Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dress for Success

This project is taking shape.

Okay, so I have chosen a dress for the October Dress Project, and it is breastfeeding-friendly. It's also maternity, which is a bit... bleh... but it actually looks quite nice without the bump. It *is* a tad longer in the front than the back without the extra tummy, but I really had trouble finding a dress with a neckline suitable for breastfeeding! My friend Heather, who is also going to do it, picked out her dress today too. We're hitting the charity shops tomorrow to look for inexpensive accessories to liven up our little black dresses.

We are trying to convince as many people as possible to join us and take on 31 sponsors each. We could make a seriously good amount of money for local cancer support if we put our minds to it!

Today, I spoke to the local representative for Macmillan Cancer Support to get the correct information for how to give them money, as well as to make sure Macmillan is happy for us to endorse them. Everything is looking good, just waiting for the final confirmation so that we can take this next to the Greenock Telegraph. I have written the following Press Release which I'll send to the paper tomorrow (once I've been 'approved' or whatever). Anyone else doing something similar, feel free to use the same wording. I am assuming that the founders of ODP will not mind that I used one or two of their phrases from their website.

“Dress For Success”

A small group of women in Inverclyde, each with ties to friends battling cancer, are raising money for cancer support during the month of October.

One dress at a time.

An unusual and different way of fundraising, the women are taking part in a challenge called the October Dress Project ( For one month, they will each wear only one dress every day (and wash it at night!), which can be daily accessorised differently, learning a little about simplicity and materialism along the way. The project was inspired a few years ago when the founder’s grandfather made the offhand comment that girls in his day wore 'one dress for weekdays and one dress for Sunday'. The project’s motto is ‘anti-consumerism, pro-simplicity, anti-conformity, pro-imagination’ - but for this group, learning to appreciate the value and potential of a single quality garment wasn’t the only motivation for accepting the challenge. They felt they could use this opportunity to do something for the greater good and raise money for local cancer support at the same time.

Each participant will try to get 31 sponsors, one for each day of the month, to donate to the Macmillan Cancer Support team in Inverclyde. They are also hoping to inspire many more people in Inverclyde to take part in the October Dress Project this month, to give each other ideas, get more sponsorship, and raise even more money for this great local charity. The more people involved, the better!

Does it have to be a dress? This project doesn’t have to be limited to women. If you are a man, or if your job limits your ability to wear a dress, why not try a single pair of trousers and shirt for the month? If you are interested in participating, please contact Lori McFarlane ( for a sponsorship form.

We (okay, Heather) have already gotten several local businesses to sponsor us, and I have about a third of my sponsorship form already filled in. I'm getting so excited about this. I hope we can get a lot of people involved!

In the meantime, I'll be enjoying the rest of my clothes before committing to just this one black dress for the next full month. (And yes, I've decided against cheating... I'll even wear it on the weekends.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Short Term Memory

After school today, I asked Fifi some typical after-school-mum questions.

I asked her if she saw her friend John today. I asked her if she talked to him. I asked her what she said.

She said, "I can't remember. I just have some many things in my memory, I had to kick some things out."

I love the way children speak!

(And yes, I realise I'm a nosy mummy.)

Monday, September 24, 2012

The October Dress Project

So I think I'm going to go for this. I have also roped in a few friends to do it with me. Solidarity, sisters!

I'm having some trouble picking the dress though. I have several dresses that are plain enough to work with, but all share the same crucial flaw... I can't breastfeed in any of them. Hmm.

I have this inexpensive grey one that possibly I could alter into a breastfeeding top, but I'm not entirely sure how to go about it. At any rate, I'm going to pick a dress bad I'm going to do it.

But I'm not going to do it for no reason. I've decided I'm going to use it to raise money for cancer research. So I'm asking for 31 sponsors, one for each day of October, to donate whatever they want, whether £1, £2, £5 or more. If you are interested in sponsoring a day in October, let me know. All money will go directly to our local branch of the Macmillan Cancer Research, in honour of Fifi McArthur, the nursery teacher at my kids' school, who has recently finished her cancer treatments and is doing (and looking!) beautifully.

