Thoughts

Wrapped in Love.

A few days ago I was having a conversation with one of my grown-up sons about our families’ Christmas traditions.  After talking for a while he said:  “Mum, Christmas is all about the presents”.  For a minute I was a little shocked.  Having been brought up in a religious family, but not having religiously followed that route I felt momentarily sad, and a little guilty that my son held that view.  But then I started thinking about our Christmases as a family over the years, and the joy of our present giving ceremony,  and I realized that my sons’ sentence held a lot more meaning than I had at first thought.

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I always love this time of year when conversations start to turn to what everyone would like.  I have always encouraged my children to either buy or make presents for each other, as well as expecting a present from me or a stocking from Santa.  It’s never been a competition, there has never been any expectation to spend a certain amount, but I love the fact that at this celebratory time of the year they all have a reason to stop for a moment, think about one another, and decide what they can give to show their love.

It made me realize that the presents we give to each other are not just about the gift inside, but about the process of giving.  We take time to think about that special person, we consider their needs and wants, we talk about it, we shop for it, and then we choose the paper and ‘wrap it in love’.  Seeing my Christmas tree surrounded by presents is like seeing all the love our family holds for each other in one place on one day

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As a family, we sit down after a scrumptious breakfast and then one by one, each family member gets their presents from under the tree and hands them out to those around them.  We wait patiently until the last person has their present then we all open them together.  A chorus of thanks is heard, quite often accompanied by a little surprise or laughter at what was inside and at times maybe a few tears.   It’s a special time and I always feel a real sense of pride as I see the love they have for each other, expressed in the gifts they are giving.

After a little thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that Christmas might not be all about the presents, but it is definitely about the gift.  The gift of love that is expressed through our traditions, whatever religious beliefs we might hold in our hearts, and the gift of a family,  who having faced the highs and the lows of the year,  take time to wrap each other in love around the Christmas tree.

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Love Alison x

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Thoughts

I Want My Way

While sat on my sofa, comfortably watching tv in the home that I have known and loved for the last 12 years, my thoughts turned to Gary and his family, who over the last few weeks have suffered a loss that I personally find unimaginable.  I have followed Gary’s blog since I joined this lovely WordPress family and have so enjoyed reading about his life’s journey, until a couple of weeks ago when I read his blog and my heart broke.

I am quite sure if you have time to read it that you will understand why.

Thoughts are with you and your family Gary.

Love Alison x

Another Picture On The Wall

I lived in a house, no let me start over. I lived in a home that echoed with 30 years worth of our laughter, sweat, anxiety, celebrations, arguments, prayers, tears, Easter egg hunts, middle of the night conversations, daughters’ boyfriends I did not approve of, memories initiated from old photos, music, and hundreds of birthday candles being blown out just after a personal wish that was never, ever shared but always well contemplated before being chosen.

A fire swept through that home 12 days ago and now those echoes have been turned to ashes and blown miles from Paradise California. Perhaps some will eventually mingle with the echoes of your life and loves.

I want to go home. I want all those things back. I want thousands of people’s sufferings to be reversed. I want to wake up from the nightmare. Just like that toddler throwing a tantrum in the…

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Thoughts

Standing on the shoulders of Giants.

While sat watching the service of remembrance at this 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, 100 years to the day since the silent guns marked the end of World War 1, I am filled with gratitude.

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Gratitude for the Men who left behind families they loved,  giving my family the lives we have today, and gratitude for the women who kept the home fires burning, taking on many of the traditional roles of the men as they were away serving their country.

This picture posted on Facebook a few weeks ago really hit me.  How easy it is to go through our lives day by day, completely forgetting the price that these men paid.  Yet we are living in a better world today because of their sacrifice.

I don’t find war easy to contemplate, I have a mind that is much happier thinking of pleasant things, and struggle to allow myself to think of the realities and horrors of countries at war.  But today I am watching, thinking and remembering as I quietly pay my respect to those ‘Giants on whose shoulders I am standing’.

I believe that we stand on the shoulders of so many giants.  Not just the soldiers who fought for our country in the first and second world wars, but of the many great men and women who have gone before us, who have laid the stones of the pavements on which we walk, and the foundations on which our lives are built

Each new generation is in some way standing on the shoulders of the last, reaping the benefits of the work that was done and the lessons that were learned.

While out in my car this afternoon with the radio on I was reminded of a song by Mike and the Mechanics  ‘The Living Years’ .   The lyrics were written by band members between the time of losing their own fathers and being about to become fathers themselves.  It’s a great song but today the words  ‘Every generation blames the one before’  weighed heavy on my heart, as surely along with the soldiers we are honouring we should be thanking them for what they have sacrificed and achieved in order to make our world a better, safer place.

I leave you with some inspirational quotes that touched me today.

George S. Patton, an American soldier
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”

G.K. Chesterton, English author
“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”

Lane Allen Evans, American politician
“Without the brave efforts of all the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines and their families, this nation, along with our allies around the world, would not stand so boldly, shine so brightly and live so freely.”

 

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With love and gratitude

Alison x

 

 

 

 

Thoughts

Lifes ever changing landscape.

On friday last week I was sat by my mums grave having put some flowers in the vase, it would have been her 89th birthday.  I miss her, but the sun was shining and as I looked across the fields I felt at peace,  knowing that she had lived a good long life.

A few days earlier my neighbour was found laying in his garden, he had been suffering with ill-health for a while.  His life came to an end at the age of 48, and although we didn’t have a lot to do with each other I am really feeling his absence in the street.  He lived opposite me so I would often see him coming and going, but the fact that he is no longer there has changed the landscape of my life.

