Easter is over there…


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Hi Everyone

I would have loved to do something on Easter but I’m up to my eye balls and wouldn’t want to half do it. So if you’re interested, my husband is doing a series of short blog posts on the Easter theme. Nothing too deep, just some reflections on these days leading up to Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Although when you think about it, it doesn’t get much deeper than… Jesus died for our sins. He rose again, conquering death! 

Pop over to Richard’s blog, Thinkings – he’d love to see you there A ;)

 

photo credit: Luz Adriana Villa A. via photopin cc

Making Changes


spirit_logo_120HighLast Wednesday on Spirit Radio I was talking to our regular guest Sharon who’ll be leaving Ireland for Spain soon. We talked about making big changes to our lives and I mentioned that if we’re not ready to head off to foreign climes – maybe there are some small changes we can make to our lives…

  • Join something new – if you’re feeling your church life is a bit stale, it may not be time to move – just time to get involved in something different. Put your name down for the coffee rota, or youth group.
  • If there isn’t a fellowship group then start one. A pizza and a movie or a game of bowling is all it takes to get some folk together to have a laugh.
  • Try to think about positive things – counting your blessings might seem like an ‘old concept’ but if you write down a list of some of the things you have, you’ll be encouraged
  • Nurture the relationships you have – Sharon said last week, ‘Give flowers to people while they’re alive.” Let’s not wait to say or do nie things now. Rather than waiting to write a nice ‘goodbye’ message on a card – say all those nice things to the people around you now…

I’ll be back on Spirit Radio tomorrow night after 10pm (GMT) with more positive and I hope, inspirational chat :)

A x

April AtoZ Challenge…


A2Z badgeI’m going to be missing for a while as I take part in the April AtoZ Challenge over on the blog of my new writer’s website. http://www.annmariemiles.com/blog

Hope to see you there :)

ps if you sign up to receive regular updates about my writing and as a thank you for trusting me with your email address I’ll send you two brand new stories written just to celebrate launching the website :)

Just go to http://www.annmariemiles.com and drop your email address at the nr the bottom of the homepage.

Thanks, A x

Oh My Papa


Christy Keeley April 1930 -  Feb 2014

Christy Keeley April 1930 – Mar 2014

On Monday 3rd my dad breathed his last after almost 84 years. He’d been unwell for a couple of months and just 2 weeks ago moved into a great nursing home, with staff who were very caring of him and us.

In some ways I lost my Dad in 1985 when I was 13. He was knocked down by a car and sustained a massive head injury which he battled with until he died. I know my mam found it very hard at times. Over the years he came back to us a little – he certainly didn’t lose his sense of humour or his love of a drink and a sing song. Thankfully, we had lots of moments where his real personality got out in front of the struggles he had with mental health. He had a great ability to tell a story you’d already heard (more than once) and still make you laugh. He had an endless supply of songs and energy to sing them. And the combination of his and mam’s love of music and parties, and just being together was passed on to us.

At the funeral last week, my brother mentioned that we had trouble keeping up with him. We really did! Right up to the last couple of months he was constantly on the go. And right up to the last few days he had great intentions to keep going.

He loved Christmas. No really… he LOVED Christmas. And he was always prepared well in advance. Another trait he passed on. One of my abiding memories of him is his work ethic. I used to say that my leg would have to fall off before he’d let me take a day off school. And even then he’d ask if I could carry it!

I’m still in shock to be honest and have all the usual ‘why didn’t I…?’ questions rolling around my head. But although we spent a lot of time worrying about him, he was as happy as larry most of the time. So I’m going to remember his life and sense of humour. His hilarious stories and comprehensive Christmas card list. His lively singing voice and charming smile.

“No better man” was a phrase he used a lot. But I love that he didn’t only use it about himself. “No better man” and “No better girl” was a compliment given to us all at one stage or another. He didn’t mind sharing the title.

I’m sorry I never got to talk to him about my book. He did talk to others about it and was surprised that I was able to write so many stories. When that report came back to me I was laughing & thinking… “eh hello… and where did I get that from do you think???”
But I did find his copy of my book with a little note on it and like most things after the owner is gone – it’s all the more precious.

No better endorsement :)

No better endorsement :)

This weekend we’ll be thinking of him and my mam as it is her 9th anniversary. It’s a strange thing to have no parents any more. But I’m so blessed to have had them both as my parents. And I know my family feel the same. 

This life was meant to shine


As I write I’m almost submerged under a duvet – tissues on one side, paracetamol on the other. So it’s hard to get into the mood of writing about the above title. Problem is, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. I haven’t written here for almost a month. Although I’ve been busy with other writing, it’s been hard to write here cos, I don’t make stuff up here.