(This is, by the way, the first time I've attempted blogging from my phone... it better work!)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

On a Lighter Note...

So... how do you follow something like Friday's post?

With a cute photo, that's how.

Also with a mention of a project I am considering participating in. It's called The October Dress Project. You basically go the whole month of October wearing the same dress, which you accessorise and wear differently every day. I will be straightforward with you and say that I am only going so far with this, if I decide to do it. That is to say, I will participate Monday through Friday, but by golly, I might just give myself a break on the weekends. Scott and I have a romantic weekend away booked for the first weekend of October, and I'd quite like to look special at least one of those nights!

Anyone else want to take the challenge with me? My reasons for doing it are varied. I like the anti-consumerism idea of it (and intend to use this month as a chance to properly purge my wardrobe of unnecessary items), but I also like the simple challenge of it. How creative can I be? How much fun can I have with this? And how many friends I can I rope in to do it with me? :)

I'm going to also use it as a blogging project. I've been looking for a theme, so for the month of October, I will blog about the project (if I take the plunge!) and that will get me in practice for NaBloPoMo, which will get me ready for DecBloAdMo. If I can accomplish all of this, I will be seriously awesomely blogging again.

(Of course, I *have* been blogging, over at Lunch is Boring, if you haven't been there yet. And also at

Friday, September 21, 2012

Getting Real

Getting real is a pretty scary thing. Getting real on the internet is just plain ludicrous.

Getting real in front of anybody means opening yourself up for judgment, criticism, pity, unwanted advice and remarks, changed impressions and possibly isolation and desertion. Some people will appreciate you getting real; some will leave you for it.

I haven't gotten real on this blog in a long time. It's because what's real isn't pretty. It isn't what I want to expose about myself. I don't want people talking about me or talking to me about it or giving me their opinions or thinking of me differently. I don't want people's sympathy or false charity.

But on the other hand, there must be tons of people out there who are afraid to get real because they feel isolated inside and don't realise there are others feeling the same way, because no one else is getting real either. So maybe if I get real, I can speak to someone else who needs to know they are not alone.

People are always telling me I should write a book. These people are probably just really nice people who like to read my blog, so I never really take it seriously. (Besides, I have written a book, but no one is buying it!) The truth is, I may be a good writer (or maybe not) but to be a great writer, you HAVE to get real.

To grow, you have to get real. You have to confront yourself and the weakest, most vulnerable corners and nooks of your soul and shine the light on them. Seriously, who wants to do that?

I've confronted my dark shadows. I've admitted them to myself and to one or two of the closest, most trusted people in my life. But until I have aired them in the open, they will remain dark and scary. Like wet clothes, they will remain damp, mouldy and foul until they have been hung on the washing line, have flapped in the sunlight. And then those clothes can wrap people in their warmth and comfort; but not if they are lying damp in the darkness. There they cannot help anyone, or me.


I don't know if I'm still a Christian.

For well over a year now I've been struggling with a rapid unraveling of my lifelong held faith in God. I'm not talking about little niggling doubts. I am talking about full-on disbelief. It started a while back when a Christian sect proclaimed that it was about to be the end of the world. They all prepared for the Second Coming and then, surprise surprise, it did not come. I felt so sorry for those people, and also felt a bit smug. I mean seriously?

Then I read a blog article, I don't even know how I came across it, that said all Christians were just as foolish, for while they didn't claim to know the exact day the Second Coming would occur, they still believed it would. It hit me like a lightning bolt. We really are stupid.

Jesus told his disciples their generation surely would not pass before the Son of Man returns (Matthew 24:34, among others). Yet their generation did pass, as did many, many more. Why are we still holding onto the belief that he is coming back?

The glib answers about 'this generation' meaning x, y or z did not answer it for me, and very, very quickly, my entire faith began to crumble. I remember distinctly working a shift at Blockbuster that day and having the heaviest heart because everything I ever believed was fast slipping through my fingers like running water. I came home and told Scott. We talked for ages and ages about it that night, and have been talking since.

