Why calories should be ignored…

It has been months since I did a lesson on my course. My excuse is that I have been busy, and while that is definitely true, I feel the need to get back into the studying groove.  This morning, I picked up my next Nutrition lesson to discover… it is all about calories.


Reading through the study lesson, it soon became clear that my attitude to calories (I don’t think they tell you the whole story and frankly are nothing more than numbers in a chart)  is absolutely right.  Did you know that the calorie data on the sides of the packets are calculated by either burning the food in a vacuum and measuring the energy output (ummm…. Our bodies are not in a vaccuum… and my body might not use the food like your body does.  Hell, I have conclusive proof that my body doesn’t work like ANYONE else’s body does!), or by estimating the calories on the basis of the weight of protein, carbohydrates and fats in the food.  Hang on.  Estimates?  People are making decisions about how much to eat on the basis of this information.  I want actual figures thank you very much.  And anyway… won’t one sort of carbohydrate burn differently than another type of carbohydrate?  Calories are inherently garbage and should be ignored.  Entirely.


So, yes, needless to say I am a little hot under the collar about all this calorie garbage.  I know it is fashionable to use calories to dictate your food intake.  But proper nutrition is about more than the number of calories in and the number of calories you use.  Whilst I agree that there needs to be a deficit of calories in order to lose weight, just ensuring that you get 1700 calories a day is not a sure fire success guide to weight loss.  If it was, I would look very different.


No, proper nutrition is about using your noggin, using your own knowledge and working out what works for you.  For example, I know that for me, fat is rarely the issue.  Usually the problem is more likely to be sugar.  Hey, I am pre-diabetic and have been for 2 decades now, so that isn’t too weird.  It is almost to be expected.  So, I take very careful note of the sugar content of low fat foods.  Quite often food manufacturers will take out fat and add in sugar in order to make them taste better.  Sneaky swines that they are.  I also know that my body likes to have fruit and vegetables.  My body objects to having too much bread and yeasty or malty things in there too.  So, in the end, I eat a healthy and nutritious diet because I know what my body likes and what it doesn’t.  It is pretty simple when you get right down to it, isn’t it?

calories meme

But calories?  No.  Calories are a measurement used by scientists and they have no relation to eating properly or not eating properly.

No I have got that off my chest, perhaps I can get on with my lesson and answering the questions properly?  Here’s hoping anyway!


Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that we possess…

I have been thinking about happiness a lot recently, especially this past week.  Everywhere I have looked there have been articles and posters about how gratitude is the successful attitude, about how happiness is essential for stress free living, all sorts of things like that.  And today, on my Flipboard App on my phone, there was an amazing article about the 5 skills you need to increase your happiness.  Okay, thought I, I am giving in to the signals I am being sent.  Here is a blog post all about happiness and getting more of it.

happiness 2

So, according to this article that I read this morning, the first skill you need in order to increase your grin quotient is the ability to savour things.  If you savour a meal, you take your time over it, you enjoy the flavours, the textures, the time and energy which it has taken to prepare and cook the food.   You linger, you prolong the experience and you intensify your enjoyment of the moment, making it last for as long as possible.   You should do the same in your everyday life.  You can savour the past, by reminiscing.  You can savour the future with positive anticipation of what might happen.  You can also savour the present moment – by using that often trotted out modern phrase, mindfulness.  Apparently, savouring life boosts optimism, reduces stress and gets rid of a whole lot of negative emotions, making you happier, more optimistic and more satisfied with life.   And the more you recognise the good stuff, the more good stuff you see.

thank you

The second skill which is required to increase happiness is to say thank you.  This is the attitude of gratitude writ large. If you can identify and appreciate the things people do for you, and the things themselves, and then say thank you… well, the result is sheer magic.  Not only does it increase your optimism and self confidence, but it has also been shown to dampen your desire for more “stuff” all the time (well, why do you need the newest and latest gadget when you are really thankful for the one you have in front of you?  Makes sense to me!).  Of course being sincerely thankful for the people in your life as well means that you can have a deeper relationship with them.  That is always worth it.  According to research, it can also give you longer and better quality sleep.  I am soooo up for some of that!!

