A Big Few Days…

General Hottie Hospital by Foxy Belle

General Hottie Hospital by Foxy Belle

“It never rains, but it pours.” ~ Old English Proverb

 

Forgive me. This post is late in coming. Or early. Depending on how you look at it.

You see, we had just returned home to the farm to catch our breath when Ben became unwell. Unwell gave way to a difficult night, a worsening of symptoms and a dash to hospital back in the city again. At three o-clock in the morning.

I’ve had four hours sleep in the past two days. So I’m a bit wrecked. Too many family ill and occupying my thoughts and care right now.

Although I did get an awful lot of colouring done while sitting in hospital waiting rooms.

2015-06-12 10.01.51

Ben’s finally home, with a raft of drugs, and under the watchful attention of myself and Nurse Bert. At the first sign of any worsening he’ll be straight back in hospital, so he’d better behave!  Harry, of course, is also glued to Ben’s side, and has not chewed up a single thing. So far…

So I’m giving myself the weekend off, to catch up on some sleep and to look after my family. See you on Monday.

All my love, Nicole <3 xoxo

PS – I had to laugh. When I looked up the General Hottie Hospital images, I found out that the male doll’s name is Ben. He’d love that. Especially this next shot, which of course, bore NO resemblance to his actual hospital stay!

General Hottie Hospital by Foxy Belle

General Hottie Hospital by Foxy Belle

Reflections From A Cancer Clinic Waiting Room

Image from pixgood.com

Image from pixgood.com

“From even the greatest of horrors irony is seldom absent.”
~ H.P. Lovecraft, Tales of H.P. Lovecraft

A small family cluster of us sat endlessly in the waiting room of a cancer clinic yesterday.

It was a busy place, at a busy hospital. On the way to the clinic, we’d passed a young woman who had lost her eye, a man in a wheelchair missing a foot, a series of shuffling and shambling patients of various ages.

There were hosts of worried relatives in thrown-together outfits, looking careworn and in need of coffee and a hug.

The waiting room was packed. We found seats underneath a television screen we could not see. But I listened to the running commentary.

The irony was not lost on me. Television spruikers talked about the importance of skin care and maintaining our youthful appearance. Life was better with young skin. You would be more popular, and get better jobs. You could look  like a movie star. Then there was a miracle exercise machine to effortlessly melt fat. It came with complimentary mineral makeup. Call now!

How truly offensive it was, listening to these paid presenters playing to our insecurities. Deprived of the pictures, the commentary took on a lewd ignorance.

Here I was, surrounded by people fighting for their lives.

For some, the fight isn’t going well. For some, the fight will be lost.

People bald from chemo, their skin fragile, bruised and thin, their faces bloated and round or gaunt and pale, looked away from the screen. I saw beauty in every single one. I witnessed the most tender exchanges of love and care. I saw how valued and precious each person was to their family and friends.

You are beautiful. Life is beautiful. This endless quest for youth and physical perfection is the ugly thing.

Hug your loved ones today. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to the people around you. Don’t buy into that garbage on television and the media. What’s inside you will always matter more that big hair, white teeth or a perfect hip-thigh ratio.

I love you. Right now. Just as you are.

Nicole <3 xoxo

Being There For Loved Ones

ducks-on-the-dam

“It is only in our darkest hours that we may discover the true strength of the brilliant light within ourselves that can never, ever, be dimmed.” Doe Zantamata

Hello Lovelies,

Our family is going through some big stuff right now. Being there for my family is taking almost all of my time, and pre-occupying all of my thoughts.

It’s a difficult time. It’s also in some ways, even in the midst of great pain, a luminously beautiful time as we all come together to support each other. It reminds us how love is a force in our lives, that binds us and brings out the best in us.

I may not be timely in turning up right now while my priorities are elsewhere. My posts may be short. You might find it hard to contact me.

I’m sorry for that, but right now my family need me and that’s where I need to be.

I know you’ll understand.

