All things work together for good…

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I’ve said it once before and I’ll say it again, it can take a miracle to get our family on a holiday and this one is no exception. I am currently sat here in our tent on a lovely mild summer’s evening looking forward to a long weekend in Lincolnshire with other families from our church.

This was completely unexpected as less than a week ago our family holiday was cut short and it didn’t look like we were going to be able to get away at all this summer. But due to unforeseen circumstances another family in our church were unable to make it to the ‘One Event’ and blessed us with their tickets.

It could be so easy to look at a lot of the negatives from this week, but the fact is there are so many positives too!

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My daughter dancing with new friends she's made already!

We are so blessed to be here. It wasn’t the holiday we had planned or expected…I’m sure it’ll be so much better!

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21 Days

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They say it takes 21 days to form a habit. Now, as I’ve recently been finding, this works for both good AND bad habits.

I’ve been looking round my house and, despite being a naturally very organised, clean and tidy person, I’ve managed to fall into some very bad habits with regards to cleaning (i.e. it’s not getting done any where near as often as it should be!) I’d been trying to work out why this is the case, and I realised that when you’re in a good habit such as doing the dishes straight after tea or straightening  up the living room before going to bed, if life throws you a curve ball (gosh, I’m sounding all American) then it’s very easy to fall out of those good habits without realising it.

For me, these curve balls have come in the form of DIY, Summer holidays and blocks of very busy weeks. Once things in the house have got on top of me, I try very hard to get organised again only to find within days that it’s all gone to pot again! Why? Because I’d let things slip for long enough to get out of the good habit of staying on top of things.

So now I’m on the case of putting back into place all those good habits that I once had. I’ve been inspired by some cleaning schedules I’ve found on Pinterest and I liked the way that the cleaning and tidying is organised and spread throughout the week to make it more achievable.

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Now, admittedly I have had this cleaning schedule on my fridge for several weeks and not done very much about it! But the reason for this is because I’ve felt like I had to start doing it all at once. BIG mistake when trying to form a good habit! My plan of action now is to focus on one category of task every day and make sure I achieve that… for 21 days (at least!) That way once that habit is in place and I’m doing it automatically I’ll be able to start working on another part of the schedule and forming that into a daily habit…

Well, that’s the plan. Let’s see if it works! Ha ha!

No man is an island

There are times in our lives when we’re really grateful for the people we have around us and the communities that we’re a part of. Whether these communities are at work, in our neighbourhood, our family or church they all have the same things in common: we enjoy time together, we look out for each other, we celebrate together in the good times and support each other when life is tough.

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Today I’m really grateful for the church community we’re a part of. We had fun today enjoying a bbq and watching my daughter play with her friends. It occurred to me today there how blessed I am to have these people in my life. There are people in our church who have helped us on a practical level such as providing meals when our daughter was born and when my husband was in hospital, fixing a leak in our kitchen roof and also helping my husband with DIY in our house. Then when life has been tough there are people who have supported us in prayer, given us encouraging words or simply just given me a hug when it’s been needed. We’ve also shared a lot of fun times together on camping holidays, meals out, summer picnics and Christmas parties.

At the centre of every community is life. Life in all its messiness, perfectness, challenges, trials, sorrows and joys. There’s a saying that ‘No man is an island’. We’re not meant to try and struggle through on our own. For this I am grateful.

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Life’s for sharing

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Our lovely two week family holiday has come to an unexpected premature end due to a family incident. Packing down the tent and filling up the car in a hurry at 5am this morning was no mean feat, and inevitably some things got missed…. like my husband’s water bottle. Thankfully my daughter was happy to share hers! Ha ha!

A Very British Summer

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Today is a very brief post due to the lack of sleep had by all thanks to a terrential thunderstorm. Yet the photo above is proof that the sun did shine on our holiday.

That’s the thing about British weather. In any normal country you’d wake up in the morning, see a threatening grey sky, watch the rain pelting down and think, ‘I’ll wear my jeans and wellies today. That would be sensible.’ But, no, today I walked around Stoke on Trent in scorching sunny weather wearing heavy jeans and muddy wellies. Why? Because this is the UK. And when the weather forecast says rain, it inevitably doesn’t mean it.

My husband says I need to feel more of the British optimism when it comes to summer weather. I say I need more accurate weather forecasts!

A day in the life of a camping toddler…

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I was so excited to wake up this morning in my ‘Night Garden’ bed inside our new blue tent! I yelled for Mummy and Daddy because I knew they’d be just as excited. Mummy was in a big bed right next to me. She wasn’t smiling like I was so Daddy got up instead and we had Weetabix for breakfast. Daddy likes Weetabix. It’s his favourite. He thinks it’s my favourite too, but Cheerios are my real favourite breakfast.

