Tuesday, 31 May 2011

40 days of being thankful: Day Nine

Bill Bryson said it about Durham, and now I'm saying it about soundcloud. Seriously, if you haven't been there, go at once!

Day Nine: Thankful to have discovered soundcloud.

Mrs O


Monday, 30 May 2011

40 days of being thankful: Day Eight

Today, we took Little Miss O to an art gallery. It's not just any art gallery - its one with the best food in town and one which I used to take her to every single week when she was younger. It was like a second religion for us. Baby girl was so excited to be going back and this time, we took Daddy (Mr O) along with us. He's never been before, he was always at work and he wondered why I raved about it so much.

Anyhow, we had planned to go with a couple of friends and their little ones, but at the last minute they told us that they couldn't make it. Little Miss O was disappointed that she wouldn't be seeing these little pals today but we went anyway. In the pouring rain, we arrived and ran into the gallery. I'm not sure who was more excited to be there  - I think it was a close call between us all. As soon as she had taken her shoes, coat and tights off, Little Miss O spotted 4 'friends' of hers and their parents - friends of ours. It made me realise that we are part of a little community here - the community of green-space seeking/gallery-visiting/bike/scooter-riding, raisins, bread-sticks and houmous eating-young families round here and it made us all feel good. Even though we like the anonymity of not living in our home towns (you know, where you can't leave the house without neighbour no. 1 telling you about what neighbour no2's aunty did last week), its nice sometimes - like today, to bump into familiar faces, you know, just by chance...

Day Eight: thankful for feeling part of a community

Mrs O

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Day Seven - Why worry when you can pray!

Today has been a good day - a great day. The 'negativity' of last week is gone and I am very much enjoying my 3-day weekend! I was especially grateful for the message preached at church today. Our guest sermon was amazing. It was about prayer and how we don't wait until the fire before we run-through a fire drill... so why should be wait until everything goes wrong before humbling ourselves, opening our hearts and minds to the word of God in prayer. Why is it that we just assume we know how to 'pray'. Fine there is no right or wrong way, but surely there is nothing worse than feeling the need to 'pray' and not having a clue where to start. I don't want to be at that place, so I'm going to step up my prayer game! I think it fits in well with my 40 days of gratitude and positivity, so I'll probably use the time when I just 'think' or 'blog' about being grateful to pray instead. I'm still going to write on here what I am particularly positive about each day (33 left!), but I'd like to focus more of my energy into prayer and sharing this little exercise with God himself. I'm really enjoying this desire in me to connect with God and build my relationship with him. I am verging on the edge of 'Bible-bashing' now (which I generally don't like!), but I totally believe in what I am saying, so its hard not to... funny how things swing around!

A really poignant point made today at church was this:

When we're going through troubles, what should we do? Should we sing 'nobody know the troubles I've seen....' Heck no! Nobody knows your troubles? - Who cares! Seriously, this is what our guest pastor said. You really have to imagine this being relayed in a thick Nigerian accent. If you were there in church this morning, you'd be able to testify to how powerful it was when he said these next words...

'who cares about your troubles - everyone has their own! Why worry when you can pray!'

So simply, yet so powerful. Sure, there will still be times when I worry (I'm human after-all!), but imagine if every time I catch myself fretting about something or other, I just stop and pray. Imagine if all the energy I put into moaning, I put into prayer instead. This is such a revelation to me - much like last week's session about positivity and actively making things happen rather than just waiting for them to happen.

For these messages and for my church, I am truly thankful.

Today, I am also thankful for old friends, who make you smile - always. Even when you see them infrequently, you're able to carry on the conversation where you left off. I'm especially grateful for said old friends who congratulate me on losing the baby-weight (I have had 3 years to do so and to be fair, I didn't actually put on any weight!). It's nice to get a little recognition from time to time - for apparently 'not letting yourself go all bleugh!' lol. Charmed, I'm sure!

Much happiness, sunshine and light.

Mrs O

Saturday, 28 May 2011

40 days of being thankful: Day Six

So many things to be thankful for today. Started working my first shift at my church's charity shop. In the words of Little Miss O - 'I had a nice time'... afterwards  met up with her sweetness and his most handsome and played some basketball...

