Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Dear Seth

Today is August 19th, a World Day of Hope for Pregnancy and Infant Loss.

I haven't made a prayer flag for today, as I just didn't have the time or resources to do so these passed few weeks.

I haven't visited your grave, a few countries and an ocean sit between.

I haven't lit a candle yet, because it's still light outside.

I'm sorry I can't do more for you; today and every other day. When I think about you my heart still hurts, and my arms still ache, just for you.

Your little sister is so wonderful and crazy and cheeky and happy and hilarious. She has so much energy and entertains everyone who sees her. I wonder if you would have been the kind of big brother egging her on, or the calm and quiet type who smiles secretly at her little jokes. I wonder how you would have played together, if you have the same smile, or laugh, or dance in the same way. Or those same chubby cheeks and bright eyes, or if you would have walked with your feeting turning slightly inwards too.

All these things I wonder, but what I do know Seth, is that you're brave, and kind, and spiritual, and safe where you are.

I know by the way you've touched my heart, and the way I feel when I sing your songs, and when I mention your name, and when someone else mentions you.

I know too, that you have left his earth; this mortal existence, but you've not left me, or Lily, or your Father, or anyone who might wish to feel you close. I know you are there, and strong, and comforting, and you are perfect in every way.

I still cry when I think of you, or when I hear the songs we sang at your funeral, and my heart swells when I sing your last song to Lily, which she just loves so much.

But my tears turn to joy when I think of the day when we will embrace each other, and fill each other up with peace as our arms fold over the other's back, and how at that moment, I'll be home, and so will you, and we'll be home together, and we'll never have to be apart again. It will be the most beautiful day.

Lily is so much like your Father, that I can't help but wonder if you would be just like me. And I think maybe you would.

There were so many dreams I had for you on Earth, and now I have hopes and dreams for you in Heaven too. I hope you are safe, and happy. I hope you are surrounded and loved. I hope you're someone's guardian angel, and someone's prompt to do the right thing. I hope your someone's reminder of Heaven, and someone else's missionary. I hope you remind people here that there's life after death, and death is not the end. I hope you sing whenever you can; music is eternal. I hope you strengthen people, and lift them up, and love them unconditionally. I hope you know I love you, and that I will never forget you, even for a minute.

I may seem busy, or occupied, or even displaced at times, but you're always there in the back of my mind, reminding me that life hurts, but it's okay, because life doesn't end on earth.

I love you Seth, keep being you, whoever you are, wherever you are, whenever you go, whatever you do; just be my son.

I pray for Heavenly Father to watch over you every day.

All my love,

Mum xoxox

Monday, 28 July 2014

25 Songs, 25 Days; Day 5

Day five; A song that is often stuck in your head

You know the song Royals, by Lorde? Well, that's an awesome song, but I can top it:

When Lorde released her original song a year ago, I loved it. I would sing it at random times and to Lily. I love how she uses her voice in that song and it's just so catchy.

But then I discovered this beauty a couple of months ago. And it is this particular version that is always. stuck. in. my head. With the crazy-awesome African accent that Alex Boye does in so many of his hitched-up covers, which is awesome. Even better? This guys a Mormon. Just to get it out there.

He does some awesome stuff, and you should really check out his youtube channel. Specifically this song. It just makes you want to move your body like you wouldn't normally. Have a go. It's really fun.

25 Songs, 25 Days; Day 4

Day four: A song that calms you down

I've found it strange how every day so far (I know it's only four days but still) as soon as I have read the topic a song has instantly come to my mind, and it's been the one I write about! I love music, it goes to show how much we relate music to things in our life, often without even realising how directly. 

I remember the first time I heard this song, I was sat in the car with my sister-in-law and her husband driving to Sainsbury's. Pete and I were still dating at the time. It was one of those pull-out-your-phone-and-type-the-lyrics-as-fast-as-you-can-so-you-can-google-it-later type moments. And it was magical. 

This song just has such a soothing beat. I usually loathe repetition in music as it is so closely associated with dance and house music which just gets on my crazy nerves. But the repeated riff in this one is awesome, and smooth and calming. 

I love it when songs tell a story, a real story that can be related to by people everywhere. So often now songs are just of people complaining; that they can't get the girl/guy; that they don't have enough money; that they hate society/life/everybody/all of the above. And that also gets on my crazy nerves. But I love it when songs offer solutions; give advice - set you free somehow. 

This song does that. Some might think because of the story in this song that it's considered "depressing", but it does really calm me down, gives me hope of finding my place in the world, and gives me hope for those I know are out there, struggling quietly with something.