goal quote

The third skill we need is to aspire.  This is a bit trickier – but basically it boils down to having a reason for being, a sense of purpose and to be hopeful.  It enable you to be optimistic about the future.  People who have created meaning in their lives are generally happier and more satisfied.  If you have ever experienced genuine (and not forced and false) optimism, you will know that you are drawn to them like a moth to a flame.  It is a magnet almost.  When you have that sense of purpose and a goal to aim towards, it makes goals seem attainable and challenges are easier to overcome.  You will feel more successful, and you will be more successful!  Also, if you use the skills you have in every day life, all the time, you will increase your self esteem, curb stress and increase your vitality.  So, if you have a skill, show it off!  And smile about it!


The fourth thing to do to increase you happiness, and arguably, it is the one which ought to come first in this list, is giving.  Of course the person you are giving to will reap a reward, but did you know that the giver gets one too?  This is one of the reasons that every major faith has an aspect of charity to it.  Habitual givers have less stress, less isolation and less anger.  When you see what your gift can do for someone else, that makes you happier, more connected to the world and more open to new experiences.


Finally, happiness can be increased with the use of empathy.  Empathy is the ability to care about others.  If you can imagine and understand the thoughts, behaviours or ideas of other people, then congratulations, you are empathetic.  It is easier for some people than it is for others, but the good news is that compassion can be taught.  Empathy means that you will feel less judgemental, less frustrated, less angry and less disappointed about people.  Apparently it helps you to develop patience (Umm… I am very empathetic… I am just extremely impatient as well!).  Empathy also helps to solidify bonds between human beings, which is essential to the building and maintaining happy and healthy relationships.  This compassion needn’t just be for others though.  You need to be compassionate to yourself as well – the old “cut yourself some slack” argument.

I am definitely going to take up these five practices to increase the happiness in my life.  I could do with the extra boost, and especially if there is an upswing in the amount of patience that I might have.  To finish, I want to leave you with a quote from Terry Prince which I found on my Facebook timeline this morning…

“Your life is your Garden,

Your thoughts are the seeds,

If your life isn’t awesome,

You’ve been watering the weeds”

Here’s to happiness folks!

Operation Chrysalis… is at an end…

I think it is now official.  Not only have I put away the old winter clothes and done a serious wardrobe clear out (3 large black bin liners are heading to a charity shop of my choosing!)  I have also revealed to people outside my family what my body looks like following my weight loss campaign.


Please do not get me wrong.  I have not finished the weight loss attempt.  I have plenty of weight left to get rid of, but I think it might be time to start revealing the new me, which is what Operation Chrysalis was all about after all.

So what decided me to start to reveal my changing shape?  A few things really.  I have been struggling to stick to the eating plan I am on, and I thought it might keep me “honest” if I told myself that I would be wearing a new dress soon.  I think it has worked this week, but to be honest, I need to wait until Wednesday, which is slimming club weigh day!

summer clothes

I think summer clothes also encourage revealing the body more than winter shrouds to.  I do not mean wearing bikini tops to do the shopping (the natives are far too skittish for that, and quite frankly, I would be arrested if I attempted it!) but rather an ankle here or there and wearing T shirts instead of thick heavy jumpers and coats.   I know the prevailing wisdom in these parts is “Cast nary a clout till May is out” which means to keep the woollies to hand until the end of May, but I was getting really bored of wearing the same old stuff.  It was getting depressing.  So a couple of weeks ago, I got all of my clothes out, both summer and winter and did a HUGE purge of them.  Then I put the winter stuff into storage (the loft!) and hung up all the lovely summer stuff.  Of course, then the weather decided to put a nip in the air, but I always knew that could happen.  Which is why I kept some woollies back from storage!  I am not entirely insane!


