Success …

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This blog is about my key to success 🙂 

Success – an interesting word. What is success and how to we measure it? (Yes another deviation from the who am I/what do I do mini-series but this does rather cover it too)

This week I had ran my first ever creative writing workshops. And being me I didn’t start with just one but with 4. The reason this came about was because when I was discussing it I came up with 4 ideas and the woman who runs the community centre I’m putting them on in was enthusiastic for all of them and I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to do. Yes that is a bit of “who I am?” – multi-faceted and not single-focused. And then when I mentioned the workshops to a couple of people one could come Monday and the other Tuesday so … Again that is a bit of “who I am?” – wanting to please people/encourage others, which is very different to a people-pleaser. So there I go from not ever having really run a workshop on my own to running four in a place I’m not really known, starting something that had not been done in that venue before and was a bit different to Zumba, Kick Boxing and Weight Watchers.

So how did I do? Well for one class I got my friend who was staying with me and one other

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Workshop number 2

woman, in the second class I got my friend who was staying with me and two other women, in the third class I got no one but had one and half hours to sort out some room rental bookings, the fourth class had three people in, one of whom has said it is not for her and won’t be coming back – though she did say that what I had done was really good and she would recommend it. So I only took in fees half of what I needed for the room rental.

How do I feel it went? For me it was a success. Why? Because all that attended said they loved the content and would recommend it to friends. The one on the first workshop will come back but cannot commit regularly, the two on the second are committing regularly, and two of the three on the fourth are committing to come regularly. So no one is dropping out – apart from my friend but that is because she lives over 200 miles away – and the lady who is already being published in travel publications. All through I felt calm and confident, felt like I knew my material and was able to explain it clearly and confidently. I want to do it again.

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A momentary indecision 

I did on Monday evening have a bit of a dither about whether I should continue in the community centre paying the rental or whether I should have it in my home. The attendees on the fourth workshop very much encouraged me to keep going. So I am going to. I feel at peace with it all and want to carry on.

Success, like Enough which I keep meaning to blog on, are both non-quantifiable. But I think it is something deep inside that helps. In fact the Airbnb guest we have at the moment says that I ooze contentment and appear happy where I am. Ok there are days when I’m not but on the whole I am happy and content where I am doing what I do. Hence the reason for doing the mini-series which isn’t happening much at the mo. But I think this one can be included because “who I am/what I do” is these writing workshops, facilitating others in their writing and CWTP (using creative writing for therapeutic purposes) and feeling successful and contented with who I am and where I am is very much a part of all that.

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New Venture

So part three of what I do with my day/who I am/what I do mini series.

I’ve had rush to get a website and facebook page up and running so that I can post here. jumble of ideasFor a while I have fancied running creative writing workshops, especially after I started the Creative Writing For Therapeutic Purposes MSc. I have loads of thoughts and plans and ideas written all over the place and half baked ideas for websites. It was some of the reason I started this blog; to get an online presence that I liked.

When we moved here I thought I would start in earnest planning workshops. I am a great planner but not so great a doer but it looked like God/fate/destiny had other plans for me. I was connected to this lovely Christian lady who is the most amazing networker and encourager I have ever met. She is amazing. So there we are one day, me and her, chatting down in a local cafe she wanted to show me and in pops the person who runs a local community centre. After chatting a bit I say “so you’re the person Penny wanted to

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Very much how I network 

introduce me to to talk about creative writing workshops”. Well before I really knew what had happened I was signed up for running 4 writing workshops over two afternoon/evenings at this community centre.

So I’m working for myself, having to find my own insurance, do my own publicity, etc, and pay for the room rental. Now both these lovely ladies are networkers so they are putting my publicity out there as fast as I can get it sorted. This has meant that I have then been connected to other people. One of these other people as well as working for the local council on their well-being team is also a business coach and networker! So she now has the local council supporting half of one of my workshops but also has given me great advise on marketing, etc, which is why things have started a bit ad hoc but are getting a bit more professional.

