Changing Rooms

Posted by Lily on Wednesday, September 23. 2015

It's been a while since my last post, time has been running away with me these last few weeks. We've all been poorly with heavy colds, all at the same time, which was fun. Hubby was away on a training course for a few days, D1 has started nursery so we've been settling into a completely new routine and we've been moving things around in the house.

It's amazing the difference changing the use of space can make. That has just reminded me of an essay I wrote at uni about the anthropology of space, or something to that effect, I'll have to dig that out I'm sure I've still got it in a box in the loft. Anyway, before I digress, let me give you a little background about my house. We live in a bungalow, in the 'main' part of the bungalow there is a very long hallway and four rooms. In the extension at the back of the bungalow (that was built long before we moved in) there are three rooms one of which is the bathroom and one of which is the kitchen. This bungalow originally belonged to my father-in-law, in short, we moved in with him three and a half years ago then bought it off him on the understanding that he could live with us for as long as he wanted. Just before D2 was born he decided to move out, and so we then we had extra rooms as he had been using two of the rooms as his bedroom and his own sitting room. So, in the main part of the bungalow we were using the rooms as a sitting room, a playroom for the girls, a bedroom for the girls and a spare bedroom. We made the other room in the extension, which had been my father-in-law's bedroom, into our bedroom.

A big issue that we have had since moving here was that it has never felt like our home, even when we took over the mortgage it still felt like it belonged to my father-in-law, and this is still how it felt after he had moved out. There is so much of his energy in here, in the decor and the furniture, it's in the walls and the floors. He lived here for almost 15 years and he left a lot of stuff that he no longer wanted when he moved. Over the last few months we've been trying to change that, we've been slowly getting rid of things that we don't want or need, moving furniture around, creating open space where there was previously clutter, and talking about how we are going to decorate when we can afford it. I've also been frantically cleansing everywhere with frankincense and white candles and my besom. However, it still doesn't feel like ours. The only room in the bungalow that feels anywhere near like our own is the girls bedroom. That used to be a 'den', it had all of my father-in-law's books in there, his computer, his art stuff. It's completely different now. We had it replastered, painted, new carpet, new blinds and new furniture and it is the calmest room in the bungalow. It is the only room that has only our energy in it, if that makes any sense. There is nothing of my father-in-law's energy in there. I have to say here that I love my father-in-law to pieces, he is a wonderful man, there is just too much of him still in this bungalow for it to be our home yet.

Anyway, a couple of weekends ago we were discussing with family some work that we wanted to do, that is to extend the bathroom into the ensuite that is in the back room in the extension because we never use it, and a bigger bathroom would suit our needs better. The suggestion was made then to use that back room as a 'family' room rather than a bedroom because it has patio doors that open out onto the garden, which were never open because we were only using that room to sleep in. That made a lot of sense, when we thought about it we really were wasting a lovely room. So, we spent this weekend shifting things around. What was being used as the playroom at the front of the house is now our bedroom, the spare room is now the playroom and the room at the back is now a lovely family chill out room with a TV, sofa, hubby's computer and my craft drawers. The difference this has made to the feel of the house is incredible. It seems strange that just changing the use of a few rooms should change the feeling from 'a house we just live in' to 'this really will be our home'. We still have a lot of work to do, we're going to get a skip in a few weeks so we can have one final big clear out, I'm planning on scrubbing floors and walls and skirting and cupboards to put my own energy into them all, as well as more cleansing and placing certain crystals in certain parts of the bungalow to help. We're planning how we are going to decorate each room as and when we can afford to do it. As I mentioned before my father-in-law's energy is still very much a big part of this house however, after seeing how we've changed that energy by just changing the use of space, it no longer seems like an impossible task to make this place our own.
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It's the Simple Things

Posted by Lily on Monday, September 7. 2015

What a weekend! It was one of those that you look back on and laugh about but at the time you felt incredibly stressed and just wanted to crawl into a cave and stay there. One of the new shrimp we bought for the fish tank made a bid for freedom and jumped out of the tank when my hubby was putting them in. They are so small we thought we wouldn't be able to find it but then I saw something jumping about on the floor, it was the shrimp, and hubby managed to pick it up and get it back in the tank and it is now happily scuttling about munching away on the dirt! My kitten Loki got stuck in a tree, she was in it for around 24 hours and we had to call a tree surgeon out to rescue her, but that is a whole other blog post!

