When the North Wind Blows…

The last few weeks have passed in a bit of a blur with some miserable moments. My father was taken severely ill and without going into too much detail, I can only say we experienced both the very good side and the quite frankly appallingly bad side of the NHS. (As an ex nurse and a staunch supporter of the NHS I do not say that lightly)

Rather than focus on the negative (apart from one astounding moment that occurred when I asked a surgery receptionist for a chair to save my collapsing father from falling to the floor, and was treated with total indifference and told they were closing the doors and going home) I would rather look at the kindness he received when help was eventually forthcoming. A lovely nurse appeared for a home visit; she explained the care at home system was totally overworked but she would do all she could to get us the help we needed. She acknowledged how ill my dad had been and was very concerned. She was kind and after days of struggle, including a night sleeping on his floor, she let me cry on her shoulder. ‘Of course you are upset. He’s your dad.’ Simple words but soothing to hear.

I’ve been feeling ‘crook ‘ too. We know all too well how easily it is to succumb to the stray hospital bugs when you are stressed yourself.

Sometimes it has felt as though I have been removed from the outside world as I have dragged myself around the place in order to keep myself going and care for my dad. But then I realise how lucky I am. I have good, supportive friends; those who keep me in coffee and hot chocolate and stop for a kindly chat, those who send me lovely pictures of friendly robins to cheer me up, and those who offer a cinema trip. Some scented narcissi arrived form the Sicily Isles with a lovey message from my aunt and uncle.  One night ‘himself’ cooked me ‘rustic’ sausages and mash which was extremely comforting!

I like to think we all have friends we can rely on. Sometimes, though, we need extra special help. When that north wind blows and we need sheltering for a while, it’s surprising how help can appear just when we least expect it.

‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for in doing so some have entertained angels unawares.’

                                 Hebrews 13:12

     For anyone needing a bit of a boost and with blessings to you:

When the north wind blows

And your world is grey,

My friendly heart

Hears all you say.

Call my name

In your darkest night

I’ll find a way to bring you light.

And if your world

Is tumbling down

I’ll wrap you

In a cosy gown

Feed you soup

And bring you wine

For your life is

A part of mine.

(C) Lyn Halvorsen

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Blue Monday

Oh dear. Yesterday was not one of the best days. An article in one of the papers suggested it could be one of the most blue January days ever. To add to the post Christmas blues we have Brexit and Trump anxiety to contend with. The hospitals are over stretched and the weather is dark and gloomy.

On a personal note I have the worry of my dad being very unwell. At nearly 89, he has carried on so long in an optimistic manner and it is hard to see him struggling now. I am just praying that he can be kept as comfortable as possible.

On Sunday I watched a program featuring Holocaust survivors, in preparation for The Holocaust Memorial Day on 27th January. It was totally and utterly heartbreaking. The amount of suffering and loss so many people endured is hard to imagine and one is forever astounded by mans’ cruelty to his fellow man.

Yet we heard of the most amazing examples of kindness, immense bravery and incredible love that those who were incarcerated in the concentration camps showed each other. Somehow, some found hope where there was very little to sustain them. I am forever moved by these words scratched on the wall by a Jewish prisoner in one of the camps:

    ‘I believe in the SUN even if it isn’t shining. I believe in LOVE even when I am alone. I believe in GOD even when He is silent.’

So today my blog is short. I am going out to breathe the fresh air beacuase I am lucky to have the chance and even though the day may be dull. I will go and visit my dad and talk loving words to him even though he may not now know quite where he is. I will not worry about my finances or the possible lack of them. I will try and prepare myself for the coming days. I will appreciate my friends and my lovely family. I will believe in the SUN.

Blessings to you.

A Little Bit of Hygge…

I’ve read quite a bit about ‘hygge’ lately. I’m not sure exactly how you pronounce the word…or even spell it , but I think it’s pronounced  ‘hue-gah’. However, to quote my favourite philosopher Winnie-the -Pooh,  when asked how to spell a certain emotion, ‘You don’t spell it, you feel it.’

Spelling and pronouncing hygge is probably the easy part. Explaining what it is is perhaps a bit more tricky! I think the easiest way to explain it is by suggesting you think about all the cosy, ‘feel good’ things in life – the small but important things we crave, especially this time of year. I have heard it described as ‘cosiness of the soul’ ‘soothing times’ or ‘hot chocolate by candlelight.’ Whatever it is, I like it!

The word ‘hygge’ originates in Norway, and means ‘well-being’.

To elaborate a bit, hygge is a sense of coming together with loved ones, revelling in simple pleasures and sharing comfort food in front of the fire. Hygge isn’t about buying stuff, whatever the retailers want us to think. You don’t need to spend money to create a sense of hygge. Wrapping up in a warm, snuggly jumper and going for a walk can be hygge, as can catching up with a friend over coffee. It’s about feelings, not possessions. It’s about being kind to yourself and others.

You could:

Curl up in PJ’s and a warm blanket and read a book

Light a scented candle

Stop trying to multi-task – turn off the phone and focus on the moment

Bake some gooey brownies

Send a loved one a letter

Soak in a bath with some scented oils

Explore the outdoors

Walk someone’s dog, (or yours!)

Turn on some fairy lights in the fading afternoon light….

We don’t need an excuse for hygge either, and we can even use it at work. Create a little space on your desk for a candle, for a photo or a plant that is pleasing to the eye, or invest in a Himalayan salt lamp (if the boss allows obviously!).

There is a lot of hygge in Denmark, said to be one of the happiest countries in the world. I guess they have their problems and issues like every other country, but they seem to have a positive outlook, and even have a Happiness Research Institute. It is worth noting that Danish people are the ones who meet up with their families and friends the most often, and feel the most calmest and the most peaceful.

Ok, Ok I know I have gone over the top a bit but I think you get my drift. This time of year, especially on a grey, misty and murky day like today, we all need a bit of hygge. While fashions come and go, hygge is one trend that I think is very much worth indulging in.

Here was my bit of hygge today. If in doubt….bake!

Hygge blessings!

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