I have also been connect to a lovely online lady called Lisa who runs Roots And Wings, an online support site for business people. I haven’t had much time to look at her site but the big thing I have got from it is about being in for the long term. And thankfully because of that I am not panicking that my start isn’t as professional as it should have been.

So I have now started on a website called Barefoot At The Kitchen Table, because I know

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The mobile kitchen table

that some of my best times with people are around my kitchen table and that really I only wear shoes because it hurts my feet to walk outside barefooted. As soon as I can I will take my shoes off. I would love it if you would click on the link and have a look at my site and share it with your friends.

I have also set up a Facebook page, Barefoot At The Kitchen Table,  which has been hard work in the making and in the trying to get profiled but please again go on and click “like” so that it boosts its profile figures.

But both the website and the new facebook page have come into being after I started advertising. At the moment I do not have many people signed up for the workshops and could finish up having to support the workshops via the Airbnb income, but you know I’m not worried. Why?

bare-female-feet-under-vintage-table-white-retro-tired-businesswoman-woman-girl-leg-cramps-relaxing-no-high-heels-50400483_origBecause I’m in for the long haul and through starting I have connected with other people, have actually got something off the ground, am being known as a person in this area who does this sort of thing, and feel like I am doing something. I feel excited about what is going to happen in two weeks time with the start of these workshops but also excited about what will grow from it. Now I’ve started I will keep going. In fact now its out in the open I will get encouragement from these lovely ladies that are now in my life and who knows where it will go and morph and become.

Life Moving Fast ….

4221396001_5030726696001_5030697883001-vsWe seem to be in a time of great political change in our country. For the first time ever we have an uncontested leader of our country. Is this right? Who can say. But it is a first, at least since the time of voting democracy. Watching satire programs in fascinating because by the time they are screen, having been recorded 24 hours earlier they are no longer news but old news. Things have moved so fast. All program makers know that there can often be items that are changing, like with an election coming up or a big football match – like the Wales/Portugal semi-final. Oh and as an aside – I thought it was great that the team that beat Wales went on to win Euro2016. Wales was beaten by the best not the second best 🙂 Anyway that is an aside.

Talking of that who would accept a team as champions if they had not had to beat anyone to win? No one! But we now have a leader of this country who is leading because her rival shot herself in the foot, so to speak. I find this hard to know how things will go when speed_of_lightsomeone is uncontested like this. But again it is saying something about the speed things are moving – within 3 weeks the UK is a very different place.

On a personal note things have started to move here. I came back from a lovely relaxing 10 days visiting friends back where we use to live and enjoying 3 days of a writing retreat but since arriving back things have not stopped. I came back to a full calendar of Airbnb, my mum and her husband staying followed by my mother-in-law staying, in a gap I went for coffee with a friend up here and in a chance conversation to someone who runs a local community centre am now in the process of building publicity to start not just one but 4 writing courses at the local centre, and also have my daughter’s graduation and a full summer. Things are moving fast here.

As I was dog walking this morning I wondered if maybe the world, or at least the UK, is moving quicker. I know time is a relative concept but within the scope of how our country is run has changed dramatically. But also within my own life too. It is a dramatic change. Yes I had put it out there – not prayed as such but mentioned in a post on a writing facebook page that one of my adventures I would like to do would be to run creative writing

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Canolfan Dewi Sant, Pensarn – the location of my writing courses

classes. I did not expect that to happen. I was thinking I could start putting feelers out come September but not start in September. But now the publicity is out there. I’m getting my public liability insurance and will start really selling it in 10 days time at the community centre’s open day. I am a person who doesn’t mind change which is probably just as well. Even within the thoughts on the change of direction of the UK and the whole political situation I do find it fascinating and something I can roll with. With myself and these writing groups I find it a challenge because there are things I need to do – like posters, go chat to people, get publicity out there, put a reasonable facebook page together. All of which I find challenging. Also there is that concept that sitting in my room on my laptop all day isn’t really work – I think this myself at times but also I know others do too. It is hard to say “I’m writing/thinking all day” so I do get lost in the whole thing of emailing friends, reading stuff, buying things that I know we need but maybe not yet. The whole writing phenomena, whether building up a facebook page, a website, or even writing my target of 1000 words for my novel, do seem to slide. And of course there is still the house cleaning to fit in.