It was still a little bit dark outside but I didn’t mind. I really wanted to go to the park and play on the slide but Daddy said it was too wet because it had been raining, so instead we went running round the campsite looking at all the tents and collecting lots of different leaves that the wind had blown off the trees. Nobody else was out like me and Daddy. I wondered where everybody was.

When we got back to the tent I went to wake up Mummy. She was smiling now so I gave her a kiss.

After Mummy had her breakfast we drove in the car to a great big lake. It wasn’t very far away and Mummy said we probably could have walked it. I liked all the stones on the ground where we left the car. They made a funny noise when I ran on them.

We walked all round the lake (Daddy said it was a nature reserve). I like walking a lot, but I was really tired this morning so I kept asking Mummy to carry me. Then I thought I wanted to walk so Mummy put me down. Eventually Mummy said no so Daddy carried me instead.

We saw lots of ducks at the nature reserve. The ducks followed us round. Mummy said they probably thought we were going to give them bread but all our bread was in the tent. We also saw some white butterflies, busy bees on purple flowers and a really big dragon fly! Then we went back to the tent to have lunch so I said bye bye to the white stones.

After lunch we went to a town. It was different to the town I usually go to with Mummy. This town had really narrow pavements and Mummy got cross with me when I wouldn’t hold her hand when there was a big lorry driving on the road next to us. So Mummy said I had to go in my red buggy, i didn’t want to go in my red buggy so I held her hand.

At the town (Daddy said it was called Ashbourne) there was a really big tunnel and we went inside it and shouted noises. I liked it a lot because I could hear my own voice coming back to me. It was called an echo.

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I like hearing my own voice. I like talking a lot. Sometimes I like saying the same thing over and over again like, ‘What’s that, Mummy?’ or ‘Daddy, what you doing?’ After I’ve said it lots I sometimes start shouting it because Mummy and Daddy don’t seem to hear me.

Mummy made pasta for tea. I like pasta. I also like helping Mummy make tea. It’s much easier than at home because I can reach all the food and all the pans in the tent. I got out all the spaghetti to play with but Mummy said it wasn’t a toy. So I thought it would be more helpful to turn the nobs on the cooker…it turns out that wasn’t helpful either. So Daddy and I played with my sticker book whilst Mummy made tea.

After tea time Daddy put my bedtime nappy on and my pyjamas. I don’t know why because he said we were all going to the shop to buy cake. I liked it at the big yellow shop. I ran round with Daddy whilst Mummy picked things off the shelves. I started singing ‘My God is so big, so strong and so mighty.’ Daddy smiled at me so I sang it again with my big voice like in the tunnel in town so I could hear my echo. Then Daddy stopped smiling so I stopped singing.

In the car on the way back to the tent I kept asking Mummy and Daddy, ‘See tent? Back to Mummy, Daddy and my tent?’ It was taking a long time to get there. Then Daddy said, ‘Go to sleep.’ So I said in a big voice so he knew I wasn’t tired, ‘No thanks!’ Then Daddy smiled for some reason and said, ‘Close your eyes.’ He clearly hadn’t got the message, so I said in an even bigger voice, ‘No! Open da eyes!’ Mummy made a funny noise after I said that. They really…. don’t seem…to…*yawn*….understand….that…..I’m. ……..just………..not………*yawn*……

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Happy Glampers!

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It is nothing short of miraculous that we are finally on holiday! Not only because holidays always seem to be at the bottom of our ‘to do’ lists, but also because we’re so last minute with booking anything I’m stunned we actually managed to find a NICE campsite with availability.

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True to form we only started packing this morning for our two week family holiday tour of the UK (okay I’m exaggerating… just Staffordshire, Suffolk and Norfolk!) But we still managed to leave on time! Well, half an hour after we planned to leave which is as close to on time as we tend to get. And we would have been on time if my daughter hadn’t decided to have a wee in the middle of the living  room floor minutes before leaving!

It was a good journey down to our first campsite. I spent most of the time on my mobile trying to find a campsite for the third part of our holiday (I told you we’re last minute! )

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When we pulled up to the campsite my daughter was beside herself with excitement seeing all the tents. She’d been counting the sleeps until she was going to get to sleep in our new tent and it was her first time camping.

When we arrived the plan was for Daddy to put up the tent whilst Mummy and daughter went to the play park, but our little ‘helper’ had other ideas!

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Spag Bol was on the menu for tonight. ‘Keep it quick, simple, easy but REAL’ is my motto for camping food.

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Now that the toddler has finally gone to sleep (two hours later than normal!) I think we’ll start to plan what we want to do in lovely Staffordshire. ..did I just say ‘plan’?!?

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