We have just had the most lovely day - apart and together.

The most positive thing for me today is knowing that Mr O and I can do things together and apart. I love that about our relationship. We aren't each other's everything, we find and seek happiness in things outside of our marriage. This keeps us ourselves and means that we always have something to add to our marriage - things always feel new and fresh.

It just feels like a good thing.

I'm chilling at home, whilst Mr O goes wild in another town - and it works perfectly!

Mrs O

Friday, 27 May 2011

40 days of being thankful: Day Five


Today, I am so so so SO thankful that I have a 3-day weekend to look forward to. A three-day weekend where I don't have to drive to work, where I don't have to have difficult conversations with people who should really know better, where I don't have to go for lunches that I don't have to do anything work-related. Nudda! No plans to travel across the country, nor pack or unpack any suitcases, where I don't have to pay for overpriced cold water at a service station, where I wont have to wait in line with a clear zip-lock bag containing my own innocent products... I wont have to any of this 'travel' related stuff... I just get to chill, play, relax and make a few plans with my Mr...

Just what I have been needing...


Mrs O

Thursday, 26 May 2011

40 days of being thankful: Hustles, Water Guns and an obligatory 'Crazy' Lady


This morning, whilst driving to work with Mr O, we saw two guys running towards each other. One guy had just jumped off a bus, he ran, and handed his bus pass to the other guy. The other guy (this is guy no.2) snatched the bus pass and then ran onto a bus travelling in the opposite direction from the other side of the road. Mr O and I just said to ourselves... at least we don't have to hustle like that...

So, the day started positive.

And then it went downhill. Seriously downhill. As the day went on, I got more and more annoyed with things that are beyond my control. For me, being annoyed about stuff I can't do anything about is the worst reason to be annoyed...and that made me even more annoyed and even disappointed in myself for letting such nonsense affect my mood. Not good!

I was trying desperately all day to think of something particularly good that has happened - to me. But, it really has just been one of those days - sure I was about to think and so could be thankful about my faculties are in tact, but I wanted more. I wanted something to 'happen' or to come to some realisation. I was just in a bad mood and was eager to get out of the office and home. We one stop to make beforehand though  we had to take Little Miss O to the shop to empty her piggy bank and convert her coins into hard cash. She has been 'saving' for months, but recently she has been struggling to put our loose coins in there recently (the pig was full of copper!), so we had to go and today. 

We decided to let baby girl choose a little treat that she could pay for herself - she chose 'Mog the forgetful cat' and a pack of water guns which she then used to water a house plant! Her change is going straight back into her piggy bank, but now it takes up less room! So, today, I was thankful that we taught Little Miss O what can happen if you save.. you can buy yourself nice things - like books and water guns - which she loves.

But other than this, there still wasn't anything 'blog-worthy' for me to report as being a particularly positive personal experience... or is it just that the negative things are easier to see? Or is just that I don't realise all the positive things...

Anyhow, as we park up in the driveway, our local crazy lady (now, I know it's not PC, but we call her this with affection) says to me:

"Hello lady [who is she calling lady I thought, but then I call her 'lady' too, so I figure its ok!?]...are you a nurse?"

I wanted to say "no, I'm a doctor", but then I'd be like Ross from friends and have to admit that I can't help her with today's ailment. Instead, I said 

"No, I'm not"

"Are you a Mum?"

"ummm...yes, I am" I said taking my cuteness out of the car.

The crazy lady went on to tell me that she was a Mum, and that the child was mixed race and would have gone to boxing club, but 'they' took the child from her and she wasn't allowed to have the child. She said she had to have 3 operations and now she has no periods....she said that she isn't 'allowed' to be a Mum. 

This was the first time I've ever heard someone say that they aren't 'allowed' to be a Mum. I actually found it quite disturbing. She announced that she was off to post her letters and then said 

"Bye Lady"

"Bye Lady - take care" I replied. 