Another fast moving things too is that a young girl – 2 days younger than my daughter – has asked if I will support her with Bible study. She says she needs an older Christian 6e4314dd3eb384859b9d1bdaa2e6a591friend and thinks I’m it 🙂 That’s good news but again it is faster than I thought. She goes to the Bible study group we sometimes go to on a Thursday evening. We are still at the point of trying to work out what church we want to connect with and get involved with but here is a girl who wants me to do the discipling/bible study/mentoring bit already.

We have not been here 6 months yet and yet when we went to the local carnival on Saturday we saw 4 people that we knew to talk to!!! And I am moving into that stage of knowing more. I think for me within in all this I have to trust that God is God and He knew before the beginning of time that things would move and happen as they are. That Theresa May is the undisputed leader of not just the Conservative party but the Prime Minister of the UK is not a surprise to Him. Neither is the fact that I’m going to be running creative writing groups and doing some discipling earlier than I thought.So for me I have to trust in Him and believe and pray and wait and see. And also get on and do the things hqdefaultthat I can do, the things I’m meant to do. Trusting God isn’t an idle time but a time of listening doing what He is leading me into – which at this moment means posting this and getting on with some publicity stuff 🙂

Fresh Start! Really?

the-ability-to-start-over-240x221Ok so yes we are in a new place with a new house and new things all around us. I still don’t know where to find half the stuff I want to buy, get excited when I find the butcher and get me meats I want, etc. So yes to a point it is a fresh start. But will that make things better? And what do we mean by better? Will we have the perfect marriage because we now live in North Wales? Will I get around to doing all those things I’ve always wanted to do? Yes maybe! But there are some truths we have to admit beforehand!

See, and I discovered this a long time ago, is that when you move you take yourself with you. There was a song back in the 1980’s by Crowded House called “Weather with you” which I wish I’d listened to clearer which says that basically wherever you go you take you with you. Now I have travelled lots not so much to find myself but to get away from  myself. I was trying to escape who I was and yet the crazed, insecure person kept turningtake-the-weather-with-you up. I’d get into relationships in the hope that they would take over and help me to be ok. But again I kept turning up in them and doing the same crazy things I always did. Eventually I met with God and realised that He loved me for who I was – crazy, scared, insecure, looking everywhere and blaming every thing else rather than at me. And you know once I got to accept that unconditional love I could then start looking at me and who I really am. I like me now. I’ve stopped running away from me now. I do like the fact that I can move 250+ miles and I come too. Ok there are bits of me I would like to change that do keep coming along. I have to decide whether to accept or change those bits. I think that I have to accept before I change.

But also what has come too is the pain and grief of the last few years. I’ve seen a facebook message from a young friend about a friend of his who has died at 23. It brings back to me the rubbish loss of life too soon, of how God doesn’t come through as a knight in shining my-knight-in-shining-armor-doctor-who-17902797-400-220armour and change it all, keep people alive. Somehow God works things differently. So I’ve had to take my scars and wounds with me. They didn’t stay behind in the old house, they couldn’t be stripped off and thrown away like the new owners did with all the decorating we had in that old house of ours. The scars are a part of me too. They come along. A change of venue doesn’t make them vanish. That isn’t to say I dwell on them and tell people. It doesn’t mean I look at them and pick at them every day. These are scars that God has been healing but they remain as who I am. Without sounding blasphemous, but like Jesus scars from the cross. They didn’t vanish because we all have to see and remember what He went through but that doesn’t mean He dwells on them. Without my stuff I wouldn’t be me!