The natural landscape is changing all around us at the moment as mother nature begins to paint a new scene before our eyes.  She is taking her time over it but autumn is slowly emerging, and life is becoming full of colour and breath-taking beauty.  One thing we can always rely on is the ever-changing landscape of the seasons and we adjust and adapt fairly quickly.  A quick dig around for our favourite jumpers, jeans and boots and we are ready to go, but when the people who are part of that landscape are no longer there it takes a lot more time to adjust, and we are forced to take stock of our own lives.

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When those we know or love are taken from us whether through old age or an unexpected event it’s as if the artist has erased that figure from the canvas, everything else looks the same but a vital part of our life’s painting is missing.  We have to gently and gradually work our way through until one day we can look at that painting again realizing that it actually looks ok, different but ok.

Isnt it so easy to take people for granted at times?  We can be so wrapped up in the busyness of our lives that we can forget to acknowledge our neighbours, those people who make up our daily landscape.  It seems a sad but true fact that we are sometimes more aware of their absence when the unexpected occurs than we were of their presence.

As we work our way through the beauty of this amazing season and take time to applaud the vibrancy of autumns best, why not take time to acknowledge those little strokes of colour that add interest and depth to our life’s landscape.  They may be a family member a neighbour, a shop worker or even the postman.  They all play a part.  And who knows how much colour you could add to their landscape with just an unexpected “hello” or “how are you?” or even an unexpected hug and “I love you”  (the postman would be smiling all the way down the road!!)

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Why not give it a try, I’m quite sure that the landscape of your life will be all the more beautiful for it.

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Love Alison x

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Thoughts

The sweet smell of stationary.

“Dont you just love New York in the fall?  It makes me want to buy school supplies.  I would send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils if I knew your address, on the other hand this not knowing has its charms.”

Well I’m definitely not in New York,  and it’s not quite ‘the fall’ or ‘autumn’ as us brits call it, but I’m sure many of you will recognize this quote from what has to be my very favourite movie ‘Youve got Mail’.  This film and of course the charming Tom Hanks is the reason for all my romantic notions in life.  It has been watched so many times that I have lost count, but I still keep popping it into the machine.   It continues to charm and cheer me, and leave me with a lovely warm romantic glow.  Tom Hanks always comes to mind at this time of year as I enter the super market and get a waft of  ‘eau de stationary’ whilst standing in front of all those lovely pens, pencils and notebooks,  all freshly laid out in readiness for the new school term.

Can I ?  Should I ?  Nothing tempts me more than the thought of a lovely unused new notebook, waiting to begin its journey of ideas, or a cute, colourful pencil-case filled with fresh items ready to be put to use.  I think I will treat myself.   Even though most of my writing is done on my mac I love to have a pretty new pen for diary writing, and I’m always jotting things down that I think I will want to revisit at another time.  Do you do this?  Hopefully I’m not alone as I stand wishfully in the stationary aisle, mouth-watering as if a child standing at the sweet counter.

I’m quite sure that many of my blogging friends would feel the same, and I have to join with Tom and say that “I would send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils if I knew your address, on the other hand this not knowing has its charms.”   At this point in the film, for those who (I can’t believe have never watched it),  the two main character’s are still communicating by email and havent actually met.  I feel like I have made so many new friends since I started my blogging journey and yet the  ‘not really knowing you all’  does have certain charms.  Would we like each other if we met?  Would we get on? or is it the not knowing each other that keeps us in this place?  A place of safety maybe?

Whatever our reasons I know that I have personally learnt so much from all of you and your varied pastimes and thoughts, and so value your continued interest in reading and following my thoughts on this blog.

To that end I would like to send you all your very own ‘bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils’.  I’m hoping that you will enjoy the beautiful colours and scent as much as I do.

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Love Alison x

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Thoughts

Grandog Day!

For those of you who follow my blog you will know that I have just been blessed with a lovely healthy grandson.  We are all so thankful for the safe arrival of Arlo Frank and Im sure our roles in his little life will gradually find their definition, but while mum, dad and baby are learning the ropes of parenthood I am left with a very different kind of role,  that of looking after my grandog!

A couple of weeks before Arlo frank was born, my eldest sons girlfriend lost her best friend during childbirth.  Sadly having just given birth to a healthy baby boy and having held him for a few minutes there were complications, and mum lost her life.  This was shocking on so many levels, heartbreaking for the family, devastating for Shona and of course with the awaited arrival of a new baby in our own family it was deeply shocking. The funeral is today and my thoughts are so with them all as they say goodbye to such a young and beautiful life.  We could ask so many questions, but I think the best way forward is to love and support those who need it, and my part in doing that for now is looking out for this little chap for the day as they say their goodbyes.

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This is Elvis.  Sausage dog extraordinaire!  Looking a little serious in this photo but don’t be fooled, he’s a little scamp.

Elvis came along at a good time.  When family spirits for various reasons are a little low there is nothing quite like a four pawed furry friend to add a bit of spice and laughter to life, especially a puppy that needs lots of love and attention which for at least a short while removes us from our own worries.

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Elvis taking time to ‘smell the roses’ or in this case apple mint.

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Hmmm this little chap seems to have a thing about flowers! although something tells me he might have had a little help from the photographer to get in there as those little legs are really not built for climbing.

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Everything in Nonnas’ garden is so exciting and so worth a sniff and an explore.

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Luckily there is someone a little older and wiser to keep Elvis in check every now and then.  Thanks Jess.

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Phew!  All this adventure is tiring for a little chap with little legs.

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My favourite pic, and Elvis..thanks for keeping me well and truly entertained, and for bringing lots of pleasure to all who know you.  I know that you will work your magic over the coming weeks as you bring your unique sense of fun and joy into the lives of those who love you.  Your cheeky presence will be invaluable in the healing process of hearts that are broken.

Your one ‘Houndog’ for sure!

 

 

Love Alison x

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