It was an interesting conversation. I didn't know which parts to believe to be honest, but I felt bad that that was how she felt - that she was not 'allowed' to be a Mum. It sounds silly but my first thought was 'aaaaw, I'm pleased I was 'allowed' to be a Mum'. And, I kind of liked her more than usual because she considered that being a Mum was my job.

We got into the house, and have just seen a program about 'older' Mums and the steep decline of fertility after age 35. Now, on a daily basis I feel blessed to be a Mummy to a gorgeous little girl, but  watching this program made me feel it in a different way. I felt lucky that Little Miss O was conceived so easily, in love and without drama...no IVF, no ovulation calculator, no thermometer. I'm sure I don't need to draw a diagram, but I feel really lucky to have become a Mum just out of love - and little else.

The end of the program said that the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has suggested that school girls should be taught about fertility to help them reconcile the career/motherhood dilemma that so many women only consider later in life. 

Watching this 30 minute docufilm and my conversation with the local crazy lady made me feel thankful and just in time too! It was the perfect way for me to end my seriously rubbish work day! So, yey, I looked and I found something positive that happened today - to me! 

I'm thankful for being a Mum and for the fact that God has already taken the career/motherhood dilemma out of my hands - and transformed my life - for the better.

Sunshine, light and all things rosey! 

Mrs O

40 days of being thankful


Today I got the chance to spend the evening with Mr O - just me and Mr O. For any busy couple or busy parents out there... you'll know just how precious it is to have these moments. Thank you to a certain scrumptious babysitter for facilitating this for us. We're having a really fun time.

I'm a little hyper right now...as I tend to get from time to time... 

So, today, I'm thankful for fun times!  ; )


Mrs O

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

40 days of being thankful

So, yesterday I started on a journey, a journey of positivity and thankfulness. Today, I've actively sought to recognise my blessings and think about what I'm thankful for. It's ironic that when I am actually looking for good things, there seem to be so many. I really am a very blessed gal!

Today I had Bible study class, aka 'footsteps' and as I drove there, I was thinking "mmmm perhaps I'll pop to the Krispy Kreme drive-thru after class"...
Low and behold, I arrive at my course and what is sitting on the table???? Krispy Kremes...! My favourite...cut into halves, so I could sample more than one flavour. This was the first thing I am thankful for...being able to tuck into my 3 favourite flavours without having to eat three whole donuts!

The second thing I am truly thankful for today is new opportunities...

In our class we were talking about things that we can get out of church, like opportunities and a church family, opportunities to fellowship and so on. We were also talking about what we can give back to the church... and this is where I am thankful. 

I have been thinking for a while about volunteering in some way towards the upkeep of our church. It is an amazing building (A.M.A.Z.I.N.G), an amazing church, a society, a family if you will. When I go there I know without a shadow of a doubt that the holy spirit is alive, present and thriving in everyone in the church. You go to our church and you just wanna be on whatever everyone else is on....you would even take a double dose! I just love it.

Anyhow,  somebody mentioned that there is a church-run charity shop that needs volunteers. 

I heard my name...

Now, I didn't know where the charity shop was, but I felt that the call was for me and that I had to answer - and today. Not just because I wanted to have something to write about on this here blog (I was already thankful for the krispy kremes!), but because it is a desire that has been playing on my heart for a while now. I just had to stand up and say - PICK ME! 

Now, volunteering takes time and let's face it, between working a 40 hour week, date night with Mr O, catching up with friends, Mummy time with Little Miss O, attending burlesque class and reading for pleasure(!), I don't have that much 'spare' time. BUT I definitely have time to give back to my church - I get so much from my church that I feel compelled to do this really. I have to make time for this and on days when I think I can't, I'm pretty sure that God will show me just how I can make the time... So, then I ask 'where is the shop' and I'm told that it has just opened about 7 minutes walk from my house! 

God is good! He knows I don't have time to galavant, so he puts it right on my doorstep. I have no excuse!