All my love, Nicole <3 xx

Everything Will Wait, Except The Things That Can’t

2015-01-24 18.16.23

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
~ Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

 

Illness has taught me many things. One of them is that most things can wait.

Strangely, it has also shown me that some things can’t.

When something, or someone, really matters to you, it’s amazing what can be reprioritised. On all but my very worst days I have found myself able to blog. You’re important to me – our friendship means a lot. Writing is one thing that I’ll find a way to do unless I absolutely can’t get out of bed, or function in a useful way.

If one of my animals was hurt I would be right there. If they needed me – unless I was on my last breath, and even then I think I’d try – I’d move mountains for my family, my husband, my dearest friends. There is a strength within us all that still surprises me when I dig deep and find it there waiting.

You don’t need to have illness to sharpen your focus about knowing what will wait, and what can’t. Use your values. Trust your heart.

I’m not talking the crazy desperate kind of sacrifice where we throw away what was important to us in order to support or sustain a bad relationship, or to get the attention of someone who was never worth our while. When we feel into those situations we can taste the crazy. We cringe a little, knowing our aim is off and then we rush forward hoping that fortune will favour us and momentum will clear away the whispering voice of our conscience that has already owned our stupidity or pointless gesture.

The things that can’t wait are clearly recognised and understood by our hearts. Our minds unify with our hearts, and burn with a bright purpose. We are transformed by a deep conviction. In short, we just know that this thing needs to be our utmost priority, letting everything else fall away.

There is something solid and steadfast in right choices. Even when we lose, we don’t regret our actions. We are guided by something so right and true within us. Doubt never creeps in. Not then. Not later. Our faith holds.

To be there for a loved one in crisis. To support a friend. To stand up for someone. To submit that paper. To voice our needs. To rescue that dog. To make that call.

We are compelled.

Always listen to that compulsion. Trust yourself to act. I sometimes think that God and all the angels and energies beyond our ken gather in that moment of decision to give us wings, to uplift and carry us, to enable us to help others or ourselves, to shine and claim our moment or to survive whatever may come. It’s a blessed space. A space of pure flow and love.

Look inside yourself and I know you’ll understand what I mean. Everything will wait, except the things that can’t.

Thank you for being here for me, my beautiful friends.

Much, much love to you, and some really big hugs,

Nicole <3 xoxo

 

 

We Are All Exhausted

2014-11-20 06.33.57

“He’s our rodent control officer. He doesn’t catch mice, he just terrifies them.”
~ Lilian Jackson Braun

 

I’d love to be writing an interesting and wordy blog this morning, but we are all exhausted. We being Harry, Bert and I. Ben is lucky enough to be somewhere else just now. Of course. He always misses the excitement.

Shortly after I hopped into bed and turned the light off last night we heard a faint scratching noise.

And then again.

After which we heard a squeak.

Harry was prepared to ignore it. I was vaguely concerned but thought it could wait until morning.

Bert? Bert leapt off the bed (oops, shush, dog on the bed, don’t tell Ben!), and went snuffling and wuffling over to the wardrobe. He wouldn’t let up until I opened the door.

Snuffle, wuffle wuffle, and then to my surprise a tiny mouse darted out of a box Ben had recently brought back from the farm.

Bert raced after it, and so it began.

All night Bert and the mouse ran all over the house (Try til 2am!) until finally he cornered the little critter in the cupboard under the sink in the downstairs bathroom, whose door I had left open to remind me to replenish the toilet paper in that room.

DSC04093

We reached an impasse. Bert would not move, and in my sleep-deprived state I had no idea how to catch the mouse. I left Brave Sir Bert standing guard over the small rodent and went to bed.

This morning Bert was still guarding the mouse, which had died in the night, probably from fright.

Hopefully the mouse had no other friends, and tonight we shall all be able to get some sleep!

 

Join Me For A Letter Writing Challenge?

