The 100 Day Gratitude Challenge – Days 19 to 28

So I’ve realised I’d be better calling this ‘Weekly Gratitude Update’ because I’m not getting the time to update every day. Again, I have mentally noted my gratitude every day and so everything is as true as true can be. My writing might not be the best today. I’m sleep deprived but we’ll get to that later. (I just realised those with dirty minds will skip to day 27).

DAY 19: I’M GRATEFUL MY SON IS HEALTHY, BUT ALSO TO THE NHS FOR FREE HEALTHCARE FOR ALL

I’m a chatty type and talk to anyone who is standing around. To be fair, it’s the West Coast of Scotland and it’s quite normal most people to talk random folk nearby.  I got chatting to a mum on the way back from the school run today. I’ve spoken to the girl before but don’t know her name. After commenting on how lovely her baby’s blanket was, the mum told me where it came from. Her baby had Open Heart surgery to widen four  heart valves and a local charity gifted the baby with the blanket. The charity was set up by parents whose baby boy died of heart problems. The mum said that she’s been warned that her baby will need another big operation in the future and she may have complications throughout life. This beautiful happy baby looks the picture of health, I would never have guessed what she’s been through. Mum chatted for a long time about what it’s like to have the feeling of hopelessness when your child is sick.

As she was leaving she thanked me for listening, saying most people don’t want to talk about it. She feels like others put an end to the conversation because they don’t want to imagine it happening to their own child. As if it’s contagious.  I think it may be because people are lost for words or uncomfortable but, as I said to the mum, “people can could their blessings but nobody knows what’s in store in the future. Thankfully we have the angels at the NHS who do their best in if and when we need them.”

DAY 20:  ELF THE MUSICAL WITH MUM AND SON

This day was the most fun the three of us have had in AGES! It started off well. My son was happy because he was going on holiday (to Glasgow 30 miles away) after school and was getting the next day off. He was also super excited about staying in a cool hotel (Premier Inn) with myself and his granny. My mum was happy because she’s had many months of worry about my dads health and she was getting away for the night. I was happy (and grateful) for all of those things and (this was exciting) I found £70 in loose change around the house!  The lady at the bank wasn’t happy that I put mixed denominations in bags (I just thought you counted up to £10 a bag) and she had to count hundereds of coins – oops! She warmed to me eventually!  As mentioned in previous blog, we were very skint and in overdraft with ages until my husband got paid. £70 was like golddust! I pre-paid the hotel and theatre, mum bought a lovely dinner and I felt rich for the night.

The crowing glory of this great day was ‘Elf the Musical’. Whole families wore Elf outfits to the show, I saw grown men without children turn up in Elf ears. The crowd were enthusiastic. Buddy the Elf was innocence and Christmas cheer all wrapped up in a big bow. It was the happiest most chistmassy show I’ve seen and we all went to bed happy. I’m grateful for these special days.

DAY 21: I DIDN’T HAVE TO TAKE MY SON TO ATHLETICS

Now the next day was a bit of a hangover from happy, happy – without the alcohol. I was very tired and after a lovely day in Glasgow we got home around dinner time. I didn’t have the energy to take my son to Athletics. It was also raining heavily. Turns out son didn’t want to go either and we got to stay in and chill out. I was grateful!

DAY 22: PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED IN BUYING MY THINGS

I have been busy making some Christmas Eve Crafts and have started a little Facebook Selling Page. If I’m honest it’s because we were short on money and I was speculating to accumulate. I shared the page with friends and the orders are coming in. A lady contacted me to ask if I’d like a stall at her Christmas Fayre. She saw my items on a selling site and was looking for a Christmas Eve Box stall at her Fayre. I now have two Christmas Fayre’s lined up. Have never done anything like this in my life. Ok, I’m a little worried I’ll not look as professional as the others but I’ve nothing to lose. Here are a few of my things if you’d like to see why I’ve been busy recently:

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DAY 23: THE SPACE

I’ve been busy working on the crafts for those two Christmas Fayre’s I’m attending. Crafting takes up a lot of space and I’m grateful that I have a room available in the house where I can go and do my own thing.

DAY 24: SUNDAY

No need to rush anywhere and nobody making any demands of you. You can wear pj’s all day if you wish. We attended a Craft fayre in the hotel we married in, meandered around and came back home. Uneventful but just what we wanted. I am grateful for Sunday’s, the gentle day of the week.

