A Break Away

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He has sniffed my suitcase and given me The Look. He has been in this situation before.

I know he is wondering where we are off to this time although what he should be thinking is where is “she” off to this time. Munch has stayed in a few hotel rooms with me so he is probably wondering whether he should lay stretched out across the top of the bed or the bottom? My lack of space does not concern him and may even irritate him as he watches displeased when I try and lay in even a quarter of the bed. I know he is salivating over the thoughts of casually dropped food from passer byes and waiting staff that always appear to end up in front of him as he dutifully clears up for them. The areas around the hotel that need to be marked with his scent will add value to the surrounding area as King Munch makes his royal duties around the new place as he entertains the onlookers. This is what Munch thinks of as he sees the suitcase being packed. This time however, it is sans chien paraphernalia.

I have sat him down to tell him that unfortunately he cannot come with us this time as I am off to play Bowls for the VI Welsh Team in Scotland and there would be nobody there to look after him whilst I am playing. The look that I have had back is the “Yeah right, as if you would leave me behind, I am far too important” look. Promising not to get too attached to my white cane in the five days I am away has fallen on hostile ears. I have promised to bring him back some Scottish goodies for him, but he merely turns his head in protest and gives me the cold shoulder. It may seem like I am the cruellest dog maid of all time, but I have ensured that he will be pampered in his usual divaesque ways without fail yet nothing seems to make his tail wag as I plead for his forgiveness.

On the other end of the scale, my three children who still live at home cannot wait to see the back of me so that they can have some peace and quiet. My 15, 17- and 21-year olds are looking forward to a nag free few days, doing what they want when they want and not being subjected to my cooking. Regular phone calls home will probably annoy them more than comfort them, but it will be lovely to hear their voices. Munch on the other hand may get quite emotional hearing the voice on the other end of the phone. Just to clarify, he may not react much to my voice, but I know he will go crazy to hear the voice of his favourite dog walker who is coming with me who happens to also be my coach.

There is a strict timetable in place for King Munch’s care when we are away. The children have him for part of the day and then he is going to my parent’s house where he knows that they are putty in his paws. On arrival, he is greeted with love, fuss and treats that he really shouldn’t be having but does because apparently “His gorgeous eyes are asking for some and it would be cruel to say no”. He will then be off for his many walks and explorations with my dedicated father who loves him. He will swim in rivers, chase sticks and sniff until his heart is content (Munch not my father) and will amble home at his own pace for food. He will them lay on the feet of my loving mother upon his return and get fussed into the land of nod.

He will not miss his harness wearing duties for five days and will appreciate the well-deserve break that he will have. He will not miss the early mornings that he has to get up for work as he can have many a nice lie- in with the sleepy teenagers of the house. I however will miss everything about him and the kids for the whole five days as it is the longest I have ever been away from them. I only expect a cold shoulder from Munch when I return but I think it will be hardest to thaw out. If I write my next blog post in a weeks-time with frost bitten fingers, please excuse me. I am hoping a bit of haggis on our return will warm his heart a little and allow me back into his good books, wish me well with that…….

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I Have A Date

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I have a date!!!!! Yippee!!!!!!

Is it a date with a hot Will Smith? A sizzling Tom Hardy? A mouth-watering Bradley Cooper?? Well in my mind I may have had a date or two with these hotties, but this date does not involve a man. No, this date is all to do with the launch of my book.

The 24th September 2019 will not only be the day that my youngest son turns 16 but my book What You see When You Can’t See will be out in print form, e-book and Audiobook through Hay House UK. Excited is an understatement of how I feel. It has been 16 months since submitting the manuscript to the publisher and after some awesome editing, a fantastic cover design and a lot of work from the publishing house behind the scene, the official Book Birth Day has been announced.

The blurb on the back cover has been finalised and the accessible font in the book been decided upon so all is ready for the book to go to print on the symbolic Summer Solstice day of 21st June where I hope this new project will bring about much happiness. I am crossing my fingers that the reader will enjoy the book as much as I have enjoyed writing it but if they don’t that is okay too. I do hope that this book will bring a little insight into a world that many know little about.

Sight loss is a thing that is so hard to explain to others due to the very nature of the individuality of loosing one of our most treasured senses. I hope therefore that this book helps the reader to understand another aspect of sight loss that is not talked about often. Many know the devastation of how life is forced to change in a new unfair world but what about the beauty that can also be found here?