Also, as part of my frugal living endeavours, I have been relearning how to make clothes.  I had been sewing a dress for some time.  I was a bit scared of making a terrible mistake, so I did one seam, then left it for a week or two, and then did another seam when I was brave enough.  This weekend, I decided I couldn’t make any more excuses and I finished it.  I actually finished it at 4pm on Saturday and wore it that evening to a concert my husband and I were attending.  I saw a lot of people I knew from when I was singing in the choir that was performing and I received a lot of compliments.  I think the fact that these people haven’t seen me day after day and a lot of them commented on my appearance (and the spanking new dress too!) really bought it home to me.  Yes.  This weight loss thing has worked.

weighing scales

Now, I am not going to give up on the weight loss.  The scales are oscillating at the moment, but I have lost the equivalent weight of a bag of cat litter.  Those things are HEAVY!  It must be making a difference, but to be honest, I can’t really feel any difference.  I need to lose another 3 of those bags of cat litter, and I will be and exceedingly happy person.  Even at that point, the doctors will say I am still overweight and probably still obese, but I am beyond caring what they all say.

Have I learnt anything from Operation Chrysalis?  Weighing yourself every day is a short cut to insanity; once a week is fine.  Weight loss is not linear; the weeks you think you have done really well tend to be the weeks that the weight goes up.  Bingeing behaviours are really hard to break; and I am still working on that one, though things are better now than they were.  Making clothes is really satisfying, as is seeing the look on people’s faces when you tell them “Oh yes.  I made this dress.”

Operation Chrysalis

Butterflies totally have the right idea.  Hide yourself away and then reveal.  It is a great feeling!  Here’s to the next transformation!

A day for celebrations!

When I woke up this morning, I was pleased to see that it had dawned bright and sunny with a brisk breeze.  It is absolutely gorgeous out in the garden.  A perfect laundry drying day, which is just as well, as I have two loads out there flapping around getting dry.  I also just noticed that it is the first of May.

laundry on the line

May Day is traditionally a day for much celebration. Not just because Spring has definitely sprung, but actually the date is associated with celebrations for many thousands of years.  The Romans honoured their flower and fertility Goddess, Flora, at the end of April and beginning of May. They would celebrate with dances, processions, games and sundry merriment.  They also used to make sacrifices to the Earth Goddess Maia.  Not much is known about this, other than the sacrifices were made in the name of Vulcan, the God of Volcanoes, and apparently Maia’s significant other.  I do find it intriguing that Maia is the reason we have the month of May – she gave the month her name.


Celtic Druids has the feast of of Beltane, also on the 1st of May.  They lit bonfires to honour the sun, leading animals between the bonfires, as well as people who were suffering a spate of bad luck.  The Maypole tradition probably started with the druids as well, the pole allegedly being a phallic symbol for fecundity.  In England, the Morris Dancing season starts on May Day as well.  If you have never seen Morris Dancing, google a video or two.  I think it is probably a reason for the English to be considered charmingly eccentric around the world!

morris dancing

The first of May is, in the Catholic Church, the beginning of one of the Marian Months.  Often, Catholic Churches will have crowning ceremonies of their statues of Our Lady, and will have Marian hymns at Masses through the month as well.  In addition, today, the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of St Joseph the Worker.

I have a great devotion to St Joseph.  What a guy.  It is not everyone who could take on the job of being the Adopted Dad of the Creator… and he did it with such aplomb.  It really doesn’t get bigger than that, does it?  The major thing I like is that although he was from the line of King David, he was a working man.  A hard working labourer, working with his hands.  He was deemed worthy of teaching and raising the incarnation of the Divine, not some fat cat financial whizz, or a highly qualified professional of some sort.  I love that.

workers day

So, it is quite appropriate that May Day is also the International Workers Day.  I remember seeing the military parades in Red Square with all the rocket launchers and tanks and soldiers, when I was a youngster, watching the news with my Dad, but I never really understood the link to the workers of the world.  Obviously now I realise that the Soviet Union was supposed to be the workers paradise if the paradigm of Communism actually worked in practice, but unfortunately the reality didn’t match the theory.

And finally, the last thing to mention about May Day, is how it is connected to a call for help.  Well, that is about the corruption of language.  May Day as a call for help, is a corruption of the French “Venez m’aider” which means come and help me.

So, today, I am going to be working in the garden to cultivate my floral tributes to Flora and Our Lady, helping people when and where I can, and doing hard laborious work to mark the day.  Have a great weekend, and public holiday, if you are lucky enough to get one!

It is National Infertility Week…

Or at least, it is in the States, so in this multimedia, social media world, it is everywhere.

