To the parents(not pastors) who have just received devastating news…

Your world has just come undone…

You are numb and shocked and drained and running on adrenaline, all at the same time.

This is not a “judge from afar, express an opinion, pray into it, believe over it” sort of situation anymore.

This is THE real thing.

This is your son heading down a path you’d rather take yourselves, a million times over, than allow him to walk it. If only you had the choice, that is…

You are standing by his side, feeling helpless and useless and small.

I know how it feels. I so do…

And I do feel sorry for you both as on top of your personal anguish you will have to face the public opinion. There are thousands of pairs of eyes fixed on you now. I wish I could say to you that what is behind them is all compassion and love and support.

But I would lie to you.

Some of them will but some of them won’t.

Some of them will judge you by the outcome of this fight. This is not even your fight, but they will still do.

They will judge your character. Your integrity. Your passion for God. Your walk with God. Your dedication. Your truthfulness.

They will be chasing Chimeras. They will be chasing “miracles.”

They will be pushing you to feel a certain way. To pray in a certain “faithful” way. To be a certain way.

This will be the greatest “doing” of you, of who you truly are. You will be forever changed by this experience, in so many ways and unfortunately some, in ways you wouldn’t have wished nor expected.

You have a fight ahead of you. Unfair, bloody, cruel, painful.

All you will have left by the end of it will be you. A new you.

A starker, more real, more you than you you.

I wish I could say to you that there will be a miracle. I wish with all my heart that there will be a miracle for you.

But, and listen to me now, the only real miracle that you will get to witness for sure (and this I can guarantee 100%, only this can be guaranteed) throughout this experience will be the emergence of the chrysalis of reality.

The ministry of real instead of the ministry of…whatever it has been before.

Take heart. Seek support from the ones who have fought the battle. Surround yourselves with cushions of previous pain and personal experiences, they are the best to have around.

As for the rest, let them choose their own philosophy and way they look at this.

The fighting is being done, the fighters are in the arena and their least concern should be the audience. Their concern should be survival. Nothing more, nothing less.

You will one day understand my words.

Now go and support your son’s fighting.

As ones who have lost much, we are here to say, “take heart.”

Take heart…take heart…take heart…

Much love and concern and care.

Santa Letters

Just like any other five year old, Emma loves Santa. I have blogged about how we introduced Santa in our family and about how we have tried to reconcile the idea of Santa with that of Jesus‘ birthday and celebration. Last year we used this beautiful image I had found online to explain to Emma that Santa doesn’t have to replace Jesus: photoThis year Emma has been asking more questions about Santa and a couple of times she has even asked me if he is real. I feel uncomfortable telling her fibbs so instead I kept saying to her that he is God’s helper and that he is bringing gifts that God has for her. Emma also wrote her first letter to Santa this year, with daddy’s help, asking for a “guitar, my size” and about Georgie’s whereabouts in Heaven. Too sweet!! santa letterThis morning, Santa replied to her letter, via the Lapland Mailroom! Back in October, the elves in Lapland were looking for mummy bloggers to review their Santa letter service and we happily volunteered! Emma received a personalised letter, a “Nice Child Certificate” and an activity pack including a:

  • Colouring in page “Santa Stop Here!”
  • Elf Yourself Activity Sheet
  • Colouring In Christmas Card (wich has been dutifully filled in under dictation and will leave for Emma’s grandparents’ household shortly.)
  • Door Hanger for Emma’s bedroom
  • Colour in Christmas tree decoration

Personal touches, Emma’s best friend gets a mention in the letter too!

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photo 2 Beautiful graphics, excellent quality both in delivery as in the attention paid to detail.

For all the mummies and daddies out there looking to be Santa’s helpers this year and deliver letters on his behalf, the packs come at £7.95. In our opinion they are a great way to build up the excitement leading up to Christmas and make this period of the year a little more magical!

The ultimately healthy Christmas bacon butty

Bidvest 3663, “the leading food service wholesale distributor”, as their website introduces them, has launches last week a very interesting challenge for a food lover and blogger like me: the best bacon butty!

I eagerly and enthusiastically subscribed to the challenge as, I must confess, I am a sucker for bacon, must have a lot to do with being raised in Romania and all those cold winter months and hearty food my mum used to cook for us!