My 3 year old woke hubby up at around 1am on Sat to take her to the toilet. That was fine, she's been toilet trained during the day for a while now so we decided a few weeks ago it was time to try it at night too and she has been doing really well. Anyway, after she had been the first tantrum began. Something to do with 'daddy smelled my hands wrong'. We've been buying 'fun' soap for her to use and the latest one smells of bubblegum, so she has a thing at the moment where everyone has to smell her hands after she's washed them. I have no idea how you 'smell hands wrong' but apparently daddy did and so she screamed the house down. I got up to make my 5 month old a bottle as she had been woken by the screaming and I knew she wouldn't settle back down without one. Hubby wasn't having any luck calming the 3 year old down (who shall be referred to as D1), she was now having a meltdown because she wanted to take the toilet paper out of the toilet with her hands and daddy wouldn't let her so I took over from him and he went to feed the 5 month old (D2). After stern words and some cuddles D1 calmed down and I took her back to bed where she had another screaming tantrum all because daddy had filled her bottle with fresh water and she wanted the old water back that had been in there before. Poor daddy, he couldn't do anything right! The tantrums went on for almost two hours until she eventually became so tired she just climbed into bed and fell asleep. Hubby and I sat up for just over half an hour to wind down then we went back to bed.

When D2 woke me up around 6.15am I had a negative outlook on the day already because of a lack of sleep and the stress of a screaming toddler in the early hours of the morning (it's a good job we live in a detached property!) I thought nothing would be able to make me smile or lift me out of the bad mood I had gotten myself in. I fed D2 then changed her nappy, and when I turned back to her she was staring at her feet with a look of pure wonder on her face. She has already discovered her feet and tried to eat them but now it was as though she was understanding for the first time that they belong to her. She was wiggling them around and the look she had said 'Wow, I'm doing that!'. She must have lay there for about 10 minutes just watching her feet, and I sat there watching her watch her feet with the biggest smile on my face. It was such a wonderful feeling to see the awe in her eyes knowing she has so many first experiences yet to come and wondering how she will react to each of them. And my bad mood melted away. It's times like this that make me think when things seem bad there will always be something simple just waiting to make you smile, if you take the time to see it.
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Christmas

Posted by Lily on Wednesday, September 2. 2015

'Christmas?....It's only September!' I hear you cry. It winds me up that the shops start displaying Christmas items so early, some have been doing it since August which is bordering on ridiculous! But, I've been working on a cross stitch project of an advent calendar for my eldest daughter and I began to wonder why I was actually making this for her when I have no desire to celebrate Christmas because being Pagan it is not one of 'my' festivals. This thought then led to me wanting to understand why I do still bother with it every year and what, if anything it means to me.

Growing up Christmas day was pretty much the same every year. My sister and I would get up at silly o'clock, run into our parents bedroom and beg them to let us go downstairs. They would always tell us it was too early and to go back to bed. A few hours later my dad would go downstairs and put the fire on to warm the living room up (there was no central heating back then) while my sister and I climbed into bed with mum. This continued until I left home at the age of 20 although as we got older we stopped getting up at stupid hours of the morning and we stayed in our own beds!