As most of my readers know, I am a church going, practising Catholic.  I think also, most people associate Catholic couples with big families; certainly they do in the pews of a Catholic Church.  Well, for some people, a lot of people, that is not possible to acheive.  I want to offer you this blog post, a post written from a Catholic Perspective by a member of an online support group for Infertile Catholics.  It is worth the read.


One in six couples will experience infertility at some point in their marriage. Infertility is medically defined as the inability to conceive after 12 cycles of “unprotected” intercourse or 6 cycles using “fertility-focused” intercourse. A couple who has never conceived has “primary infertility” and a couple who has conceived in the past (regardless of the outcome) but is unable to again has “secondary infertility”. Many couples who experience infertility have also experienced miscarriage or pregnancy loss.

This week, April 19 – 25, 2015 is National Infertility Awareness Week.

We, a group of Catholic women who have experienced infertility, would like to take a moment to share with you what the experience of infertility is like, share ways that you can be of support to a family member or friend, and share resources that are helpful.

If you are experiencing infertility, please know you are not alone. You are loved and prayed for and there are resources to help you with the spiritual, emotional, and medical aspects of this journey

The Experience of Infertility

In the beginning of trying to conceive a child, there is much hope and anticipation; for some, even a small fear of “what if we get pregnant right away?” There is planning of how to tell your husband and when you’d announce to the rest of the family. It is a joyful time that for most couples results in a positive pregnancy test within the first few months. However, for one in six couples, the months go by without a positive test and the fears and doubts begin to creep in. At the 6th month of trying using fertility-focused intercourse (using Natural Family Planning), the couple knows something is wrong and is considered “infertile” by doctors who understand the charting of a woman’s pattern of fertility. At the 9th month of trying, the month that, had they conceived that first month, a baby would have been arriving, is often the most painful of the early milestones. At the 12th month mark the couple “earns” the label from the mainstream medical community as “infertile”.

As the months go by, the hopes and dreams are replaced with fears, doubts, and the most invasive doctors’ appointments possible. As a Catholic couple faithful to the teachings of the Church, we are presented by secular doctors with options that are not options for us and are told things like “you’ll never have children” and “you have unexplained infertility”; by our Catholic doctors we are told to keep praying and to have hope as they roll up their sleeves and work hard to figure out the cause of our infertility, with each visit asking, “How are you and your husband doing with all of this?”

We find it hard to fit in. We have faith and values that are different than our secular culture, but our small families, whether childless (primary infertility) or with fewer children than we hoped for (secondary infertility), make us blend in with the norm. We have faith and values that are in line with the teachings of our Church, but our daily life looks so much different than the others who share those values and that makes us stand out in a way that we would rather not. We are Catholic husbands and wives living out our vocation fully. Our openness to life does not come in the form of children; it takes on the form of a quiet “no” or “not yet” or “maybe never” from God each month as we slowly trod along. Our openness to and respect for life courageously resists the temptations presented to us by the secular artificial reproductive technology industry.

Often times our friends and family do not know what to say to us, and so they choose to not say anything. Our infertility stands like a great big elephant in the room that separates us from others. Most of the time, we don’t want to talk about it, especially not in public or in group settings because it is painful and we will often shed tears. We realize it is difficult and ask that you realize this difficulty as well. We will do our best to be patient and to explain our situation to those who genuinely would like to know, but please respect our privacy and the boundaries we establish, as not only is infertility painful, it is also very personal.

One of the hardest experiences of infertility is that it is cyclical. Each month we get our hopes up as we try; we know what our due date would be as soon as we ovulate; we know how we would share the news with our husband and when and how we would tell our parents. We spend two weeks walking a fine line between hope and realism, between dreaming and despairing. When our next cycle begins – with cramps and bleeding and tears – we often only have a day or two before we must begin taking the medications that are meant to help us conceive. There is little to no time to mourn the dream that is once again not achievable; no time to truly allow ourselves to heal from one disappointment before we must begin hoping and trying again. We do not get to pick what days our hormones will plummet or how the medications we are often taking will affect us. We do not get to pick the day that would be “best” for us for our next cycle to start. We are at the mercy of hope, and while that hope keeps us going it is also what leaves us in tears when it is not realized.

