If you had a time machine what would be the first thing you would do? A knee jerk answer might be “win the lottery!” but if you really think about it, I bet the answer has something to do with relationships.

I really like zombie films, and anything post-apocalyptic based. Some of my favourites are The Walking Dead, Hunger Games, Legend and 28 Days Later. The premise fascinates me. In these films there is usually a small group of people on a search for other people. Part of it is to pool their resources but mainly they just need to find other people because, when you think about it, life is all about relationships.

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Friends

I was walking along a path beside a large field the other day and there was no-one else for miles around and I thought ‘Oh it’s like one of those films’. I thought how nice and quiet it was and yet if it was the apocalypse how much I would long to talk to another human being. No matter who they were, or how loud they chewed their food. We all know relationships are important .

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Family

We all love our families and children and endeavour to continually pay into those relationships. We have close friends, and acquaintances and now even people on Facebook who will walk straight past you in the street but like your status online (what’s that about?!) but I got to thinking about how *all* of life is about relationships. Even the little polite conversations we have daily with complete strangers. Our personal relationships make families and friendships, this on a wider scale creates community which makes up society, and many societies make up the big wide world. Our every relationship is important.

I’m not saying we should be happy and smiley every day of the week or that every friendship should be perfect, that’s the very beauty of it. Some friendships will withstand distance, some will not, some are intense and need a lot of regular input, some function perfectly well intermittently. When I think of all my relationships they are all so different and it’s just because they’re with different people. The different mixes of personalities and traits define the dynamic of each one. My best friend lives 328 miles away (I just checked Wales – Newcastle!) she moved there when we were 10 and even though we may not speak for weeks on end I still feel a very deep connection with her.

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Me and my BFF

Relationships also change over time, they ebb and flow. Like tearing muscles to build them back up stronger we have disagreements that teach us how to be with one another once we have been through it. I saw a post that said in Japan when a vase is broken it gets repaired with gold so that the more broken it gets the more beautiful and unique it becomes. [bctt tweet=”I think God made relationships invisible on purpose so that no record is kept.” username=”@hippychristimum”]

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The art of Kintsugi

We are all always so busy and on to the next thing. It’s the kind of age we’re living in. The more I think about it though the more I want to take a leaf out of the older generation’s book and slow down to appreciate the interactions in my everyday. Wave at the toddler, speak to the cashier, listen to my daughter in the car. I think life is all about relationships because if I was the only person on earth life would be pretty rubbish!

In one of my favourite films -About Time- the main character can time travel and the most important thing he wants to do in all the world is spend time with his dad. What would you do? Is there someone who you would like to travel to, to spend more time with?

Twin Mummy and Daddy
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
Sparkles At Midnight
Mummy Times Two

If you’d asked me do I feel I ever put on a façade for others I would have answered categorically no, definitely not. That was until I found myself plumping the sofa cushions today.

A new mum friend was coming to visit, someone I don’t know very well, so I’d tidied the house ready. When she popped round to offer her apologies –she couldn’t come after all her babba was unwell- I thought oh well the house is sorted now at least. As I switched the plug in off I thought “Oh how funny, I must have had that on expressly for her visit.” Then I went round and did a few other things, I opened the window, I made a cuppa, I realised actually there were a few things I had done in order to present myself in a certain way to this person I didn’t know very well. I thought that was really interesting.

In college I failed my psychology A-Level and a couple of others too (cough cough) but I remember learning about conformity. Zimbardo did this awesome albeit completely unethical experiment in 1971 called The Stanford Prison Experiment which I see on TV quite regularly in varying forms. He basically pitted two groups of people – volunteers – against each other as prisoners and prison guards and the surprising results were not just how horrible the guards became with the prisoners but how compliant the volunteer prisoners became.

There are different ways people conform to things. Basically what I like to think of as the wishy washy and the true die hards. I fall into the true die hards camp. If I agree with something I take it on fully. Balls to the wall, no holds barred, I’m in or I’m out. This is probably why I was smoking 20 a day by the time I was 21. As I’ve gotten older I can see that most of life is a massive grey area and therein lies the beauty (turns out there are many societal factors that play in behaviour like smoking so not quite so rebellious after all) but I am still prone to strong opinions and I am still prone to not really caring what people think of me. To be honest, I think it was what Rich found so attractive about me. It certainly wasn’t the smokers cough.