The book focusses less on doom and gloom and more on how to bliss and bloom through life when you are faced with adversity. Every good book obviously must have an enchanting main character to entertain the reader and the main character here comes in the form of a hairy, pony-sized, mischievous, regal Labradoodle that is commonly know as Munch. Anyone who has been following this blog knows that entertainment is Munch’s middle name. So be prepared for a couple of chuckles.

My hope is that not only can we bring a smile to the readers face from inviting them into our world but also raise awareness about sight loss and the wonderful work of guide dogs. Without meeting my adorable hairy bear Munch, I would not have been able to live the full life I do today, written the book or even been here blogging. Turning day dreams into a book that will be released world-wide, is a dream come true.

If you fancy a sneaky peek at the book, click on the links below to have a quick browse. Thanks in advance and I look forward to meeting you through the pages of the book. Love and blessings.

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Waterstones.com

Kobo.com

Penguinrandomhouse.ca

Is It A Bird? Is It A Plane? .. . No It’s A Guide Dog

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Here in his natural habitat, lives the wildest of the species. Wild yet placid, he adapts to his surroundings without a blink of the eye. With no predators around to stop his decent on the vast open space around him, he leaps into action. The evolution of this species began around 45 million years ago and is rarely seen today. Many would say that they have become extinct but as you can see from this nature snap, they are alive and kicking with passion.

Amphicyonidaes (bear-dogs to the amateurs among us) as evolution progressed had dog like proportions but a heavier bear like build as can be seen in the above image. With the ideal mix of spirit and strength, this particular amphicyoidae has survived the Welsh climate despite leaving behind his ancestors around 2 million years ago. Current DNA from this solitary survivor shows that he has survived due to the fact that …. hang on…. wait…. Okay, scrap all that, it seems like it is not actually an evolutionary miracle, but it is in fact …. A dog. Hmmmmm.

How I would love to tell people that he is something as rare as an amphicyonidae , but I will just have to stick to the truth. There is something about being constantly questioned not only what breed of dog he is but also what type of working dog he is that really wants me to spin a little bit of a yarn. The disbelief that some people have in hearing he is a Labradoodle and not an Irish Wolfhound or other breed just makes me want to make the truth a little more fun and far-fetched. The “I didn’t know that Guide Dogs use these types of dogs” brigade I am sure would appreciate a little chuckle instead of the seemingly mundane “yes they do now” response.

The latest query about Munch’s authenticity as a guide dog came from a friendly inquisitive man whilst I was out walking. Stating “I was wondering what type of animal that was when I saw you from further back. He looked more bear than dog” this sweet man chuckled. Asking if he was a trainee sniffer dog, I softly shattered that illusion for him as I told him the only thing he would be good at is sniffing out food and the local lamp posts for the doggy newspaper version of what is going on around the area. “Well, you have shocked me now. Not only is he a guide dog but the strangest looking Labradoodle I have seen” He shouted over his shoulder as he bid us farewell.

The “Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s guide dog” affect is still well and truly alive in our surroundings. I am just trying to think of some witty come backs that I can offer the ones who are confused by Munch’s heritage. If you have any, please let me know as I think it is only fair that we start a local rumour that there is a rare species roaming around the streets just to keep the mystery surrounding him going.

A Fond Farewell And A Happy Hello

Taking a walk in the memorial garden in our lunch hour felt like our way of saying goodbye. The very fact that there was a memorial garden in the school grounds to remember all of those who had left this earth plane, spoke volumes of what a caring place this was to be in. As we passed each blurred outline of a planted memorial tree, I sent love to their eternal essence that will never end. Bidding farewell to a place of work that has made us feel so welcome, felt quite emotional.

Moving around different schools in my job is lovely as we get to meet new people and learn so much from each one. The down side is however that I also miss the ones that have shared so much of their souls in the counselling room. Saying goodbye to people who have laughed and cried with you and experienced every emotion in between is such a blessing and one that I will never tire of. Having worked in schools for the last six years has allowed us to meet hundreds of people that would never have crossed our path if we were not in this job. Each one leaves a footprint on my memory and my heart.