But I decided to take the humble(yet yum!) bacon butty and lift it to the professional and dignified level of a healthy light lunch!

Here is what I used as ingredients:

  • lean bacon medallions
  • crispy lettuce
  • basil infused olive oil (two tablespoons, for flavour, mainly)
  • two organic eggs
  • cranberry sauce
  • Honey and slept skinny(100 calories only per portion)

Bacon butty ingredientsAssembling my healthy bacon butty was easy and fun: I scrambled the egg, fried two bacon medallions and slightly toasted my skinny. I spread a thin layer of cranberry sauce on the top part of my skinny and used lettuce leaves and pomegranate seeds for presentation and decor.

Here is my open topped butty:

Open bacon buttyAnd here it is, ready to be…consumed :-). All in the name of research for the blog, of course, of course! It was yummy, crispy and light and at 250 calories per butty, a very light and tasty lunch!

Healthy bacon buttyIf we win the challenge and the excellent quality food hamper Bidvest 3663 has to offer as a prize for the winner, you are all invited for lunch on Christmas day!

May the skinniest butty win ;-)!

Magic ordinary moments

DSC_0972 DSC_0976 DSC_0929 DSC_0932 DSC_0937 DSC_0942 DSC_0952 DSC_0959The weekend that has been.

We spent Sunday in Newcastle, going for a walk and taking in the autumnal beauty. The crisp air. The togetherness. The colours. The rawness.

Emma loves being outside. She loves seeing us together, although she would act disgusted if we try to be too close to each other with Alex :-). She loves the sense of normality that we had lost during the months of Georgie’s hospitalisation.

We love Newcastle because that is where we went the weekend after we put Georgie to rest. It is a special place to us, bitter sweet, like most memories we have now.

We are sort of getting back into a family routine. But he is missing, of course he is. He will always be missing and all we can do is keep him with us in our conversations and in our hearts.

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So, how are you?

I get this question ten times a day at least and I answer politely with: “I’m ok.”

Because I can’t pour my heart out time and time and time again and say to you:

1. I am frustrated

My frustration overspills into my conversations and my interactions.

To the point of ranting in Primark over toddler pants and leaving people perplexed at how vexed I can be over a pair of  pants missing from the pack.

I am frustrated with our loss, in practical terms, not only emotionally. God knows how much energy, drive and determination it took to convince Alex to have another baby. And then He goes and takes this baby away. Just like that.

As if to say, your efforts meant nothing. Go ahead, have another go. Start all over again.

Bang your head against the wall of fear and insecurity and financial pressure, of marital discord.

Put your body through another nine months of prenatal depression, puffed up everythings, weight gain, moods, tiredness. Just go ahead. I may or may not allow you to keep the next one.  But I will not remove the desperate desire from your heart either. The desire to hold and nourish and breathe in a newborn. YOUR newborn. because that’s how I rock. All mysterious and conflicting. Don’t try to make sense of it. Just you go ahead…

I am frustrated with the church. I am! I am frustrated with the lack of empathy. With the lack of action and initiative. With the awkwardness. With the comfortable approaches of “we shall let the Lord speak.” With the “prepacked” answers to life’s most painful experiences. With the lack of plans. With the lack of strategies. With the lack of understanding that for people like me, church has stopped being a social club and it is now either source of energy and strength or…the very opposite. I can’t stay in the middle anymore. I can’t “do” church anymore. I need to BE church. I am burning with the desire to be meaningful and be of help.

I am frustrated with my body and my mind. I am back to waking up at night. I am so flipping exhausted at the end of the day, by my thoughts alone! I eat to comfort myself and then I get frustrated with my bloated stomach.

2. I am lonely

I am. I am lonely in my grief. I am lonely in being the only one in my circle of friends who has lost a baby. I am lonely even in the midst of a crowd now.

I am lonely in the church. Not the building, but the assembly of people.

I am lonely in my marriage. We grieve the loss of our son but not together but in different ways and at different tempos. Always at odds with the other’s grieving process. Separated. Lonely while ever so close.

I am lonely on my spiritual journey.

We have had firemen/women Christians showing up when the going was tough. Much appreciated, indeed. When the prayer was needed for healing. When there was still life in Georgie’s wee body. Once the light was extinguished, they dissipated. Disappeared. Vanished. Hidden. Moved on to the next crisis, to the next Christian, to the next “hope.”