Some will experience infertility with a complete lack of cycles. Some couples won’t even get to experience the benefit of being able to really try to conceive because of this harsh reality, which is a constant reminder of brokenness for those experiencing it. The pain and anxiety that comes from a lack of reproductive health can be crippling.

And yet others, despite hormonal dysfunction and health issues, will experience the cyclical nature of infertility through conception itself (or recurring conception). These couples go on to lose their children (early, full term, or shortly after birth, and anywhere in between) either once or many times. If you know that we’ve experienced a loss (something we may or may not have the courage to share), know that we are grieving. It wasn’t “just” a pregnancy or “just another” pregnancy that was lost; it was our living baby that died. And we are more likely to be traumatized by the cyclical nature of our infertility because of our losses. We do not get to choose that our cycles will mimic our losses. We are at the mercy of hope.

Our faith is tested. We ask God “why?”, we yell at Him; we draw closer to God and we push Him away. Mass brings us to tears more often than not and the season of Advent brings us to our knees. The chorus of “Happy Mother’s Day” that surrounds us at Mass every year will be almost more devastating than the blessing of mothers itself. We know that the Lord is trustworthy and that we can trust in Him; sometimes it is just a bigger task than we can achieve on our own.


* Pray for us. Truly, it is the best thing that anyone can do.

* Do not make assumptions about anything – not the size of a family or whether or not a couple knows what is morally acceptable to the Church. Most couples who experience infertility do so in silence and these assumptions only add to the pain. If you are genuinely interested, and not merely curious, begin a genuine friendship and discover the truth over time.

* Do not offer advice such as “just relax,” “you should adopt,” “try this medical option or that medical option” – or really give any advice. Infertility is a symptom of an underlying medical problem; a medical problem that often involves complicated and invasive treatment to cure.

* Do not assume that we will adopt. Adoption is a separate calling and should be discerned by every married couple irrespective of their ability to conceive biological children. Infertility does not automatically mean that a couple is meant to adopt.

* Do not assume that if we try to adopt that the process will be successful. Many adoption attempts fail and don’t result in a couple receiving a child placement (temporarily or permanently). Some couples are flat out rejected from attempting to adopt by different agencies and governments. Just like adoption is an incredibly intrusive and emotionally charged issue that is part of a separate calling in the journey to “parenthood”, it isn’t always a possibility for infertile parents. Do not assume we can. And be gentle if we are trying. It’s extra painful to be infertile and not be able to adopt. And we are likely so hurt that we can’t bear to share the details with everyone.

* Ask how we are doing and be willing to hear and be present for the “real” answer. Often times we answer, “OK” because that’s the easy, “safe” answer. Let us know that you are willing to walk through this tough time with us. Frequently we just need someone who is willing to listen and give us a hug and let us know we are loved.

* Offer a Mass for us or give us a prayer card or medal to let us know you are praying for us. Just please refrain from telling us how we must pray this novena or ask for that saint’s intercession. Most likely we’ve prayed it and ask for the intercession daily. Please feel free to pray novenas and ask for intercession on our behalf.

* Be tolerant and patient. The medications we take can leave us at less than our best; we may not have the energy or ability to do much. Please also respect us when we say “no, thank you” to food or drinks. We may have restricted diets due to our medical conditions and/or medications.

* Share the good news of your pregnancy privately (preferably in an email or card or letter and not via text, IM chat, phone call or in person) and as soon as possible. Please understand that we are truly filled with joy for you; any sadness we feel is because we have been reminded of our own pain and we often feel horrible guilt over it as well. Please be patient and kind if we don’t respond immediately, attend your baby shower or don’t “Like” all of your Facebook updates about your children. Again, it is really about us, not you.

* Help steer group conversations away from pregnancy and parenting topics when we are around. We like to be able to interact in a conversation to which we can contribute meaningfully.

*Do not exclude us from your life because you think we may be uncomfortable. It is actually more painful to be left out because of the cross we’re carrying, and we know that doesn’t make a lot of sense to our families and friends. We will excuse ourselves from events or situations if we must, and please let us do so gracefully if the circumstance arises.

* Do not ask when we are going to “start a family” (we started one the day we got married).