I always wonder how each school will react to having a guide dog in it. So far, we have never felt anything but welcomed. Munch has loved each school that we have worked in. A quick pat from loving hands as we pass and the “Ooh’s and Aah’s” that leave the mouths of adoring onlookers let us know that Munch brightens up someone’s day even if it is for a fleeting moment. Being around such compassionate and accepting souls makes work a whole lot more pleasurable. My fear of sticking out like a sore thumb as the only ‘blind one with the dog’ need not have happened as they do not appear to see the disability amongst all of Munch’s cuteness on display.

After the Easter break in three weeks-time we will be returning to a school that I left before I had him when my eyesight deteriorated rapidly. It was also the first school we worked in when I returned to work after being matched with him. For the last two and a half years that Munch has been in my life I have felt like the luckiest person alive. Without him, I would never have been able to return to work without this loyal precious soul. Today has been filled with sad goodbyes from his loving fans that have openly greeted him each week.

As I lock the door on the room for the last time, I secretly hope that a piece of his wild hair remains somewhere for a client to find next time they enter the room with the new counsellor. This will be his version of ‘Munch was here’. i am excited for the unlocking of the new door at the new school that will connect us with new people. With the closing of one door and the opening of another, I hope Munch will steal the fresh new hearts of the people who we are waiting to meet. The magic of Munch is just waiting to be spread.

Choose To Live Your Life

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From seed to bloom, flowers reach their full potential when they are supported in the right environment. Growing into the beautiful best versions of themselves comes from allowing nature to take its course, and not allowing resistance to get in the way. When life is supported to create true beauty, it can mesmerize even the saddest of souls.

The short lifespan of the dragonfly does not dictate the happiness of its life. With over 5,000 species of dragonflies that have evolved over 300 million years, they continue to exist in a world that they only live in for a limited time. Symbolically, seeing a dragonfly is meant to show us transformation and the true meaning of the human life when it is likely that they are coming to the end of theirs.

As humans we have choice over how we live our lives even when we don’t feel that we do. Given the right conditions allows our true potential to be reached. Even in less than ideal conditions growth can happen if the drive to do so is present. Lifespans vary among us, but we always have a choice of what we do in our personalised lifespan. When dreams are reached from putting plans into action, your life can be full of nothing but achievements.

We are born on only one day and we will die one day but the average 28.000 days that many will spend on this earth is where true life begins and ends. When we fall in love with our own lives each day that we are blessed enough to wake up in, we begin to appreciate the miracle that we are living in. Making the most of the thousands of new days that we are blessed with helps us to realize just how big our world is.

Thanking each day that we are blessed with brings us closer to our true meaning of life that is unique to us. The life that we are living today reflects how much effort we have put into our lives so far. The beauty of human existence is that we always can create a new reality for ourselves if we wish to do so. Is the life that you are living today, the live that you truly want to live? If it is not, will tomorrow be the start of your new life?

When you choose to live and not just exist, you choose to live the life that you were born to lead.

World Autism Awareness Day

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I am lucky enough to have my birthday the same day as World Autism Awareness Day on the 2nd April. I say lucky as to me, this day helps spread awareness of something that has been part of my life for the last 17 years. Jaidan, my awesome son with Autism has taught me to see the world in a different light and he has been one of my most inspirational teachers I have met. His self-awareness surpasses any expectations that a text book would say is possible. His empathy is core to all his actions and is not absent as experts would lead us to believe. Jaidan communicates in deeper ways that research tells us autistic people do. In Jaidan’s life, social interactions are based on a compassionate drive to accept others as they are. His imagination and flexibility of thought are processed in different ways and are just more concrete than fluid. He could not be more perfect if he tried. If I had a Birthday Wish, it would be for others to understand Autism in the way we have learnt to understand it. I wish others would know that

– Autism is only a part of the person and does not define who they truly are.
– Autism affects everyone differently. Once you have met someone on the spectrum you have not met everyone on the spectrum.
– There is no true stereotype of Autism, just as there is no true stereotype of the Neurotypicals among us.
– Autism doesn’t need to be cured, it needs to be accepted.
– Not everyone with Autism lacks empathy, in fact some research says that people with autism are more empathetic than neurotypicals.
– Processing of information is not faulty, it is just different.
– There are far more similarities between people with Autism and Neurotypicals than there are differences.
– Autism does not stunt dreams. it is the restricted thinking of others that does.