I’m an informed decision kind of person. It doesn’t matter to me if all my friends are doing the cry-it-out method, if there is a good reason I don’t want to then I won’t. I read and research things, I go my own way when I have to because I know that ultimately it’s me who has to be happy with the consequences of my decisions. That’s not to say that some of my decisions are not sacrificial. I love hearing people’s opinions and I love it when my thinking is challenged. In fact let me just take this moment to say those people are my favourite. The ones who can discuss without arguing, who present me with a totally different viewpoint and go but what if…? And it makes my mind open like a flower.

flowerAnyway I would never in a million years have thought that I was the type of person who does something, anything just because it’s what other people do. Until today when I plumped those pillows and considered waiting to use the loo in case someone knocked my door. Did I want her to think my home was lovely? Yes. Had I decided the best way to show her that was to have a nicely presented orderly house? Yes. That was somewhere in my consciousness. Did I want her to think my house smells nice? Yes. That’s just a funny I like nice smells too, I sometimes spray air freshener even when no-one has done a poo. When I get to the root of it, what essentially is the point of all that? I wanted her to like me. I turned that plug in off and all this came running through my mind -and now you have had the pleasure of coming on this mini journey with me- and I thought “Oh.” ” I wonder what other strange little ‘please like me’ things I have been doing all this time.” Perhaps I would have been a lot more compliant in that experiment than I ever realised.

“…in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” – Mother Teresa.

After having a lovely time at Bloggers Meet for Macmillan I wanted to host a coffee morning myself at our church. We always have teas and coffees and a chat after church so cake is an added bonus.

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I signed up on the Macmillan website and they sent me a free coffee morning hosting pack in the post within the week. At church Beg and I set up a little table and put the cakes out, there were loads of decorations in the pack to make it eye-catching. The bunting was my favourite bit. Beg wrote out the cake labels they looked really cute in her handwriting.  I had a feeling my #churchfam would be receptive to the idea and I was right, everyone was very generous and in total we raised £73.96!

Macmillan’s Coffee Morning seems to be gaining momentum and I was really pleased to be a part of this year’s event and completely surprised we raised so much. It was a lovely morning, I knew I could rely on my church family to support such an amazing cause.

If you would like to get involved, it’s not too late to join in as there’s loads of free downloads and ideas on the Macmillan website to help you host your own.

If you live in Newport or nearby and are looking for a friendly bunch of people to call your own #churchfam you’re welcome to come and check us out at Faith Church

Thank you to everyone who donated! 🙂

In Conversation With: The Hippy Christian Mum on Over Heaven’s Hill

How many children do you have?

I have two children and on the blog I’ve called them Beg and Beb. Beg is my brown-eyed-girl. She is 6yrs old. Beb is my blue-eyed-boy. He is 5 months old. It feels really weird whenever I type out their blog nicknames but I had seen other bloggers using pseudo-names for their children and I just thought it was a really nice idea as I am talking about them so publicly. It feels a bit close to the bone to use their real names even though I do post pics of them on Instagram too!

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Are you a Working Mum, Stay-at-Home Mum or Work-from-Home Mum?

I am a SAHM of 6 years. Before I gave up work to stay home, I worked part time as an admin assistant in a social work team. I really liked my job but after childcare costs I would have been adding only £100 to our household income. As it was I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving her at 9 months (we didn’t have family who could have her) and so I took voluntary redundancy.

I find I do tend to face a lot of pre-judgement with the whole SAHM thing. People assume I am claiming top ups or that I have a secret mill stashed in an offshore account. I stopped fighting people’s opinions about it a few years ago and now I let them think what they like without correction. I think if people really want to get to know me they will ask of their own volition. My friends know us and the rest can talk!

I have friends who work full time, part time and some don’t work, some are on maternity leave, single parenting, adoptive, foster, all kinds of amazing wonderful mums. We can still moan to each other if we’ve had a hard week without judging the other’s life circumstances.

What is the best part about being a Mum?

It has to be the pure joie de vivre that only children have. The laughter. No matter what is going on in life hearing your children laugh just sets something alight within your soul. I like the silly too. I do silly voices for the bedtime stories. My husband does silly voices and games. We say stupid stuff all the time and Beg thinks it is all great fun and it makes me laugh too. I also love watching Beg and Beb’s relationship unfolding in front of me. I can’t believe we almost never had another, she loves her brother so much. It’s truly a beautiful thing to be witness to.

What is your biggest fear as a Mum?

I recently had to face some big mum fears when Beb was born. He had to spend the first couple of weeks in neonatal intensive care which was a really hard time for us as a family. When he was born he was breech and it hadn’t been picked up. He was born not breathing so instead of laying him on me the midwife had to perform CPR immediately. I didn’t actually get to hold him until he was 8 days old.