And you know in reality I don’t want to start here as a clean slate. I want to be here as me with all the things I come with; good and bad. Because of my journey and because of who I d-romans12-15am it helps me to be able to weep when others weep and also rejoice when other rejoice. If we are to give a safe, hospitable space to others we do have to remember who we are and where we’ve come from, to accept ourselves and our circumstances, good and bad, and let our lives and what we have to give flow from there. I think too that if we can accept that change of location doesn’t change us then we have so much more to give.

the-curious-paradox-is-that-when-i-accept-myself-just-as-i-am-then-i-can-change-carl-rogers
Very excited to find that someone else had said this before me. I’d only just though of it as I wrote 🙂  & Carl Rogers is someone I quite admire!

 

Though also we need to remember that – wherever place we can change and grow so long as we can accept and love who we are now. And also let God set the pace not us!

Coming Home

Well I have decided to publish this. After days of being a bit disgruntled that we don’t have internet access I had a brain wave! I could join the library and take my laptop over and publish things like that. Duh!!

Apart from there is this thing in the corner of my screen that says “WifiSpark”, obviously telling me I’m on the library’s wifi, but it’s in the way of where I have to click to get pictures up. Oh well, blog post without pictures!!

(We are without internet as I write this. So this was written on Wednesday 17th February 2016 whilst I wait at home for our new fridge freezer to be delivered. The lovely people at Knowhow have given me a 4 hours window for delivery – between 9.10-13.10! So I sit and wait and write and watch the rain!)

It’s interesting how a place feels, or it to me. I know when I feel happy, safe, out of sorts, when a place is where it wants me. Being here, both our temporary stay in Gaerwen, Anglesey and now here in Abergele feels like coming home. It’s hard to put into words unless the person you’re telling has felt it too. My mum has always said there have only been two places she’s ever felt at home in; one the house she was born in and spent the first approximately 25 years of her life in, and then this house she’s in now which it looks like she’ll live her last years in. She’s been there over 35 years now. She lived in 4 places in between and says she never felt at home in those places, always feeling uncomfortable.

I’ve been amazed at the places I’ve felt at home in. Being here in North Wales reminds me of when I went to Belfast to live. I was only there 18 months and what went on around me was pretty traumatic but I still always felt it was a place that I was at home in. I felt the same when I lived in Greece. Again there were things that happened there that weren’t great but there was something in the heart of the country that made me feel like this was a place I belonged. I am feeling it here already. In fact as soon as we stepped out the car nearly two weeks ago at the chalet in Gaerwen, even though the rain was coming down in sideways sheets, it felt like we’d come home. In fact we both said it. There was something in the land which connected to our hearts. It feels like this land is welcoming us in.

Two unconnected friends both said they felt we were having to be like Moses when he crossed the Red Sea, willing to give it our all and not look back not knowing what was going to happen; the whole thing with being willing to sell our house in Wiltshire without knowing for sure if we would get this house here, and then the completion dates coming in together anyway. We had to be willing to commit to this place and this land and to the whole moving things. We had to be willing to go into temporary accommodation as part of our committing.

Dreams Can Come True

12717924_10153450638860698_431749189329462620_n(2)Yesterday whilst we were walking on the beach and looking at the mountains in the February sunshine we got a call to say that our house sale had completed then a hour or so later a call to say that our house purchase had been completed.

Ever since I was little I use to dream about living near the sea, close to mountain with a room of my own. This was my special place. I use to go there in my head when I felt sad or lonely or when I couldn’t sleep. It was a fantasy. I never prayed for it to become real and I suppose never thought I’d could have something like that. Not that I didn’t deserve it but that the lifestyle I was leading would never lead to that. I was content with where I was and who I was and that was it. Yet this morning I wake up and it has all come true. Actually I went to bed last night in a real grump, but I think that was because I thought the bubble would burst and that it would all fall apart, and that it really was “too good to be true!” Silly me!