Maybe it's the imagery of driving away with the one you love and leaving everything behind and going fast and figuring it out. And the way this song just says "No, this won't be perfect, but it will be good, and it will be worth it, and we'll be together." We'll just jump in your fast car and drive, and keep driving until we've found somewhere that works. 

Even the thought, the hope of such a thing for somebody in a terrible situation must be something like relief. 

Let's just take your fast car and keep on driving. Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe whenever. Let's team up and go. Let's all team up, and drive. We'll be alright, we'll be good, we'll be calm. 

Friday, 25 July 2014

25 Songs, 25 Days; Day 3

Day three: A Song that reminds you of your Parents

Now this? This was an easy one. I don't ever remember being told that this was my parents' "song" at their wedding, I kind of always just knew. And it's a brilliant one.

What a beauty, am I right? Not really. Maybe it was just the way that this song was drilled in to me from childhood, in its many comedic variations, inlcuding but not limited to the following;

  • When I'm feeling glum all I have to do... is take a look at Mum....Then I'm not so glum....
  • When I'm feeling dim all I have to do... is take a look at Tim... Then I feel less dim...
  • When I feel like a wally all I have to do... is take a look at Hollie...
Etc., etc., etc...

My family seemed to find a word and witty line to rhyme with everyone's name, and it was very amusing for us as kids, and reminiscing now? It still is rather hilarious. 

But this silliness isn't the limit of my memory of this song, and why I relate it to my parents. It's also the way that my Dad would start to sing it at random times, and then my Mum would join in, and you could just see in their eyes how sincerely they believe that they are in possession of the famous line in the song; their very own Groovy Kind of Love. 

When I was younger, I did think it was a bit ridiculous. I mean, who even uses the word "groovy", am I wrong? (Though I must admit, the older I get, the more the word groovy sounds somewhat appealing...)

But to tell you the truth, my parents do have a groovy kind of love; the kind that lasts forever. This song just sums them up in every way. And I am actually really grateful for this song; for the laughs that it brought to our family growing up, and for the love that was brought in to our home through that laughter. And if you listen to it enough, it's actually a pretty decent song. It's honest; no cover-ups. It's not trying to be something it's not. It's just love. And that's just what my parents are; honest, loyal, loving, no fakery. Just an incredible example of love. Love you Mum and Dad!

25 Songs, 25 Days; Day 2

Day two: A Song you listened to as a Teenager

I discoverd this song when I was about 13 years old, and from the moment the first chord hit my inner ear, I knew it was love. 
To me, what was SO AWESOME about Yellowcard, was that they were pretty much deemed a rock band, but they had one thing no other rock band had; a violin, and an incredibly played one at that. I was just so psyched that my two favourite genres of music (rock and classical) had been merged together to create something epic. 

There was this one friend I had who shared my taste in music pretty much completely.  We always seemed to be listening to the same stuff on our ipods, and if I discovered something new, I knew I could show my amazing discovery to this particular friend and it would never go unappreciated. This friend actually introduced this song to me, and we would sing it together over and over just having the time of our lives, thinking that we could just sing it forever. And to be honest we could have. But time moves on and people grow apart and so did we. But whenever I hear this song I think of that one friend and the awesome times we had together sharing music and being invincible teenagers who thought that the worst thing in the world was a dead ipod battery and running out of phone credit simultaneously. I think that one still might make the top ten somehow...

But anyway, I hope you enjoy my contribution for my second day of 25 songs for 25 days - it's truly a great one. Let it take you back to that age of innocence when leaving town with the only person you know who appreciates music, and just running forever actually seems like the most incredible idea. 


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

25 Songs, 25 Days; Day 1

Day One: A Song from your Childhood

So, I saw this thing on Pinterest (it's actually crazy how many of my sentences start like that) that I found whilst pinning "Journalling" ideas. It was entitled 25 Songs, 25 Days, and I thought it looked pretty awesome, so I decided it was something i would embark on, and share it here on the blog to get the bloggy juices flowing a bit more freely, and maybe have some fun with some fellow bloggers!

All that is required, is to pick one song per day for 25 days that fits the day's requirement, along with an explanation why you picked it.

So day one, is A Song from you Childhood. And only one song came to mind...