DAY 25: NEW BEGINNINGS

Today I received an email to inform me I’m not on the register for a Classroom Assistant post. Work is not guaranteed, but considering my Childminding business is winding down I think it’s time to risk it and give notice to the parents and stop Childminding at the year end. My college course finishes in May and after that I’m considering working as an Early Years worker in a local nursery. Getting a foot in the door with the council seems like a good idea.

I have a degree and post-graduate degree in business related degrees but after working in business for a few years I know it’s not for me. Working with children is what I love doing and I’m excited for the future. Now to tell my mindees parents. They already know I applied for the work, so none will be surprised but it doesn’t stop me feeling guilty. Today I am grateful to have the opportunity for new beginnings.

DAY 26: OFFERS OF WORK

I received more Christmas Eve craft orders today and a phone call inviting me to work in a local primary school. I was just put on the register yesterday so that is quick!  The work was for a few weeks with a view for longer term. Unfortunately I had to turn it down due to working my current notice period, but it’s good that an offer came in so quickly. Hopefully a sign of the future.

DAY 27 – GETTING MY COLLEGE REPORT SUBMITTED

Last night/this morning I was up until 1.30am working on a college project. The deadline isn’t until the end of the week but my weekend is due to be busy and I needed to be submitting this report before then. I then spent the WHOLE DAY on the project. Three hours were spent cutting out 800 words to comply with word count. Why do they make it so small? I do waffle on though, don’t I?  Drumroll. . . .  I submitted it at midnight. I’m feeling elated and grateful it’s done and dusted and I get on with a normal(ish) life again.

 

 

The 100 Day Gratitude Challenge – Days 11 to 18!

Ah, I’m not doing well at posting daily. Here is a rundown of my gratitude over the past week. All is accurate and although I didn’t write it daily I did mentally note my thanks every day:

DAY 11: YOUTUBE
My son was off school with Croup. He seemed absolutely fine, but had that terrible bark that you get with Croup. After spending time with him I really needed to get on with my work. He can sit for hours watching YouTube. There’s a guy called Dan and another called Stampy. Dan is ok but I’m not happy with him setting fire to new expensive toys. There are people who can’t afford to buy their child that very same (and rare) toy! Stampy has an annoying laugh but is kind to his dog. They mostly play computer games on YouTube and are probably multi-millionaires. My son aspires to be just like them. I usually don’t like him watching them for hours but on this day when I had work to get on with and a sick son at home, I was ok with it. I should add that YouTube is excellent for parties. Everyone gets to pick a song they love. There is usually dancing and the oldies like to reminisce. It saves money on buying new music. Thank you YouTube. I am grateful for you.

DAY 12: GAMES CONSOLES
Now I realise I’m at risk of appearing like a neglectful mother (I’m not)! Son was off again today with his bad cough. We were afraid he’d cough up phlegm because he was running through to the bathroom a lot in the morning. After 9am when the schools were in he was feeling a better – a miracle eh? I was very busy again and grateful that he could spend time playing his Playstation/Xbox. He does spend too much time playing them and I do limit it but on this day it kept him amused and I could get on with my college work. I never thought I would say this, but thank you Games Consoles for (sometimes) making my life a little easier.

DAY 13: MY DAD DODGED A BULLET
Not an actual bullet, but a scan showed up Polyps in his Gall Bladder months ago. He had further tests recently and an appointment with a specialist today. I googled the condition (I know, I know, never google medical conditions) and there was a chance the Polyp could be cancerous. After a two hour wait on the specialist he was taken into a room and told that the Polyp had disappeared. Hurray! He still isn’t feeling good, but I am grateful that he doesn’t have Gall Bladder cancer. I’m thankful that is one bullet he has dodged.

DAY 14: WITNESSING FIRST TIMES
One joy of parenting is being in the privileged position of witnessing first times. My son is almost nine and past the stage of first walks and bike rides etc, but still I get to witness the excitement of other firsts. Today was the first time he walked home from school by himself. He was nervous and didn’t want to do it. I encouraged him because I do need to untie those apron strings. It’s a quick walk down a hill and two road crosses with lollypop people. I watched him from upstairs as he walked down, then went outside for him coming home. Doesn’t he look delighted with himself?

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DAY 15: MY PARENTS BABYSITTING
I moved away for ten years and was glad to come back to the area. Back to friends and family. On Friday (like most Friday’s) my son had a sleepover at my mum and dad’s house. He loves it there, they love having him and we love the peace and Saturday lie in bed. Many people struggle to find a babysitter, so I realise how fortunate I am. He eats lots of treats, goes to bed way past his usual bedtime and my mother mollycoddles him. I never complain because they are kind to take him, it’s only one night (so the food and sleep deprivation won’t kill him) and he’s happy. I am grateful to have parents who are happy to babysit and a son who is happy to go.