Once the living room was toasty and dad had made a cup of tea, he would shout that everything was ready and my sister and I would race down the stairs with mum following far too slowly behind us. We would open our presents, eat chocolate from the selection boxes that we got every year, then eat 'proper' breakfast, and then we would get all dressed up in the outfits that had been bought especially for that day. My parents best friends would visit with their children, my grandma and uncle would usually arrive around the same time. The women would have a glass of sherry (grandma would have a glass of whisky too!) and the men would have a lager while us kids would chat about what presents we had got. After about an hour everyone would leave then mum would start cooking the dinner, dad would build, put together and put batteries in all the toys we had got that required them, and my sister and I would either play with our presents or watch some Christmas TV, which I think at that time of day would have been the Top of the Pops Christmas special. Around 1pm dinner was on the table, dry turkey and soggy vegetables that had been boiled for what seemed like eternity (bless mum she wasn't the best cook!). When we had finished mum would wash up (until we were older then my sister and I got that lovely job), dad would go for a lie down and we would again either play with our toys or watch the Christmas movie. After the clearing up had been done mum would start preparing for the evening. We always had a party at our house on Christmas night for friends and family. There was lots of food, and lots of alcohol for the adults! It was fun to see the adults completely drunk by the end of the night, I think mum was possibly one of the worst!

Reading that back I realise the special thing about Christmas for me was that it was a constant. It was the one day of the year that was guaranteed to be pretty much the same every year, doing the same things with the same people in the same order. And that was a good thing, no matter what else happened throughout the year we could always rely on that one day being the same. Another thing is that it was my mum that made it magical. She was the one who went out and chose the presents then spent hours locked away in her bedroom wrapping them up. It was mum who chose all the Christmas food and spent most of the evening of Christmas eve preparing the dinner, most of Christmas morning cooking the dinner then most of Christmas afternoon clearing up after dinner. It was mum who insisted on putting up way too many decorations every year and who would take my sister and I out on cold December evenings to post the Christmas cards that she had spent hours writing. It was mum who put so much effort into making it a memorable day, and I have no idea why. I never asked her what Christmas meant to her or why she put so much into it when she would complain about how expensive it was and how it stressed her out. And this makes me realise that not wanting to celebrate Christmas has nothing to do with me being Pagan. I only really lost the desire to celebrate Christmas after mum passed to the Summerlands. My dad tried, I spent a couple of Christmases with him and my sister after losing her, and he did try so hard but it wasn't the same.

So, what does Christmas mean to me? Looking back it was all about spending time with my family and friends, exchanging gifts, eating too much, watching too much TV, knowing that it would be the same every year no matter what. As a Pagan, December 25th has no spiritual significance for me at all. It is however, a day that holds many happy, magical memories. Memories that I want to create for my girls. That is why I am making an advent calendar for my eldest and I guess that is why as long as Christmas remains a popular festival celebrated within our culture I will continue to treat it as a special day. I will teach my children the religious and cultural meaning of it, and my own personal view. As they grow they can decide for themselves what it means, if anything, to them.
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First Post

Posted by Lily on Sunday, August 30. 2015

Here it is, my first post on the Pagan Heart Blog. Why am I writing a blog? Well, I like writing. I used to write a lot when I was younger, letters, stories, poems. I still have all of the poems I've ever written, I might share some with you some time :-) On my first day in high school my self confidence did a runner and it never came back. I continued to write but as the years passed by and there was no sign of my self confidence returning I began to look at my writings and think they were no good, so I stopped. The stories ended first, then the letters (although that was more to do with the introduction of email and social media) and finally after college the poems. Every now and then I've picked up a pen and started a new poem but again with a lack of appearance from my self confidence I never finished one.

Now in my thirties I seem to be going through some sort of 'transition', letting go of things I've held on to for far too long, understanding things I never thought I could ever get my head around, and feeling an urge to pick up pieces of me that I had thought long ago broken forever. It is as though it is time to be 'me'. One of those pieces is my writing and so here we are.

What will this blog be about? Whatever inspires me. It will be about anything and everything from the weather to my crafts, from being a parent to being a cat guardian, and everything in between. Since this is the Pagan Heart blog I should probably throw in my Pagan journey occasionally and Paganism in general too :-) I hope you enjoy reading, you may even learn something you didn't know before, and if not well, I'm going to enjoy writing anyway :-)
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