We used to sing this song in Infant School all the time. Seriously, like every Friday at the end of the day, and more often if we'd been good. Every kid I ever met at school absolutely loved this song, and would beg to sing it at every "treat" opportunity. It was either this or heads down, thumbs up. (Remember that one, eh? I sure do. What a game!) But Puff - that wonderful magic dragon - for me signified years of pure joy in childhood - Puff turned even the roughest, chavviest kids innocent at the end of singing hour, and every child (no matter how terrible their singing voice) would give this one their absolute all, and would literally feel elated whilst doing so, and then experience those terrible mixed feelings when the last chord sounded; joy at having sung the song = as best they could, but sincere pain and anguish now that it was over, with the knowledge that no teacher anywhere would ever be kind enough to let them sing it twice...

But when I became older, it was revealed to me that Puff supposedly signified more than childhood innocence and imaginations running away with the words of a song to the nearest beach with their very own pet magical dragon, and vowing when that dreaded third verse came that if they were blessed Jackie Paper that they would never betray Puff the way he did...

Anyway, my memory of this most happy children's song was tainted at some point, with the knowledge that Puff was not a magic dragon at all, and that the talk of Pirate ships and other wonderful things was all a metaphor for something other than childhood innocence fading away. I refused then to believe that Puff symbolized the tasteless smoking of such substances that supposedly conjure such magical thoughts in one's head, and still do now.

Puff lives on in my heart - how about yours?

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

It's contagious...

Pete's love of football is something I have posted about before. He lived in Munich as a teenager and his love of all things FC Bayern grew from there.

I grew up in a house where football was a word made up of two other completely unrelated words. It was maybe on about once every four years depending on how well England did in the World Cup and if it might be worth watching. I never supported a team, although I had a cousin who once played for Bristol Rovers, so if asked I maybe said them, but had no idea who was even on the team apart from said cousin. 

When Pete and I got married, I knew he liked to play a bit of football every now and again, but I had no idea who Bayern Munich even were. But oh, I came to know. 

When Pete and I lived in England, I still didn't have a team (although Champions League 2012 I told him I supported Chelsea purely to wind him up), and I couldn't have cared much less about the subject. 

But when we moved to Munich, something changed...

I'm not sure what it is, but there's something about this city that makes you love the game. Maybe it's the buzz after a win, or being so close to the Allianz arena, or maybe just knowing which parts of Bavaria some of the players come from, and the tense excitement that fills the air when they're going to make an appearance. 

And it's not just FC Bayern. 

Never in my life have I shouted to players on a screen who are in actuality thousands of miles away and cannot hear me, sincerely hoping that they win. Never has my stomach flipped over when the opposing team has even almost scored, or been sat on the edge of my seat in the 90th minute of a game with fingers crossed against them equalizing, and I have never even known more than like two players names on one team - and really, really hoping for a German win. Never have I wanted a team to win like this. Not until now anyway. 'Cause that was me, sat next to Pete with Lily on my lap - last night. 

And I know, I know, all you fellow Brits are gonna be hatin' on me. But I'm no traitor! England are out, so I had to find someone else to support, right? Usually, I wouldn't have cared. But this year? I really do. 

When you live in Germany, I'm telling you, it's contagious. There are flags everywhere, and wing-mirror covers, and Lei party necklaces, and face paint and clappers and massive posters of Schweinstegier and Oezil and Mueller and Neuer and Philipp Lahm's face is everywhere and everything is black and red and yellow and it is just so contagious and I just cannot help loving the Germans! 

I mean, who can't help loving the Germans?

Especially the one on the left in the green *wink-wink*. Hahaha...

So if you're not in to football, move to Munich, or any part of Germany, and you'll soon be joining all us crazy loons who aren't even German shouting at a screen depicting a bunch of people you have no emotional connection to and have never met to just get the flipping ball in the back of the net!

Yes. Los geht's Deutschland, kämpfen und siegen!

This one is supporting Germany - are you?!

Monday, 23 June 2014


At certain times in life, it is necessary to take a step back, and sort out one's priorities.

This is what I did earlier this year.

I decided to take up an online course with Stanford in January, I was raising a fast-growing toddler and trying to be the best person I could be including being a wife and mother, and that's when my health took a bad turn and then the blog took a back seat. Actually, it was more like I dropped the blog off on the side of the road and carried on driving. But now I've turned around to pick it back up.

In that time I went in to hospital for treatment, completed a whole eight-week course on International Women's Health and Human Rights, both my babies had a birthday, visited England, two nephews and a niece were born and my sister got engaged. It's a busy, busy life, and it just goes on. But we love it. So, so much.

Monday, 27 January 2014

When it snows.

For the passed three to four days, it has been snowing in Munich. But you wouldn't know it by looking at the roads.

