This is Stephen. A hugely inspirational 19 year old living with terminal cancer. He has helped raised over £1 million for teenage cancer research, the £1 million target being reached today, just at the point where he has become very seriously ill and Stephen is now hospitalized. I find his attitude to the illness and his ability to be such an inspiration, really moving.
I was a bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.
~ Mary Oliver
I've drawn another picture for you to colour in. "Breathe in the beauty, breathe out the junk". It's important to remember to do that, I think. Not to let our fears get the better of us and hold us back... Life is full of beauty if we just see it and breathe it in. I've put this picture in the "Free Glitter" section so you can copy it, and have a doodle. With maybe a cuppa? And a wee slab of cake... Go orn. Go orn. I'm going to.
My sister is more than halfway through her chemotherapy, and is starting to get excited that it will eventually be finished, hopefully by the end of May. Gawd, I love her!
And spring is here. ♥
How are things with you?
Sending you oodles of smiles and a big dollop of love,
Today we celebrate the day dedicated to love. Love. My favourite word (apart from collywobble).
When I was growing up, Valentine's day held huge hope for me. I was a teenage romantic and the word love represented romantic love. (I spent the earlier part of my teens sporting a 24 hour shadow on my top lip. A beautifully impressive set of orthodontic braces. A mono-brow. And a slightly bemused look. Romantic love remained a distant dream until I discovered cream bleach and tweezers. I wondered recently if this was just a distorted view of myself I was remembering, and then I found my old school bus pass amongst some bits and bobs. My view of myself was wholly accurate.)
Now, Valentine's day means something different to me. As an adult, I've learnt that "all love is sweet". Including, if I can manage it, a loving acceptance of myself. Just as I am.
I like to focus on how much love there is in my life and be very loving to the people around me. I try to do this every day, but more so on Valentine's day. All love is sweet.
I take a day off from negative self-talk. I let go of all the "I wish my legs were longer, my bottom smaller," self-flagellation and try to only have kinder thoughts towards myself. More "well, hello you's" as I pass by the mirror and fewer screams.
Sometimes I manage it.
And painting my nails pillar box red always helps. As well as grabbing my cats, getting cosy under a blanket and watching a good film. With the odd chunk of chocolate here and there.
I try to do as many loving things as I can on Valentine's day, for myself and other people. Give smiles more. Say "I love you" more. Phone some one I love and share some time hearing them instead of talking. I focus on these things as much as I can every day, but I make a conscious decision to fill Valentine's day with all kinds of love. Because, as far as I can see, love is what this living thing is all about.
At the end of Valentine's day, I like to grab my cats, give them a good ole squeeze and tell them I love them too. They hate it and their eyes bulge. But as I've mentioned, all love is sweet. Even the eye bulging hugs kind.
I hope you have a beautifully loving Valentine's day. How do you like to spend yours?
Lily and the ones she loves
Cuddle a cat 'til their eyes bulge. It helps.
Fancy slippers are very important
Surround yourself with fluffy things
But don't squeeze too tight
Sending huge Valentine's day love to you and yours.
P.S. I've put Lily and her big comfy chair into the "Free Glitter" section, so you can download her for your desk-top screensaver. All I ask is that you don't use her for re-sale purposes. Happy Valentine's day. Sending love. Em x
A little while ago, I wrote about how I was practising drawing different facial features in a bid to be able to put them all together and create a portrait that didn't have any cubist elements to it. You can read about my attempts here.
After managing to master the intricacies of drawing lips, eyes, a nose and ears, I took the plunge and drew a portrait. This was actually in the spring of last year, but, for anyone who's been reading my blog for a while, you'll know that the proverbial c**p hit the fan in May last year, with a multitude of things happening throughout the summer that meant that my blog had to take a back seat, while I navigated the series of "Unfortunate Events" Lemony Snickett style. You can read about that here.
So, in a bid to "catch you up" with what I drew last year, here are the pencil studies of the facial features...
And here is my first pencil portrait. Her name is Abigail.
I drew Abigail with the help of a library book all about how to draw portraits. She took several days. Due to energy being a very precious commodity for me, I had to work on her in short bursts, and take "energy breaks" to sleep and rest up, (my energy doesn't last too long when concentrating or sitting in one position! Boo!) But, I'm learning to listen to my body and be gentle with myself and I have very happy memories of being completely surprised as she started to appear on the page.
I have the best postman in the world. He's called Phil and gives me a smile and a wave every day as he goes past my house. If he has something to drop off for me, he gives me plenty of time to get to the door. If I'm not able to get to the door, he drops off any parcels that come for me to my neighbour to save me having to go up to the collection depot. He laughs and jokes with me whenever I need to sign for anything. He's an all round decent bloke who, in small ways that I'm sure he has no idea about, makes a difference to my days. He knocked on the door this morning to drop off a book I'd ordered, and I got a chance to give him his "Thank you for being so great" Christmas present. We got chatting and during the chat he said to me...
"You won't see me for a few months now, Emma, I'm going to Afghanistan for nine months. I'll be back in September. My little girl is 8 years old so she's old enough for me to go. I've been wanting to do this for years but the last chance I got to go my little girl was only 2, and if anything happened to me she wouldn't remember me. She's old enough now, so I've decided to go. I've been in the Territorial Army for years and I want to make a difference. I'll be at Camp Bastion."
In the smallest moments of any day, you never know when you're going to have a moment that touches your heart. Every day I've seen Phil, and smiled and waved back, having no idea that he was harbouring this dream. Or that he'd have to wait until his little girl was old enough to remember him before he could fulfil it. I asked him how he felt about going and he said, "Hopefully I'll be OK." It was the moment he said those words and I saw a quick shadow of doubt go across his face, that I understood how much going to Afghanistan mattered to him, and how difficult it had been to make the decision to go. I'm going to miss Phil's wave and smile as he goes past each day, and will think about him over the next few months and hope he's keeping safe. I have the best postman in the world.