That year was a classic year for such an unraveling to occur. Textbook even. People will tell me that it is because of what happened that year that my faith 'faltered'. The truth is, those things didn't cause my doubts, but they proved them. That was the year I lost a huge group of friends and endured painful betrayal, triggered by the death of another friend and her baby boy. That was the year my beautiful niece was born with Down's Syndrome unexpectedly. That was the year both of my parents remarried. (And the fact that they divorced in the first place had already ripped the foundation right out from under me a couple of years earlier.) These things were not what made me doubt God's existence, but they did help put me in a frame of mind that was already weakened and burdened with doubt.

I was hungry and desperate for some kind of sign from God, something to keep me going with him, because I wasn't ready to give up. Yet everything around me screamed otherwise. Christian people all around me were two-faced, back-biting, petty, callous, self-righteous, hypocritical, surfacy, mean, out to get one another, fake. If the Holy Spirit really dwells in us, where is the evidence? Where is this 'fruit' of the Spirit we are supposed to have? I could list on one hand how many Christians in my life actually exuded the fruit of the Spirit in their everyday lives. In no way am I claiming to be any different either. I can be a terrible person.

I continued to pray, almost invariably beginning with, "God, if you are even real..." Most nights I spent praying to the ceiling, but I didn't want to give up.

The Bible teaches plainly that once you have been saved through faith in Christ, no one or no thing can separate you from the love of God. (Romans 8:38-39, among others!) The only consolation I had, and have, is that if God of the Bible is real, if Jesus of the Bible is real, then I cannot be lost. Not even my lack of faith can separate me from the love of God. If it is real. This truth (if the Bible is true) is what has freed me to acknowledge fully and truthfully to myself that I do not know if I believe anymore. Because if it is true, then I MUST search for the truth as honestly as I can to find my way back home. If it isn't true, then what is lost by my searching?

I started looking for other churches who could help fill my need for truth. All I found was more and more not to believe in. From the happy-clappy charismatics that believe anything and everything, to the Sunday-only church goers who believe nothing, I found no help. I found myself getting angry at sermons preaching condemnation and our unacceptable sacrifices to God. Maybe these hard hitting challenges were meant for someone, but they weren't meant for me. More than ever I just needed assured that the pit I am living in is okay, that God can meet me there too. But this is not a popular message preached. My own church did nothing for me either. Every Sunday message was the same glib 'God is love. God is a pink and fluffy cloud in the sky who loves you, amen'. There was nothing to sink my teeth into, not to mention a safe haven where I could be totally honest about where I am. I was too afraid of the repercussions and the whispers.

I searched the internet. I found all the useless Christian-speak annoying and stupid. I tired of the way Christians talk to one another, like we are from a different hemisphere with a language all our own. (I recognise all groups of people have their own jargon, from online geeks to doctors to high schoolers at the mall. But it's still annoying.) I revisited my old online haunt Christian Guitar Resources (oddly, despite being set up for guitar tabs, it had a very active and intelligent theology forum, which I hoped still existed). Surprisingly, one of the top threads was entitled 'Why I am not a (very good) Christian'. A guy who had been a regular on the board years ago when I was a regular too had written the post, and nearly all that he said echoed what I myself was (and is) experiencing. It felt so good to be in company with someone else. Many of the responses to his post were the same well-meaning but naive responses I expected, like 'Have you tried reading your Bible?' (but what if we don't believe it is true?) or 'You need to pray about this' (but what if there is no God?) or 'Do you go to church?' (yes, and you should see how people treat each other there). But there were a few responses that spoke to me deeply and have kept me going. In particular, I'll share the premise of the one that I cling to dearly as my only hope as I feel all my support and foundation of the faith that I built my life upon crumble continually.

This guy described three stages of the Christian's journey of faith. The first stage is faith in God because of what we see. This includes evidence in our own lives or the lives of others around us. It includes any sort of 'salvic moment' we may have experienced. We believe in God because we feel him or 'see' him. As this faith matures, it becomes about what the Bible teaches. We begin to distinguish that what we feel and what the Bible teaches are often not the same, and we must rely on the Bible only as our foundation for faith.