This blog has always been about the way things are  - no fiction allowed. My last two posts are about sadness and it’s all I felt I could write. Didn’t want to write more of that, so… I didn’t write anything. For the last two weeks I’ve had an ‘ear worm’. You know when you hear a song and it won’t go away. Well my ear worm is ‘This Life’ by MercyMe. I had a random old playlist on my iphone and the song came on. Hadn’t heard it in ages – even though it’s one of my faves.

There’s a few words in the song that struck me as I sang along.

“Hold your heads up high
This is our moment to rise
We were meant to shine
Not just survive”

We were meant to shine, not just survive. It occurred to me that for a good few weeks I’ve been ‘surviving’. Not being dramatic or anything, but a lot of days have been… “ok just do what you can do today. What NEEDS to be done today? Who needs to be paid today? Just get through today and you’ll be fine.”

There must be a balance between what it says in Matthew 6 “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” – and doing more than just surviving.

I’m not quite sure what it is, but maybe even saying it out loud is the first step to finding out :)

Meanwhile, it’s a fab song – give it a listen.

I’ll never be the same again


The last two weeks have changed me forever and I know I’ll never be the same again.

I don’t mean that I will always grieve or that I will always be sad. I know that over time I will get used to the fact that my dear friend Tom O’Gorman is gone; and the ‘how’ of his death will become easier to bear.

I know this because I remember in 2002 when it was confirmed I would never have children, I thought I’d never get over it. I lost my ‘sparkle’ and thought I’d never get it back. But I did. It took many years and still at times it makes me sad. But it turned out that it’s true…
Time heals almost everything.

I remember at my lowest, God brought me to this verse, 1 Peter 5:10
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
I clung to that promise then and I do so again now; the promise that Christ himself, will restore me, will confirm me, will strengthen me and will establish me.

When I say I’ll never be the same again what I mean is, I’ll never look at the newspaper headlines the same again. I’ll never pass a shocking front page and wow for 20 seconds before returning to what I was doing without further thought. I’ll never see a leader without knowing that there are people who will be distressed by the giant printed words on a page. I will never trust the papers again. To my knowledge, nothing they reported was untrue. But they were not compassionate, they were not caring or kind. I wouldn’t have expected The Sun to be anyway – but I expected more and better from The Independent. And I will never look at their business in quite the same way.

So though I am sad now, I will not always be sad. But I will always remember that behind the dramatic headlines there are people hurting and grieving.
And I think that makes it a good thing, that I will never be the same again.

Added note (27th Jan 2014) I should add that my comments above re newspaper headlines, refer to the initial reports of Tom’s death. I acknowledge that there were some lovely tributes reported in the following days.

On the loss of a dear friend, Tom O’Gorman


One of the photos on Tom's FB wall.  It means 'Love conquers all'

One of the photos on Tom’s FB wall.
It means ‘Love conquers all’

I wish I was writing this on my fiction blog. A tale that I made up in a mad creative moment. But no… it really happened. The life of my lovely friend Tom was taken in a way which I can hardly believe and certainly cannot put here.

I met Tom on Independence Day 2012. Though we’d had a bit of Facebook banter before then. We met to help our mutual American friend, far from home, celebrate the 4th of July. Within a few minutes we were slagging each, other which for me is always a good sign. :) I’d travelled on public transport that night and there was no way he would let me walk across town to the Luas stop on my own. He took an alternative (and convoluted) route home so that he could walk with me. He was a total gentleman – in every sense.

He had many interests – politics, faith, ethics, law, history and sport to name a few. He was way cleverer than me and though we talked about faith and work a lot, most of the time we laughed and joked. He had such a fantastic sense of humour. He was a great writer and told me that he would love to try his hand at writing comedy. He thought I was funny too – not a comedienne though… he said I was more a humourist. I liked that :) He thought I was funnier in person than on paper though. So we decided that we’d give it a go and write a comedy sketch together.  Sadly we never got around to it.

Over the last few months I could sense a deepening in his devotion to God and when we talked, it was more and more about spiritual matters. He was eager to serve God more and better and he shared with me some of his hopes and plans for the next few years. It is painful to think they will not come to pass. He became like a big brother figure in my life. Checking in with me regularly, asking me how I was. Always promising to pray for me, which I’m sure he did.

Tom had many many friends. Most of them knew him longer and I’m sure better than me. But over the last 18 months we became great buddies. Or ‘budsos’ as we called each other.

Tom had an amazing range of accents and was even better at the ‘Tallaght’ accent than I was.  Our parting greeting was usually in ‘Tallafornian’.
He’d always say something along the lines of…

“See ya soon bud yeah?”

My answer always was – and is today, “Deffo!”

*****

My sincere condolences and prayers go to his family, work colleagues, friends and all who mourn the loss of such a great guy

Tom RIP

I hope the folk from Pro Life Campaign Ireland don’t mind that I used this lovely photo of Tom that they posted on FB yesterday…