Image from imgkid.com

Image from imgkid.com

“More than kisses, letters mingle souls.”
~John Donne

“Only write to me, write to me, I love to see the hop and skip and sudden starts of your ink.”
~ A.S. Byatt, Possession

“Harry picked it up and stared at it, his heart twanging like a giant elastic band. No one, ever, in his whole life, had written to him. Who would? He had no friends, no other relatives ~  he didn’t belong to the library, so he’d never even got rude notes asking for books back. Yet here it was, a letter, addressed so plainly there could be no mistake:

Mr. H. Potter
The Cupboard under the Stairs
4 Privet Drive
Little Whinging
Surrey

~ J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

 

Hello, Lovelies!

Today I’m asking you if you’d like to join me for a letter writing challenge.

In the top drawer of my desk I have some very precious letters that have been sent to me over the years. One of them was penned by my mum, when she went into hospital to give birth to my little sister. That’s my earliest letter. I  have cards and notes from old school friends, love letters, and precious letters from my grandparents – all of whom are now deceased.

I treasure a box full of letters and cards from clients and students.

At my lowest or loneliest moments I have found solace in those scraps of paper and card. They have made me laugh, they have made me cry, and they have waltzed me down memory lane in a way no text message or email ever could.

There is also a special timber box at my farm full of letters for my Secret Dream Project – a project where I invited people to write me letters, so that I could support the space for their most secret dreams to come to fruition. I read the letters, and then programmed a crystal for each one.

2013-05-08 17.59.22

Letters can be transformative for both the writer and the reader.

Over the next six weeks, every Monday, I shall post a theme and ideas, and ask you to pen a short (or long!) letter to someone, and then pop it in the post to them.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Your favourite pen or writing implement
  • Writing paper, cards or postcards
  • A small crystal or stone
  • Between five and thirty minutes each week to sit down and write your letter.

Will you join me in sending some love and positive energy into the world?

If the answer is yes, write your name below or pop over to my facebook page and say hi. (Of course you can always just join in the challenge and be anonymous, but it’s so much fun to connect and join the party! – Either which way, I honour you.)

Lots of love, Nicole xx

I’m-just-a-little-pencil-in-the-hand-of-a-writing-God-sending-a-love-letter-to-the-world.―-Mother-Teresa-Quotes

Waiting for Matooluff

Image from apps4kids

Image from apps4kids

“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

 

It’s about this time of year that I start waiting for Matooluff.

When I was just a tiny little girl, maybe three or four, my baby sister and I stayed overnight at my grandparents’ house while Mum and Dad went out to a Christmas Party. Pa promised that while they were gone we would have a party of our own.

NicoleFluffyJacket

Before dinner Pa invited Nana, my sister and I into the TV room, a modest room at the front of their house. It was Pa’s lair – set up with his desk, a television and two chairs, and a wooden cabinet built into the wall that housed a radio, a record player and Pa’s bar where he made the Happy Hour drinks for he and Nana each night.

Pa made my sister and I pink lemonades in stylish glasses with little paper umbrellas poked into glace cherries on the rim. It was incredibly glamorous. There were also snacks – cheezels in a little crystal dish, and some cheese and biscuits in a wooden bowl. Nana and Pa drank scotch and ice with soda water from Pa’s special soda-making bottle.

Image from Kate Beavis

Image from Kate Beavis

Then Pa placed a record on the turntable for us, and I was mesmerised by a song about Matooluff bringing twelve days worth of incredible gifts for Christmas. Lords leaping, maids milking, swans swimming and partridges in pear trees.

The whole tune played out in my head in fantastical images.

When the song finished I asked Pa, “Who’s Matooluff?”

Pa thought for a minute, and then he said, “Santa’s most magical elf, of course.”

I heard the same song on the radio yesterday, and I was transported back to that time in my life where I’d wait in bed each night, hoping for Matooluff to turn up.

I’m still waiting, and I’m sure he’s out there somewhere. :)

Here’s the song, from the very album…