Here is where most people live the rest of their lives (if they ever even get to this stage; many people live in the feelings stage forever). But, he said, there is a third stage. This is when we go beyond believing in God because of what we feel and beyond believing because the Bible tells us so. This is when we believe solely because we can't live without it. In the face of all the evidence stacked against it, in the face of virtually no reason to believe it, we believe anyway out of pure, blind faith. Pure, blind, baseless faith.

I have looked into other things outside of Christianity to help define and shape this fork in the road I am facing. General 'spirituality', etc. Before all this, I'd have never looked into it, because I would've automatically discounted it as false. But with an open and searching mind, I began reading. Much of what I came across struck me as true in some sense or another. I could never shake the feeling that without Jesus, it was all missing the crucial link, but it never stops occurring to me that this is because the idea of Jesus is so deeply ingrained in me I can never forget it. True or not, it's ingrained deep in my psyche. Which leads me to the utmost stumbling block to my faith in God - the psyche.

We are all aware that the brain is a powerful thing. But do we realise just how powerful? We can convince ourselves of anything. ANYTHING. We can heal ourselves from disease by the power of the mind. We can be plunged into a tub of ice and feel nothing by the power of our minds. We can be 'slain in the Spirit' or 'speak in tongues' by the power of our minds. We can believe in God by the power of our minds. Do you see why I now find it so hard to believe that what I always believed was not just all in my head?

I read several books about organ transplant recipients. It sounds like I'm about to go off on a tangent, but stay with me. These people (mostly heart transplant recipients) told their stories of discovering new tastes and preferences, using words they'd never used before, having dreams of their donors with facts that they couldn't possibly have known (and discovering these facts were indeed true) and many other things that cause one to wonder if there is something in the organ itself that is passed from donor to recipient greater than just bodily function. Most scientific-types will find this ridiculous (my husband included!), but the premise was that perhaps there is a 'heart code', a cellular energy or memory that is carried in the heart. Okay, okay, it sounds stupid and utterly unbelievable, I know. But one point from that book in particular (The Heart's Code by Paul Pearsall) stood out to me. Every religious group, and even non-religious people, refer to the heart as the centre of their being. We feel things in our hearts, we love or hate with all our hearts, we know in our hearts, we believe in our hearts. Yet our minds are stronger than our hearts and dictate what we do with our feelings and beliefs. Our minds dominate and manipulate everything, including our hearts. But what if our hearts really have something to say? The weaker organ that we cannot live without submits to the stronger organ we also cannot live without, but what if we tried listening to our hearts? Could there be something real to that?

This is where I am right now. My mind tells me not to believe. My heart tells me to believe. My heart wants to believe and needs to believe. My mind does not believe, but it kinda wants to, as well. I will not ignore my misgivings or my very rational reasons to not believe, but I am not ready to give into them entirely. If I have to go the rest of my life like this, I will. And if there is a God, I think he will honour this. I will not listen to people say that my disbelief is displeasing to God or is unacceptable to God. Maybe it is, but if he is the God I think he is (the God the New Testament makes him out to be), he is putting me here for a reason and will not cast me out for my disbelief. In fact, he is loving me and holding on to me regardless of my lack of faith. If he wanted me to believe automatically, he could make me do so. He has not done so, so I am here for a reason. Whether it be to discover the truth is elsewhere or whether it is for me to press on indefinitely by blind faith alone, I am meant to be right here, as uncomfortable as it is.

I do not know if I believe in Jesus of the Bible or God of the Bible. I know that I want to believe, and I know that is foolish. I know it is laughable to want to believe something in which all the evidence is stacked against. I also know that to deny either side of my current experience would only prolong it and would only be a farce. I may stop believing altogether, I may go on forever in this agonising half-way house or I may have a complete regeneration of faith. Whatever happens, I'm ready to be honest about it. To my family, to my friends, to the nay-sayers who will gloat over me, to everyone, because I am getting real, and we all have to get real at some point or else we go on living in a blur.