He had cooling therapy and then had seizures when they brought him back up to temp. He had a chest drain, infection, morphine, anti-seizure medication. It was a scary time. I just prayed and prayed over him. I would go into the NICU and reach into his incubator and he was freezing cold. He was there in his nappy, wires everywhere, shivering, and all I could do was touch his hand and talk. So, that is what I did. He gripped my finger and I told him about his big sister and sang him made up songs.

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My church prayed for us too and my Pastor asked everyone he knew to pray for us. There were whole churches all over the world praying for him, as far as New Zealand. At first I didn’t know if we would ever bring him home. My husband said he knew we would. They told us there would be effects from the lack of oxygen at birth but they had no idea to what extent it would be. But I’m absolutely joyous to say his MRI scan was completely clear. He is a little miracle, and he is absolutely thriving. He is a wonderful bubbly 5 month old and I praise God for him everyday.

If you could share one piece of advice to other soon-to-be Mums, what would it be?

Well, if something doesn’t feel right in your pregnancy do bring it up no matter how silly you think it is. I kept saying to my midwives, what is this big hard lump at the top of my bump and they passed me off. Turns out it was my baby’s head. And definitely breastfeed. It gets easier as you go along and once it does it’s an absolute breeze and so great for bonding as baby gets older. Oh and have a Blessingway. Best thing I did when I was pregnant. I did a post on mine which you can read here.


Thanks for having me on your conversation series at Over Heaven’s Hill. I’m truly honoured as I am a newbie blogger. My blog is only 4 months old. You can read more about my birth story here.

And thank you Kate for joining us on In Conversation With. It was a pleasure and after reading your interview, I went straight to your blog to read more about your birth story. I had also have never heard of a Blessingway before. It is such a beautiful idea empowering the mother through the strength of sisterhood.

You can find Kate at her blog The Hippy Christian Mum, on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest

You can find Geraldine from Over Heaven’s Hill on Facebook and Twitter

 

A Mum Track Mind

 

Hello my name is Kate, and I attended an Ann Summers party.

We’ve just moved house this summer to a new build estate. Because literally everyone  is new, there is a real sense of camaraderie and a building sense of community. We came to an afternoon street party the week before we moved in and the community facebook page is very active with everyone happy to help people moving into the estate. In general nearly everyone is very keen to make the effort to make friends. So when I was invited in passing by a woman who lives on the estate to her Ann Summers party I thought nothing of it. I’ve been to a couple before and honestly completely forgot about the invite altogether until my husband came back from Beg’s play date at our neighbour’s house and said “You off out tonight are you?”  My automatic response was I can’t really be arsed but I’d had a funny day where for various and sundry reasons I was feeling like I didn’t really fit in anywhere and ultimately I decided it might be a good excuse to get to know the neighbours a bit better. A lot better it turned out but then I guess an Ann Summers party is quite far removed from tea and scones with the vicar.

I made it an excuse to put some make up on and wash my hair. Husband is always very accomodating on these occasions (probably happens twice annually) and takes over ‘entertaining the baby’ without asking where anything is for half an hour. Beg gets very excited being the very girly type of little girl that she is and always has been -the mere mention of lip gloss gets her attention- so Rich will distract her for as long as possible but then she will make her way upstairs for a good nosy at what I’m wearing. Asking me hugely philosophical questions that she doesn’t even realise the weight of like “but why do you wear eyeliner mummy?” which makes me want to scrub my face, stop shaving my legs and live in a hessian sack.

Anyway, all going well so far then suddenly a strange and faraway thought began to form in my mind…’*Should* I even be going to an Ann Summers party now that I’m a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N?’ Dun dun duhhhh! First of all I knew this was a stupid question because 1. Should I be anything-anything now I’m a Christian is just a really religious and oppressive way to conduct myself that I don’t wholly agree with; change should come on a fundamental level for good reason not superficially because I feel I need to live up to a set of religious standards. 2. Ask me should I do anything and just know I am certainly going to do it. Especially if there is an insinuation that I shouldn’t.  It’s just the way I’m wired. My best friend could tell you about the time she watched me scale a bridge on the outside ledge aged 10, over a road because someone said I shouldn’t. Not big or clever but did she know I was gonna do it? Yeah she did.

So armed with my bottle of prosecco I went and called for my neighbour and another neighbour came and called for her straight after and we three merrily set off through the estate each carrying our bottle of plonk. The party was well underway when we got there and as is always the case with these things, the atmosphere got more and more relaxed as time went on. I really belly laughed a lot at some of the things that were said (what happens at an Ann Summers party stays at an Ann Summers party I’m afraid) and had a really nice time. It was a bunch of women letting loose at the end of the week, having a giggle, sharing snippets of our lives, and enjoying it. Also we all only bought nice underwear. Honest. 😉

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday