are kind, they are caring and they are fierce when needed.  These are women who are determined that life circumstances will not get them down, and that when they rise, they will hold out their hands to the other women in their circle and lift them up.

What does Fabulous mean to you?

For each of us feeling fabulous means something different.  We are not all into hair and make-up, and we are not all into hiking.  This is what makes it such fun – we are all unique.

My wish is that we can all take a minute a day and tap into what makes us feel fabulous.  And if you, like me need to act it and talk it until it is a reality – then that is ok too.

 

I would love to hear how you define fabulous.  Please feel free to contact me and let me know.

If you would like to join the group on Facebook you are very welcome!  We are now over 1500 Fabulous Women!

Thank you for reading

Kerry xx

Celebrating my birthday with Joy

I have always loved celebrating my birthday.  I guess it is really just a great excuse to get together with family and friends and celebrate life.

There is always reason to celebrateAs I get older (and I will be 52 in a few days time), I try and reason with myself.  You are too old, too tired, not well enough, it will be too much work, and then something happens to remind me why we should celebrate our birthdays.

Last week I listened to Facebook CEO, Sheryl Sandberg’s commencement speech at the University of California, Berkeley.

Sheryl Sandberg is a fabulous woman in my opinion, and has shown just how strong she is following the death of her husband just over a year ago.  In this speech she is very honest and quite emotional about the shock of dealing with his sudden death and how she has coped.

She talks about finding joy and meaning. “Dave’s death changed me in profound ways. I learned about the depths of sadness and the brutality of loss. But I also learned that when life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again. I learned that in the face of the void — or in the face of any challenge — you can choose joy and meaning.”

Choosing joy over sadness can be really hard, but the rewards are immense.

I urge you to listen to the speech which you can do here.  Her honesty about pain and hurt is so real, but so is the message that we can continue on.

Now what has this to do with cake?  During her address Sheryl Sandberg says “I used to celebrate my birthday every five years, and friends’ birthdays sometimes. Now I celebrate always.”

We do not know what is ahead of us, but what I do know is that my riches in my life are in people, my friends and family.  A birthday party – why not?  It is a great excuse to celebrate life and to focus on gratitude for what we have experienced this last year.

I have decided that this year I will simply open my home, and spend quality sofa time with wonderful people.  It is an open invitation to if you would like to join in, please message me.

I have chosen to celebrate on 6 June which is a day early, but as it is a bank holiday it will be lovely and relaxing.

I urge you to use any excuse really to celebrate and spread joy.

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

Human Kindness – the Story of the Yellow Handbag

The Yellow Handbag and a story of kindness

 

This is a little story about a yellow handbag, but really it is a story about human kindness.

I was visiting London just after Christmas and was delighted to receive a beautiful yellow handbag as a gift from my sister. I was excited, and immediately changed everything over.

The next day I packed up my things to catch a train to Birmingham where I was attending a craft exhibition at the NEC.  I felt really smart heading off with my new handbag and a borrowed backpack.

I need to stop here and draw a little picture of where I was in my life at the time.  I was suffering from severe depression and had made a decision (on my own) to come off the anti-depressants.  While I was over in London my Dad was diagnosed with prostrate cancer, and I was trying to process this.  Life was a little hard, to be honest but I was still determined that all would be well.

On the second day of the exhibition I packed up early and had a quick breakfast in my hotel in the centre of Birmingham before catching the rush hour train from Birmingham Central to Birmingham International.  I boarded the train with my backpack, my yellow handbag and my bag of goodies from the exhibition.

What I didn’t realise was that my body was going into withdrawal from the anti-depressants and that quite honestly I was cracking up.

It is a short distance from the station to the exhibiton.  Considering the day ahead, I walked along and then  I stopped and stumbled and nearly fell over in shock.  I didn’t have my handbag with me.

Passport, money, phone,  train ticket, air ticket, house and car keys, everything.  I felt physically sick.

I stumbled along to the organiser’s office where I told them what had happened.  They offered me a seat and the use of the phone.  By this stage everything had closed in on me.  I was crying uncontrollably.  The shock added to everything else that was going on in my life, the worry about my Dad and the loss of my handbag had flattened me.

I had no idea how I could even get back to London, never mind Ireland.

I walked back to the station and asked about my ticket.  “You need to purchase another ticket to London”, I was told.  I walked back to the NEC – I didn’t know what to do.

Human Kindness from a friend

On returning to the exhibition I tried to focus and realised that I needed money of some sort to at least get back to London and to my sister.  Thankfully Sara from Crafters Companion, who was exhibiting, knew me didn’t even hesitate – she loaned me 50 Pounds.

I tried to enjoy the exhibition but by this stage my heart was not in it.  I felt broken.

Walking back to the station, yet again I really didn’t know what to do.  Something led me back to the enquiries office where I had been turned away earlier.  The man on duty clearly saw my distress and told me to go down to Platform 7.

Human Kindness from a stranger

There I met the kindest man who took my missing handbag seriously.  He called everyone he knew.  He traced the train down to London where it was on a siding being cleaned.  He spoke to the cleaners.  He left no stone un-turned.  He checked every station along the way.  He checked lost property.  I just sat there with my crumpled tissue feeling lost and desperate.

Eventually he had exhausted all his options and we called the police.  There had been a number of incidents where handbags had been stolen they told me.  They took down the report.

Just as I sat down the phone rang.  ‘Stay here,” he said.  Minutes later he walked in with my handbag.  My beautiful handbag.  ‘Check it please,” he said.  I did and nothing at all was missing.

Human Kindness from a woman I never met

The story was that one of the staff members on Virgin Trains had seen me get on the train at Birmingham Central with the yellow handbag and seen me get off at Birmingham International without it.  She was near the area where I was sitting, and rescued my handbag and brought it back to Birmingham International where she knew I would be stranded.

This was quite a few years ago, but I have never forgotten the kindness of the man who helped me search for the bag and the woman who had cared enough to bring it back to me.  I don’t know if it is possible, but perhaps through social media I might find this angel and be able to thank her properly.

If you have a kindness story, I would love to hear it.

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

 

 

 

 

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