But you know what? Although I do not present as a crisis situation anymore I still need friends. I still need love. I still need company and a shoulder to cry on.

I feel lonely in my Christian journey. I have been burning to serve the community, the lonely, the needy, the non-crisis situations, the unlovable for almost two years now. I have journeyed through hell and I feel I have finally emerged from the fog only to find myself on my own in my desire. Why has this burning desire been put in me, why the atrocious journey if there is no leader to lead me from where I find myself now. What am I to do with myself? I can’t sit on a rock and wait for another two years until everybody catches up. What I am to do with myself meanwhile and this suffocating desire I have not created nor placed into my heart? WHAT???

Well, I will do the only thing I know to do. I will protest, I will rally, I will boycott the heavens’ gates and erode my husband’s ears with pleas until I have the “twins” I was promised two years ago. A healthy baby and a place to serve, where I will feel at home, fulfilling my calling and spilling the love that can no longer be contained into my heart.

I will not shush. I cannot. Just like Hannah, I will plead and inconvenience with my cries until I get my answer. Until I have my Samuel and until I am assigned my role in His temple.

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Be Christmas shopping savvy

I have spent to much on this year’s Christmas shopping, hubby has informed me only last weekend.

I did disagree with him, of course I did.

And I did defend myself, bringing out my emotional weapons:

I only have one child left.”

I do not want to be saving money, I would rather save memories.”

“She needs to feel loved by her extended family and they can’t really afford/can’t be bothered sending gifts so I need to fill in for them.”

“I am now making my own money and I want to spend it on her and other people, if I so please.”

But I did agree with hubby on one point. If you shop this Christmas, and you must, who can do Christmas without shopping for family, friends and grocery shopping, then try and be shopping savvy and get the best deals and the best discounts you can.

The last couple of years have seen the mushrooming of online coupon companies offering discounts for thousands of online merchants. This couponing trend had been popular in America for absolute ages, I actually remember watching American TV programs years ago, when I was still living in Romania, of popular TV programs centered on the extreme couponing habits of ours neighbours from across the pond. I also remember visiting friends in America a few years back and them making a point of NEVER buying anything online without a discount or a coupon.

Thankfully, the trend has slowly been set in the UK as well and now we can become professional “couponeers” and chasers of discounts too!

So for your next online Christmas purchase, pause before you buy and try and do some money saving at vouchersky.com or any other voucher or coupon saving website. Please be persevering, sometimes it takes a few attempts to find a valid code or a substantial discount but it will only be worth your search, the sense of satisfaction that comes from saving!

Disclaimer: we were offered remuneration for mentioning vouchersky.com in our post but the opinions expressed are entirely our own.

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Q Pootle 5 Christmas Special DVD…and another giveaway!

Emma LOVES CBeebies still. Yes, she does refer to herself as a “big girl now, mummy!” but some things are still very much in fashion in our household.

So when we were offered the chance to review the Q Pootle 5 Christmas Special DVD, I knew I was onto a winner with Emma and all the other preschoolers or reception year schoolers who would be in for a chance to win their own copy of the DVD!

As expected, Emma wanted so watch it as soon as we opened the mail.

Her honest review?

“it was lovely mummy, it had Santa in it and it was funny and it had no scary bits in it, only joy!”

Sounds like the ideal DVD to me for a small child, don’t you think so?

Her only complaint?

“It was too short, mummy!”

Some facts about the DVD:

1. It launched in the UK yesterday, 17th of November.

2. It is a short (27 minutes) but exclusive, full of good cheer, Christmas episode.

3. For your Q Pootle little fans, a new selection of puzzles and games as well as two picture books from Walker Books have been launched with the DVD, perfect stocking fillers!

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Snapper Productions have been very kind to also launch a video featuring the well-loved Q Pootle characters.

In addition to that, we, as a blog, are offering one DVD as a giveaway, a lovely present to all the little CBeebies and Q Pootle fans out there.

All you need to do, in order to be entered in the draw, will be to like our Instagram page and leave a comment here to tell us who will be receiving the DVD in case you won!

Good luck, come back on the 30th of November to check if you won!

Disclaimer: we were offered the DVD for reviewing but the opinions expressed are our own. The giveaway is open for UK residents only.

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