It has been tough getting to this point, as in the buying the house and moving, but actually 6 sea roadthe journey to here too; the things we’ve walked through in the last few years which almost drove our marriage apart. I wonder why it didn’t? Both my husband and I have been in relationships that have ended in divorce without going through any of the traumas we went through. I wonder what we’ve had? Maybe it is that deep inside both of us there is this shared dream – of the sea and mountains – that has held us together? Who will know what it is that holds some people together and drags some people  apart. But all I do know is that I couldn’t be where I am now without him. And it’s not just that he has the money. It’s much more than that. Standing with my slightly hard-work-at-times husband has meant that I could achieve much more than standing alone. There was a point when we got in the car on 10 days earlier to travel to Wales into temporary accommodation without either our house sale completed and being told the other house was nowhere near ready that I panicked. If it hadn’t been for Ian I would have jumped out the car and gone back to bed, but he held there in strength and kept it going.

6a0120a85dcdae970b0120a86e0f51970b-piWhen we got married my father-in-law had a picture for us, of us sawing a huge log with one of those 2 people saws, and he said that the way things worked best in a marriage was when each person did their bit and took their turn in pulling the saw through the wood when it was the right time to do it, and that if one pulled when they should have been guiding the push, or even pushed when the other wasn’t ready to pull then there would be problems. But if we could each just know when it was our turn to do the right thing then the log would be sawn smoothly and no one would get hurt. We’ve made a mess of this over our past 9 years at times, pushing when we should have been pulling, or even forcing a push when we should have just been supporting and guiding, pulling when the other was pulling too. Yup we’ve messed up at times but we’ve stayed the course. And as I write this I’ve realised that another dream has come true. Ok so Ian isn’t the knight in shining armour coming in on his white charger, in fact he looks very silly and uncomfortable on the back of a horse, but he is my friend and my companion, he’s there with me to walk through. He is someone I want to grow old with.

We have become the verse we had read at our wedding from Ecclesiastes 4:11-13

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

So dreams do come true and with these it feels like quite unexpectedly 🙂 two-better-than-one

… and Things That Are Unhelpful

I would have written this yesterday but we were doing the final packing of the house and driving to our holiday cottage.

m5_closure-960x600Well after the great one line help from Martin Scott – which actually was very appropriate for the actual journey because the main motorway we had to go up was blocked and we had to do a pretty major detour through the middle of Wales, adding 2 hours to our journey, and then also made an error of judgement on a junction adding more to the journey. As always it was a struggle to enjoy the detours 🙂

Also I was really tired because I’d hardly slept the night before because of a chance comment from a neighbour. I’d popped round to ask our next door neighbour if he could put our recycling bins out on Monday and he just said that he was surprised how quickly our sale had gone and normally they take longer! Now I know that nearly everyone I know had said they thought it was taking a time, but we’d had this “picture” from someone about us going too fast. Ok that was back in October/November time but in the middle of the night it jumped and “attacked” me. I got caught up in the whole thing of timing and sugar-molecules-playing-when-youre-not-sleepingwhat if we’d got it all wrong. And that we shouldn’t be moving now, that we should stay put and wait. Oh and even moved on to worrying that I was abandoning my children. Ok they are 22 and 24 but it was 3am!

Oh and also he said about how expensive storage was. I then got down to the idea that I’d read the email from our removal company wrong and it was £72 a day not £72 a week. Well that was me gone. I had to get up at one point and have a cup of calming tea and pray. But as soon as I got back to bed the “demons of the night” came back to sow their doubts.

It amazed me how easy it was to go from certainty to doubt. But then that is what faith is all about. If we were certain all the time when we would have knowing rather than faith. Faith is being sure of what we aren’t certain about. Ok a bit of a paraphrasing there, but I do think that. If I was so sure of things then where would the steps of faith be? Faith certain of what we aren’t sure about!

trustAnyway I expressed by doubts and fears to Ian as we journeyed up. He was great and said about how it felt right to be doing this but actually even if we are doing totally the wrong thing in the wrong timing that’s ok. We have to work from where we are. And then he teased me to remind me that these were my words that I had said to him before 🙂