* Do not ask which one of us is the “problem” – we are either fertile or infertile as a couple.

* Do grieve with us if you know that we’ve experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death (or many). You may not know what to say to comfort us, and that’s ok. Let us grieve at our own pace and on our own schedule without guilt or explanations, even if we have living children. Do not offer platitudes for why you think it happened, how you think it’s part of God’s plan for us to suffer, or any number of things you think might have been wrong with the child. It was our living baby that died. Let us grieve, pray for us, and if you can, let us know you care by being there for us in our grief. Let us know that you remember that our baby lived, no matter how short of a life.

* Do not say things like “I know you’ll be parents some day,” or “It will happen, I know it will!” Along the same lines, please do not tell us stories of a couple you know who struggled for years and went on to conceive or to “just adopt and then you’ll get pregnant” (this one actually only happens a small percentage of the time). Only God knows what our future holds, please pray with us that we are able to graciously accept His will for our lives.

* Do not pity us. Yes, we have much sorrow. Yes, we struggle. But, we place our faith in God, lean on the grace of our marriage, and trust that someday, whether here on earth or in heaven, we will see and understand God’s plan.


Because this topic is so difficult for so many women and men, the best thing our friends and family can do (and indeed strangers we encounter who may be aware of our struggles) is pray for us. We are grateful for those who offer their prayers and support in a gentle way. Your support is invaluable to us.

Lastly, remember that compassion means “to suffer with”. We didn’t sign up for this to happen. We can’t control whether we overcome this. And we’re doing our best to navigate the murky waters and maintain our sanity and our faith and our relationships with our family and friends through it all. We truly need your support and love to accomplish that. Please, please suffer with us and be Christ to us. No other understanding of our cross will be more merciful or more loving than if you put yourself in a situation to sympathize or empathize with us. The pain of infertility is exacerbated by the fact that it draws us into ourselves. We need your help to remind us in the most difficult moments that we aren’t alone, God didn’t forget us, and that we have something precious to offer through the fruitfulness of our marriage even when it isn’t manifesting in the children we so desperately want to hold. Together, we can offer up our shared suffering for Christ. It’s a powerful witness to both of our faiths to travel this road together and we’ll manage it better with your help than if we have to travel it all alone.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   ***************************************************************************************

This post was made possible through the collaboration of 430 members of a “secret” facebook group of Catholic women and men struggling with the pains of infertility in all of its forms. Together we are stronger. And in having the conversation, we are breaking the silence.

If you are Catholic and experiencing the pains of infertility and would like to join a “secret” facebook support group, please let me know and I will happily add you to our discussion.”

Thank you for reading this.

How waiting might be good for you… and how to survive it.

Fundamentally, I am a very impatient person.  I do not like to wait for things, and I have an extremely low tolerance for long queues, disorganisation and bad service.  In fact, it has been muttered by those close to me, that I have no tolerance for those things at all.  Unfortunately, my life had abounded in opportunities for me to learn how to be patient and how to wait.  Despite the extensive practice I have had, I am not doing very well at mastering the skill.


Yes, I do think that waiting calmly is a skill that needs to be developed.  I have a theory (and it is only a theory) that patience is not a virtue… it’s genetic, and that particular gene skipped me over entirely.  It would certainly explain a lot!

I am not saying that I can’t wait.  I can.  I have to.  I am not so petulant as to believe that everything I desire needs to be delivered to me right now.  (Well, okay, I sometimes think that, but I know that real life doesn’t work that way, and sometimes you have to suck it up and just go with it).  The thing that I can’t do is to wait patiently, to wait with grace, and to believe that it will happen (whatever it is) when the time is right.  I really, really struggle with this.