My husband and I have left our church. We have left mainly because it does not feed us spiritually or theologically. There is nothing there for us, no deep, sound teaching for us to bite hard into. We have also left, because we have had enough of the un-Christian attitudes and actions of people who are supposed to love Jesus. No one is perfect (me especially!) but the church politics are doing nothing but souring Christianity for me. I hope to find another church for my kids' sake, but for the time being, I am searching for the truth on my own and hope I will be supported by those people around me who both do and don't share my Christian roots. I hope that God will find me in this mess. I feel like Peter when Jesus asked his disciples if they too were going to leave him. "To whom shall we go?" (John 6:68)

I don't know where else to go if not to God... but I don't think he needs another pretender, so here I am. The real, confused me.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

10 Final Things I Love About My Husband

A long time ago, I attempted a list of 100 Things I Love About My Husband, naming 10 at a time.

According to my blog archives, I only got to 90 (and can't find 1-30). *EDIT: Found them. They were titled "Why I Love My Husband".

Next week is mine and Scott's 8 year wedding anniversary, so I thought it might be appropriate to finally finish the list. Now, I'm not going to go through all 90 to make sure I don't repeat myself; I'm just going to say 10 more things I can think of now that I love about him.

Then I'll go back and read the old ones, and probably laugh my head off.

91. He plays rough monster chase games with our daughters, and will one day do the same with our son as well.
92. He tries so hard to understand me, even though in many ways I'll always be an enigma to him.
93. Despite the fact that it's hard for him, he willingly accompanies me to social gatherings because he knows it means a lot to me to have him there. He even makes great conversation, and to his surprise, can actually be quite charming!
94. He cleans the kitchen when I ask him to (usually).
95. He insists that I do the things that I enjoy, even when it means he gets left at home with the kids several nights a week.
96. He is focused and intelligent and can do just about anything he puts his mind to.
97. He is incredibly witty and has a smart sense of humour. We share many jokes and find the same things funny.
98. He can BBQ better than any of our friends.
99. He is looking after himself and his health more nowadays, so that he can be a good father and husband to his family for as long as possible.
100. He loves me more unconditionally, more deeply, more devotedly and more passionately than I could ever deserve to be loved. I never, ever have to doubt this. He shows it to me (and tells me) daily.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Jigga Wha? (I'm tired.)

(Just thought a family photo would liven this up a bit...)

It's stupid o'clock, why am I still awake?

And why am I forcing myself to write something when I have nothing to write about on my mind?

Because I have been neglecting this blog by devoting love and attention to this one. I don't even know why I'm focusing so much on that blog; I don't have a plan for it, but I'm really enjoying it and keep wondering if I could some day making something of it. Like a business. Maybe I could sell bento boxes. Maybe I could MANUFACTURE bento boxes! Because all you'd need is, like, a plastic box making machine and stuff.

I suppose I could tell you what an awesome baby Jaguar is. Or what loving big sisters Fifi and Lolly are. Or how helpful a husband Scott is. But that just sounds like bragging.

I suppose I could try to write something really profound about... something, but I can barely put together enough words to create a sentence just now, what with baby brain and all. I think really I just need to get back into the habit of writing, because I really love writing.

I should write more poetry again. Like....

Babies make you tired
Tea keeps you wired
Nappies are needing dryered
I need to get myself hired.
(as a childminder again).

I'm such an awesome poetess. (Buy my eBook, it's even awesomer than that ^.)

So here's a challenge (I'm all about the challenges). Post something, anything, at least once a day. I have access to my blog on my phone; it should be easy, right? (Wrong. I tried to upload a wee post yesterday, and it's STILL claiming to be publishing.)

Maybe I need a challenge theme (much like my Keto Bento Challenge on my Lunch Blog?) like a photo challenge or a subject challenge.

By the way, I recognise that I am overusing parentheses. (Deal.)

OOOH how about I turn it over to you folks? Anyone got a writing or photo challenge for me? I need this.

I love you.

(I am so, so tired.)

Friday, September 07, 2012

One Day I'll Make a Living Out of This

As a personal blogger, I've been rubbish. I confess it. I may or may not improve now that I've embarked on a few other blogging ventures, but eh, who knows.

In the meantime, if you are suffering from lackofloribloggeritis (it's an actual syndrome, an actual inflammation of the soul), you can catch me over at Lunch Is Boring and even the occasional post over at SearchScotland.

To pay for my sins here though, here's a picture of Jaguar.