So, as of Saturday (yes, this Saturday!), whilst Little Miss O and Mr O are off having 'Father-Daughter' time, I'm going to be working on the new charity shop project. I'd usually spend these few hours cleaning the house or some other mind-numbing task, but not this week. In preparation for not being able to do my obligatory chores this Saturday, I've just done a blitz of the bathrooms...if I focus on one room each day of the week, then I wont have as much to do on Saturday morning - thus making time for my volunteering! Woo hoo and then all will be right with the universe again! : )p

That's day two for you: I'm thankful for and feeling positive about new opportunities... 

Mrs O

Monday, 23 May 2011

40 days of being thankful...

Yesterday at church, I was totally inspired and motivated. I loved every minute of the three hours... to be honest, I think three hours was a bit much for Mr O - but me - I was in my element... 

We had about an hour of pure singing and worship, which really just lifted my spirit and properly got me warmed up for connecting with God and my fellow-believers. I was ready to receive the message and my heart was wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide open - it really was great. 

The message from our Pastor was 'be positive'... I know its a simple message really, but when its delivered with power and belief, you actually believe it and take it as Gospel... Our Pastor explained to us that can't just get up one day and win a 400-metre race - you have to train - and train hard! I felt quite smug at this point because I definitely fall into the 'work hard...' camp! He explained that if you want to succeed, you have to arrive early and leave late - basically, you have to put the effort in. A good starting point for this is to have a plan A. Sure, Plan A might fail (see many many previous posts from me for evidence), but, if Plan A fails, there is always Plan B... 

if Plan B fails, then there is always Plan C. If that fails, this doesn't make it time to fall to the ground in a heap (our Pastor demonstrated this!), wailing that the Lord has forsaken you.. .heck no he hasn't, he gave us the whole frigging alphabet (OK, our Pastor didn't say 'frigging'!)... we have all the letters up until 'Z'; failing Plan Z, we can create Plan double A! Now, in fairness, if I reached the point where Plan C failed, I'd probably develop a new Plan and call it Plan A2, for no other reason than because I have an attitude about me which screams  'I refuse to accept defeat'.... It's not necessarily a healthy attitude, but we can deal with that in another post! : )

So, anyhow, our Pastor went on to tell us how in life, the negative things seem to jump out at us at every turn. We don't even try to find negative things, they're just there, annoyingly surfacing left right and centre.... but positive things, well sometimes we have to rack our brains to think of them. The problem with negativity is that is stifles creativity and innovation. This is so true. So true, I feel that I should say it again:

Negativity stifles creativity and innovation.

This one sentence screamed out at me louder than anything else our Pastor said yesterday. It got me because I often say 'my creativity has been stifled by academia'... I wonder now though, has my creativity been stifled by my negativity. Although, I don't regard myself as negative, I (like everyone) have my moments... today, I started thinking, what if I spent more time thinking about the positive things and actually cancelling out negative things in my life. Seriously. What if for every negative thought/action, I cancelled it with a positive?! Does it work like that? Do thoughts and actions work like that? I don't know...but I wanna find out... it can't hurt, right?

So, back to the point of my post... each day I plan to consciously think of positive things in my life. My blog is called 'planning, praying, playing', so it wouldn't be fun for me unless I zapped the fun out of it by creating 'rules' and a plan!!).. So, my rules are:

1) I can't repeat the same positive thing on more than one day

2) It has to be something that I properly, truly and consciously feel thankful for or positive about on that day

3) I have to do this for at least 40 days. Why 40, well Goliath came for 40 days before David managed to kill him... Jesus fasted for 40 days....Moses was on the mountain with God for 40 days and Noah waited 40 days before opening the window of his ark... sure the numbers 3,  and 12 are also significant, but 40 just seems like it will require more effort... surely, the more I put into this little task of mine, the more I get out of it.