DAY 16: TIME BY MYSELF
I love my own company. I like me and I get along fine. No arguments. I can agree with myself on most decisions. Sometimes I can just sit and day dream for a while. Or I’ll google dream holiday destinations. I like to take a leisurely stroll or pop out for a peaceful jog. Nobody is here asking for dinner or where they put their keys or screaming because they don’t want to practise Viola. I don’t have to plaster on a fake smile and make small talk with work colleagues. I can channel hop and not care about another person being bothered. I can concentrate on writing poetry. Long lies alone mean I can stretch out in bed and not listen to anyone snoring. Today my husband left early and my son was with at my parents. I had a few hours of peace. Actually, I have a few hours every week day to myself. Some people think it must be awfully lonely. It’s not for me. I love time by myself and I am grateful for it.

DAY 17: THE FLY LEFT
There were two flies in my kitchen. I opened the door to let them out and tried to guide them by batting a large duster towards them. For half an hour. Is this what my life had come to? Some people are out saving lives or building empires and I’m here fighting with flies. No luck. They refused to budge. After a few days, one drowned in the sink. I felt guilty when I smiled at its demise. I was left with one irritating fly. Food on the worktops had to be covered at all times and I was constantly reminding the others in the house to do this. “The Fly! The fly will land on your food!” Sometimes the fly would leave the room and holiday in the play room or living room. Although annoying, I was just grateful it left the kitchen. Now I know what you’re thinking. Why not just kill the filthy fly and be done with it? I can’t. Although I smiled at the death of the drowned friend, I couldn’t live with myself if I killed it. What right do I have to take a life? Weeks passed. It entered the bathroom. I opened the window and sighed with relief. It will exit via the window. But my son left the door open and that was the end of that plan. I realise I’m dedicating a lot of words to the story of the fly. Most have stopped reading. This morning I came down to the kitchen and there was no fly buzzing around. I can’t see it anywhere. I am grateful the fly left. I’ve got my kitchen back.

DAY 18: OVERDRAFTS
We are skint. As in really very light on the cash flow. There is no flow. Two weeks until my husband gets paid and the bank balance is at zero. I have lost some childminding children recently (through no fault of my own) and told parents I am looking for new employment. An overdue bill for £160 came in. One of those ones that warn you that they will go to solicitors if you don’t pay. We are fortunate that we’re never usually this skint and rarely get letters like this. I am grateful for my overdraft. With it I was able to get the bill paid.

The 100 Day Gratitude Challenge – Days 8 to 10!

Oh dear, I’ve been so busy I haven’t managed to do this daily. Never fear, I have mentally been jotting down my gratitude each day with the knowledge I’ll be putting it all down on the blog. I can’t seem to type after the last photo so I’ll have to split this post in two. I should really know how to format in WordPress by now, shouldn’t I?

DAY 8: COMMUNITY SPIRIT

Last Friday the Parent Council for my son’s school ran a Bingo and Raffle night. I went along with my mum and son and we were lucky to get seats. It was so busy! The children and adults played prize bingo. All prizes were donated and they raised £1,000 for the children’s pantomime trip. I’m grateful for volunteers who give up their time and expect nothing in return. I’m grateful for all of those who donated prizes and for having a nice evening with my mum and son – reminiscent of prize bingo trips with my granny when I was young.

DAY 9:  BEING ACTIVE AND MOBILE

My in-laws house has just been sold and we were round there on Saturday to start clearing it. My husband spent most of the time driving to and from the Charity shop and myself and sister in law had to clear the loft. There was a lot up there! Check out the antique till and Sales Ledger that we found from their grandfathers butcher shop. The Ledger is dated from before World War Two.  My sister in law has health issues and after 15 minutes she was unable to help with the loft. She was sweating and panting and I could see how uncomfortable she was. She worked in the kitchen instead, another room that needed tended to. It was a few hours of hard work, but I managed to clear the rest of the loft by myself. I am grateful that I am fit and healthy enough to do basic chores like clearing a loft. We do take our health for granted and sometimes need a reminder that we are lucky to do the simple things in life.