Germans are world-renowned for their efficiency, and for this, the glorious type of weather that makes Winter so special, there is no exception.

{Munich in the Snow - source here}
When it snows at home, it creeps up on all the Brit's and transforms their world overnight; there is nothing like the surprised, delighted faces of children who have woken up to snow after days of crossing fingers and toes. Snowmen pop up barely ten feet apart, lining every street. Every hill - frighteningly steep or mildly gradual - falls victim to repetitive climbing and sliding, until even the crisp grass is torn away and the bare earth is exposed to the bitter, excited cold. Snow is thrown back and forth between boisterous boys and their brothers, and you might even spot an igloo or two.

{Snow at the Pier, Weston-super-Mare - source here}
If you were planning a trip, even in to the nearest City, you can bank on it being postponed for at least two more days. Events are cancelled, shops are closed, public transport ceases to exist - children listen intently in the early hours of the morning keeping fingers, toes, arms, legs and whole bodies crossed, desperately hoping for their school's name to be read over the radio; hoping for a rare "Snow Day".

{A Snow "Man" on a bench in Bristol - source here}
But you also have the other end of the spectrum - those who despise the snow. They don't see it as the pure white blanket, covering almost everything in sight - troubles, worries, woes and cares included - that others do. They don't see the joy in almost-frost-bitten extremities and rolling ice into dirt to create a fat, beloved, fantasy friend know as The Snowman.

{Someone struggling to drive through the Snow, South Wales - source here}
They see the blanket as a barrier on their way out the front door; an obstacle in their route to work; a hindrance to all of mankind. And they can't wait for it all to melt and the world to get back the right way up.

And neither is the right, or wrong way to view snow - both have a magic to them.

But here in Germany, they don't fit in to either group.

Rather than transforming the city overnight, the snow seems to come in gradually, and everybody knows when it will come - not that it will make a difference to anything when it will. You can smell the imminent arrival of the snow in the air, and see it in the bright white sky, and surely it starts to fall mid-morning and by the end of the day everything is white. You can see it fall under the lit streetlamps, in all of it's magical glory, and it flurries through front doors with every gust of wind, and for a couple of hours, it is just breath-taking.

Then 5am rolls around and along comes the Winterdienst, pushing all the snow to the sides of the road, and ploughing up all the dirt and grit with it. The massive piles of snow look ever-so-inviting to British-born me, but I'm not thinking twice about launching myself in to it; nobody else is.

{the Winterdienst - source here
Buses, s-bahns, u-bahns, trams and all other forms of transport run as usual. Schools are always open, the roads are as busy as ever, and life just carries on as usual, for everyone.

{Snow in the Bavarian Alps - source google images}
Which, again, is neither right or wrong, but there's not so much a "magic" in it.

People laugh at us Brit's for being so unprepared for the white weather - our whole little part of the world almost completely shuts down when that blanket is laid over us - but there's something magical about when it snows in England, and today, I really miss it.

{Snow in Queen's Square, Bristol}

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Too long, too long.

How long is too long?

However long it's been since I last posted - that's how long!

Munich made Christmas come to life

We wandered through to famous Christmas Markets, and ate traditional, warming Bavarian food.
We bought a real pine tree and dressed it in red and gold and sparkly lights.
We shopped until our knees almost gave way and gave lots of gifts.
We sang favourite Christmas Carols in two languages.
We recorded memories on our cameras and phones at every opportunity.
We watched our Little Flower giggle and clap and play.
We dressed her in a variety of festive outfits, and wrapped her up warm wherever we went.
We bought a Lego advent calendar in memory of our precious boy.
We baked a French Christmas breakfast and had the missionaries over.
We cooked a British Christmas dinner inspired by Jamie Oliver.
And We loved our first Christmas in our own home.

And we shared New Year with beautiful friends, and experienced Germans' way of ringing in Neues Jahr... Fireworks! You couldn't escape them! Being the one night of the year that it's legal for civilian's to set off fireworks, German's do go a little crazy, but it was truly magical. And we drank alcohol-free sparkling wine, and danced, and smooched, and laughed, and picked Flower up at 4am!

Although I enjoyed the festivities we'd experienced so far as a family, there's nothing like celebrating the Holiday Season in your own home; Magic! That's what they call it. 

Now, I have made no resolutions or "hopes" this year, but I have written down a few life goals; things I'd like to achieve, see or do. No plans as such, but just a few things to keep me on track over the next few years.

I'd like to say I'd be on the blog a little more, with a bit more of a focus, but you never know when life is just going to happen...!


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