So, with that - my first thing to be positive and thankful about is:

Today, I received a book sent to our daughter by a loving friend of ours. Less than a week ago, said friend and I spoke on the phone (the first time in a while) and I told her about how Little Miss O thinks that every birthday is her birthday. This reminded her of a book that she read as a child 'Too much Birthday'. We laughed and carried on our conversation. Today, we got back from work and found this book lying on the doormat. Said friend had ordered the book for Little Miss O and had it delivered straight from Amazon. It only occurred to me that said friend had texted me a few days ago to 'confirm' my address so that she could update her address book. So, in short, I am thankful for my dear friend 'M.D' : ) She is from India, Hong Kong and now Cardiff.. we met in the North East of England and for her, I am truly thankful. In her presence, I feel positive and every time we speak, she brightens my mood. I feel that 'M.D' is very worthy of being my reason to feel thankful and positive today... thank you M.D - here's sending much love, sunshine and positivity your way sweets!!!!


Sunshine, light and positivity - for 40 days (and maybe for always...let's see how this goes...)

Mrs O

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Little Miss O says the Funniest Things

I'm in the study, surfing the web and reading other people's blogs --- generally enjoying a spot of me time... Mr O and Little Miss O are enjoying bath time... there is a lot of splashing going on over in there...

Little Miss O (alarmed) - 'Mummy! Daddy is trying to put soap in my mouth!' 

Mr O (seemingly shocked by the accusation)  - 'WHAT! No, I didn't!!!'

Little Miss O - 'Yes you DID, I can TAAAAASTE it!!!!'

Seriously, somebody needs to call Channel 4 and get them to spend just 24 hours in our house! Life is never dull with a 3 year old around!

Mrs O

Friday, 13 May 2011

Phenomenal woman, that's me...

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

By Maya Angelou, not me!


Monday, 9 May 2011

Passion makes the world go round...

Passion makes the world go round, love just makes it a safer place... Or say said Jazmine Sullivan...

Go figure?!?!

How do we know the difference between love, lust, crushing, obsession, being 'in' love? 

I've felt all these emotions for my husband...But still, if asked to explain these concepts, I find myself at a loss for words.. If you know me' personally, then you know that me' being lost for words is as rare as an eclipse! 

What do 'butterflies' mean? Are they a prerequisite for falling 'in' love--- I mean, can true love happen without them? Can butterflies be felt with some who isn't your 'true love'?

So many questions that I would love to be able to answer confidently someday...maybe I will, maybe not.

If you really want to get me started, ask what a soulmate is?!?!  How many of us are lucky enough to meet them? I've 'no' idea how to define Such things...

I've been (for want of a better word) counselling people and being counselled myself recently about relationships, love and marriage. Then suddenly, I realised, what the fr*ck do I even know. I only have my own experience to go by, I'm still very much a newlywed and I have learnt so much from those who have gone before me'- you've just gotta love the 'aunties' who tell it like it is...

For now though, I'm enjoying thinking about these different emotions and what they mean to my husband and I... And to my closest most friends and famble- thank you for your words!

Happy Monday

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

It's been a while...

... I got busy guys, with the non-cyber world... I lost my blogging mojo. Things have been happening in my life that I wasn't sure I wanted to share on this here space on the web. Whilst everything on here is 'me', I would never put my entire 'self' out there for others to view. Some things are private, right? Also, once I I wasn't sure why I blogged. I knew why I started blogging in the first place, but why I continued to blog, I just don't know. Sure, I liked blogging, sure comments are good to hear...but 'why did I keep blog'.

You see, I've always written, always kept a diary, always shared aspects on my life with people...so blogging was probably a natural 21st century progression for me. But blogging is different. Sometimes people actually read what I write and sometimes I write with the intention of the content being read e.g. when offering tips to other etc. I realised that I was writing for an 'audience'...for people who know me personally initially. Blogging was a way to keep my family and friends updated on the latest happenings, because, surprise surprise, I was too busy to talk to all of them (well, I guess I should 'you') and sometimes repeating the same thing gets a bit tedious - no matter how much you love the person you're talking to!

Anyhow, I'm just gonna spend some more time thinking about why I blog, what I blog about and why I blog about it...

So, if any of the 38 followers, couple of hundred facebook pals, non-facebook friends and family, random colleagues and random passers by are still receiving blog updates.. hey and thanks for sticking with me..

I'll def be sharing some of the stuff I've experienced over the past month or so - before I forget it...

Until next time..

Mrs O
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