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DAY 10: THAT GLOWY AFTERNOON SUNSHINE 

My son had Croup and apparently a cold outside in the fresh air helps. We walked down to the beach and took along the Metal Detector to find some treasures. This here is my favourite type of sunshine. It casts a wonderful golden glow and isn’t harsh on the eyes. I am grateful for the beautiful afternoon glowing sunshine.

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The 100 Day Gratitude Challenge – Day Five

DAY FOUR:  A STRONG CUP OF TEA 

I’m just in from college so this post is short and sweet. The opposite of how I like my tea. I like it long (brewed forever ’til it looks like tar) with not a touch of sugar. Finally finishing off the preparation with a miniscule amount of semi-skimmed milk. A pipette, if you will. This is merely for visual appeal as you can’t actually taste the milk. My tea is what you call “a builders tea”.  Because of my gravitation towards this strong tea family, no weak contenders will do. No, no, not at all. This is when the usually brand shy me insists on the best. Yorkshire tea it must be. In a big builders mug of course. None of this fine bone china shenanigans for me.  I admit to trying others. I’ll sometimes go to bed with ones that promise to be the things that dreams are made of.  They never are. I’m sorry.

Cheers to you strong tea! You’ve picked me up in the morning; given me much needed respite in the office (tea making is a good skiving opportunity); broken the ice with awkward visitors; soothed an aching heart and been a constant in a sometimes choppy changey (I know it’s not a word) life.  Despite your strong image, you would never make me do something I later regretted (like the demon drink).  You’re a gentle friend to me and I love you with a chocolate biscuit. Thanks 🙂

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The 100 Day Gratitude Challenge – Day Four

DAY THREE:  LIVING BY MY SEASIDE

Your seaside”, you say, “how so?” I don’t own my sea, have no deeds for a piece of beach nor any boat docked in a harbour. Anyone can walk on the sand here and dip their toes in the (not crystal clear) water.  They are welcome to skim stones and build sand castles.  I’ve even seen young children leaving the beach weighed down with pockets full of pebbles for their memory box. I don’t mind at all. This stretch of coastline is big enough for us all.

My seaside is on the West Coast.  It’s an hour from Glasgow and prior to the explosion of 1970’s Spanish holidays, this town was heaving with tourists and day trippers looking for a little bit of Scottish paradise. Apparently it was warmer then (hmm?) and the promenade was the Tinder of it’s time.   I arrived in 1975 just as the tourists stopped coming. The older generation were melancholy remembering the good old days, but it was beneficial for me. I had a great big empty seaside playground.  I built castles and mansions in the sand, walked a few of my childhood dogs and ate many a sandy crunch sandwich on picnic blankets down there. Romance was still alive and well down on that old promenade. Midnight walks, kisses and promises of undying love ensued. Always broken but the sentiment was there. When it all got too much I could hop on the ferry to the island across the way. There are a few islands adjacent to our coastline, so I had my pick.

 

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My seaside in the 1950’s during the Glasgow Fair Holiday

I moved away for ten years and spent half of this on the East Coast. Although the cliffs were stunning and puffins numerous, I still hankered after my seaside. The islands were replaced with oilrigs and there were signs telling us not to take the pebbles. I wondered how a child can leave behind that perfect heart shaped pebble on the beach?  Most of all though, I left a piece of me behind on that West Coast stretch. Memories and sentimentality perhaps? Maybe so.   l like to think though, that when I was playing and building castles on the sand, I was laying down my foundations. My roots were planted firmly and this was where I should be. Those roots were too strong to sever and so eventually I came back. Back to my seaside where I belong.

Seaside fun (for me anyway)
Dull rainy days never stopped me having fun. My brother, on the other hand…

The years have ticked along but still I’m down the promenade as often as I can. It’s the perfect safe spot to cycle, and the place is my reward at the end of a jog. Yesterday was another beautiful sunny November day and what better place to go than a jaunt to our coast. My son was excited to rock climb – the more daring the better. He prefers this to building castles. Come to think of it, those cliffs on the East Coast are perfect for adventurous climbers.

 

100 Day Gratitude Challenge – Everyone Welcome

I’m doing the 100 Day Gratitude Challenge. I know it’s been done 1,000 times before but I want to try it our for myself and see what all the fuss is about. I will write down one little thing a day that I’m grateful for and will include a photo where possible. This will see me through the dark winter up until 10th February. Anyone is welcome to join the challenge at any time. I would love to see what you are also grateful for, so please link to my blog. Perhaps we could create a little community, sharing with each other what makes our days a little brighter.