As Jaidan prepares for his next step in life in the summer University programme that he has been accepted for, I am eagerly awaiting what else he will teach me. Awareness of anything in life is best learnt from an original source. I hope that each birthday that I celebrate will be filled with increased awareness of Autism and how it makes a person the true perfection that they are.

Mothers Day Thanks

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To all the mothers who have birthed perfection, thank you for gifting the world true beauty that radiates from the inside out. Your perfect creation is exactly what the world needs to help others see how one person can change the lives of many. Implanting your inner beauty into the soul of your child is a gift that will always keep on giving.

To all the mothers who have nurtured those who they have not birthed, thank you for stepping in as a leading light. Selflessly giving to a soul in need helps in ways that you may never get to know about but will always be present. Maternal love does not have to lie in matched DNA but will always lie in matched hearts.

To all the mothers who have babies with four paws and fur or two feet and feathers, thank you for being the connection between the human and animal world. The unconditional love that is shared between you should be bottled and distributed for love starved situations. Children come in all versions and hairiness, but unconditional love only comes in the one form that you are.

To all the mothers who feel like they are failing at motherhood, thank you for keeping going. Your child will not remember your messy hair, piles of ironing or tired body but they will remember the comfort in your arms. You are the anchor that your child needs in choppy times so knowing that you are their stability can help them keep afloat with the lifeline of love that you give them.

To all the mothers who have children with additional needs, thank you for being their voice. When some may see additional needs, you see additional opportunities to help them live their life to the maximum. Fighting for equality and compassion is the super power that you have discovered since you met the centre of your world so embrace this super power with pride.

To all the mothers to be, enjoy the wait for your beautiful child, your pregnancy is unique to you alone and never let another taint your version of bliss. As soon as your baby will be birthed out of the security of your womb and into the big wide world, smile in the knowledge that you are giving your child the best start in life. Beginnings are the scaffolding of life.

To all the mothers that have lost their child, please take care of your broken heart. When your angel left your life, they remain forever yours. Time may never heal the void in your heart but may act as a marker of everlasting love. The glow in your heart when your angels name is spoken will always stay ignited and will never be dimmed.

To all the mothers that never were, thank you for wanting to be. The physical form of your child may never have appeared but in your mind, they were always there. The love that you have showered upon children you have nurtured, sponsored and been present for will always be remembered. Your beautiful mothering nature always let the child know that mothers don’t have to be biological.

To all the mothers that come in different forms, thank you for being you.

The Way To His Heart

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“Sorry sugar cube. One more early morning and I swear you can have a long lie in”. I reasoned with the unreasonable.
Mornings really aren’t his thing. Munch was not one of these dogs that I have heard of that loved early mornings and greets their owners with masses of kisses when they clap eyes on them for the first time each morning. Munch was more of a ‘Stroke me, massage me, kiss me and tell me how awesome I am before I even think about opening me eyes’ kind of dog. I learnt this the first week we met which was totally okay with me from the start. I know cold shoulder from such a warm-hearted soul can be a dent to the ego. but mornings are just not his thing.

Among his loud sighs. eye rolls and silent treatment he showered upon me we made it to work early which meant we had time for a quick game of catch with his ball. The intention was to play catch, but it turned more into a slow game of squash as I threw and the only one there to play was the stoic wall which to be honest was giving me far more attention than Munch was that day. Not even his favourite squeaky toy cow could tempt him to play. I was a little worried that he may be coming down with something as he was moodier than usual.

Throughout the morning he kept coming over to my bag with lunch in, sniffed it, looked at me and slumped off away to his bed. No amount of coaxing him with fuss and love seemed to cheer him up. Lunchtime when we settled down on his bed for lunch (we always share) I realized I had forgotten his favourite vegan cheese and spinach wrap that we had most days. His little whines let me know that he wasn’t impressed at all and that is why I was well and truly in the dog house. Refusing dried mango and yoghurt that was in the bag, he grabbed his bed in his mouth, turned his back and stomped off to have a mega tantrum. My apologize fell on his closed off ears and a cheese deprived soul.
His cheese less lunch fuelled rage hung heavily in the air all day. He showered affection on the clients that we saw as he sat in front of them and gave them his paw for some fuss and turned his back on me in protest. I did begin to wonder if he may have a slight cheese addiction. To test my theory of this was the reason for his diva like strop that day, I made his favourite cheese filled wrap when we got home to share with him and as expected, he returned to his usual loving self. Since then, I have been cautious to never forget his daily treat and he has been kind enough to allow me back into his good books.The way to this male heart really is though his stomach.