Luckily, I have a faith.  I really do not know how I would cope without one.  If I can tell myself that what I am hoping for will happen in God’s time, then I find it helps me to control the impatience I feel.  I still get annoyed that I HAVE to wait, but at least, I have the belief that it will happen when God decides it is the right time.  I am thinking particularly here of the “being a Mother” thing which seems to preoccupy the majority of my thoughts at the moment.  I have waited.  And waited.  And waited.  I have moved things along, I have endeavoured to be proactive, we have enquired after children all without success.  On the bad days I begin to wonder if it is all worth it, and I am close to packing it all in and giving up.  On the good days I remind myself that God will provide, if it is the right course of action in the first place, when the right child is available for us.  I will admit that just at the moment, the bad days are outweighing the good ones.

patience prayer

Now, reading around this topic, most of the the good stuff associated with waiting is about delayed gratification.  Certainly, when/if the time comes and I have a small person calling me “Mummy”, I will have the delight of hearing that.  I am also looking forward to all the problems and issues that come with being a parent.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I look forward to them, because it will be proof that I have become a parent, which is my dearly held wish.  Waiting and wanting for so long certainly puts a different perspective on everything.  I think the fact I have HAD to be patient, will mean that I will be profoundly grateful for whatever hits my plate. The good, the bad, the profoundly busy, the obstacles, every last bit of it.  It strikes me that those who never have to wait for anything at all; perhaps they do not actually appreciate what they have?


As for surviving the waiting –  I don’t really know.  Sometimes it feels like I have managed it (usually by keeping myself so busy I haven’t got the time to turn around, or by counting my existing blessings and being fervently grateful for them).  But there are also times when I feel so far from coping it is frightening.  I suspect this is common for everyone.  I read that meditating and trying to attain peace is a good way of keeping things together as well, although very difficult to do.

If you are waiting for something, then join the club.  How do you get through it?  Any suggestions, gratefully received!

The benefits of journalling…

I will bet most of the people who are reading this post either had or have a journal or diary.  Depending on how you use it, all sorts of things might be written down in it.  In my diary, I mostly keep my appointments and important things I need to do.  But my journal?  Oh well, I keep all sorts of things there.

packed journals

In the past few weeks, my journalling has tailed off.  I can really feel the difference.  I mean, I have been really busy and it is understandable that stuff falls under the radar now and again.  But I have noticed a change in my mood, and not for the better.  I had a lot of stress and resentment simmering under the surface and where I would usually resolve it by writing it all out in my journal, I had instead been rolling it over and over in my mind and getting more and more stressed about it.  How interesting!

Anyway, I was at a big stationer’s shop this morning with my Mum who was buying a new typing chair.  I took the opportunity to take a good look around and found some excellent journals and diaries at bargain prices, along with some really cool coloured pens (a particular weakness of mine) and somehow they all leapt into a basket and were checked out by me.  I love the feeling of new pens and pencils.  I think it might be the accountant in me, still trying to get out.

So when I came home, lo and behold, in the front of one of my little journals it has some information about why journalling is good for you.  I thought it would be a good subject to blog about, and share this information with you.


Journalling is a great way to organise your thoughts.  It is used quite often in self help and life coaching methodologies, and I find it personally a great way of getting some strong emotions out, safely.  It also reduces your mental clutter.  This is great for those times when you are struggling to sleep.  If it is because your brain is going three thousand miles and hour, journalling might be a way to get those pesky thoughts out of the brain so you can sleep.  In addition, sometimes, you can get great insights into who you are and how you operate.  I always find it interesting to see how things looked in the past when I re-read my journals, when I can face doing so.

Studies have shows that it can also improve your mental and physical health, counteract stress and boost immunity.  Considering I have been feeling less than well for the last few days, and I have somehow found the energy to clean my house, do the laundry and get some niggling little jobs done since I journalled again late this morning, I am minded to pay attention to that a little more in future.  of course, the fact that writing helps your cognitive function generally also helps.

love paper

In addition, there are benefits to writing in a paper journal (as opposed to on a screen) also helps keep your inner critic at bay.  Word processors make it all too easy to constantly edit as you type.  Writing without that critic is apparently quite liberating, but I am not entirely sure I am ever going to achieve that.  But it is worth practising.

So what can you use journalling for?  You can use it to set goals, explore ideas, reflect on books or films you find interesting, clarify an unresolved situation, work out emotionally challenging experiences, write about your travel experiences, or even just keep track of your diet and exercise.

What ever you use journalling for, know that it is doing you the power of good to do it.  I am planning on making it a morning thing for me to do some, and do bits throughout the day so I can keep on top of the stressful occurrences which seem to be part and parcel of life at the moment.