When Kindness Falls

When Kindness falls on the ears of the wounded, the cleansing words show them another way. This way allows a wave of past hurts to be washed away into a void, never to be experienced again. The trickling of the words of kindness that now permeate the being of the once hurt soul, can make them believe that they are truly loved for being who they are. The words that take seconds to speak, will remain with the person for a lifetime.

When kindness falls in pools of tears as they witness tragedy, they know that this is the start of the end. When the last tear falls, they will start the change that will never allow this to happen again. As the onlookers become the leaders in implementing a new way of life for themselves and all of those around them, they see less misery and more hope. Their kindness is the driving force that can do nothing but free those who want freedom.

When kindness falls into closed off hearts, an opening begins to appear. Each time kindness beats heavily on the heart, the opening expands a fraction each time to let in a feeling that has been long forgotten. Feeding the starved heart with kindness expands the volume of the heart to unlimited capacity. Overflowing kindness has no qualms in invading the heart of another as it now knows no restrictions so wants to share with others.

When kindness falls from the hands of a stranger, it is just the beginning of a new compassionate realm. From one stranger to another, kindness passes with an ease which may never have been experienced before in the battlefield of life. When kindness is gratefully received, it has found a power plant for nurturing and will be radiated out to others in heart felt ways. This supportive chain of kindness holds connections among loved ones and strangers alike.

When kindness falls in an unkind world, we begin to see a different world. The I that becomes we, is far more powerful than a lonely existence can ever be. We should never store the kindness that we receive in dusty places but use it and pass it on to others who need it just as much as we do. What kindness we crave can also be craved by another, so you are in a perfect position to share your kindness find with another to quiet the hunger that was once felt.

When kindness falls on you in life, raise to meet it and do the same for another.

The Sloth Guru

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Is your life goal to move as little as possible, sleep a lot and spend your days conserving your energy? If so, here is your chance to find out how to live that horizontal life to the max from one of the worlds leading experts in the field Minster Munch Cooper. In this fascinating interview from this professional sloth act alike, you will gain insight into what you personally need to do to become one of the most sought- after spots in history of Snoozetown. So, get comfy, settle in and feel happy in the knowledge that this will be your main spot for the foreseeable future.

Interviewer – So, I have heard that after many years of training in the field, you are the go-to guru that holds the key to transforming one’s life into a sloth like haven. What would you tell want to be sloths about life in Snoozetown?

Note – The interview was put on hold at this point for 45 minutes as the guru fell into a slumber mid-question and was unable to respond. Only a disturbance from Angus the cat walking over his face roused him from his sleep.

The sloth Guru – It’s comfy.

The Interviewer – You sloths are renowned for being gentle creatures. You must feel unthreatened by the environment that you are in and feel at ease with those around you. What is the secret to becoming the gentle soul that you are and trusting in people around you?

The Sloth Guru – Cuddle and show affection to everyone you meet.

The Interviewer – Oh that is so sweet. What advice can you give to others on how to conserve energy if they want the sloth like existence?

The Sloth Guru – Look cute, look needy and let others fetch and carry for you.

The Interviewer – Some wise words their Guru Sloth. How much beauty sleep do you need to keep you looking so beautiful?

The Sloth Guru – Sleep up to 20 hours a day without fail.

The Interviewer – Are you always in the sloth-like mode or do you ever get energetic?

The Sloth Guru – Not a lot of people know that sloths can swim so you may find me swimming like a fish. Then sleeping for the rest of the day and night.

The Interviewer – It has been noted that you tend to be a little…. clumsy, is that the sloth in you or is that just your adorable personality?

The Sloth Guru – No comment.

The Interview – Sorry if I offended you. Where is your ‘happy’ zone?

The Sloth Guru – Sleeping.

The Interviewer – What gets you excited?

The Sloth Guru – Sleeping.

The Interviewer – Tell me what is your ideal life?

The Sloth Guru – Sleeping.

The Interviewer – What inspiration can you give to others who want to live a serene life like yours?
The Sloth Guru- zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

If you have found this interview as enthralling as the Sloth Gurus life, take his hints and life hacks to live the life that your inner laziness really wants you to live. The Sloth Gurus teachings can be found in the Land of Nod so get snoozing and get slothing.