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      New beginnings, I like to break my life down into these. For me it’s never focusing on the negative and starting afresh every day. I love Mondays, as they are the beginning of a new week, which means anything can happen and anything is possible. If I’m having a really bad day I’ll break my little formula into days or at worst hours (yes this has happened)!!


      It’s my own personal survival plan that works for me but every year as we move deeper and deeper into December my emotions always seem to take over. I find myself missing my Dad more and more every year as I hit different stages in my life I’d love to share with him. I find myself sifting through old memories of childhood and thinking about my grandfather who I called James after. He was an incredibly kind man who had a deep lasting impression on my life. I even find myself struggling with the fact I’m a single parent because as James becomes more aware of Dad’s I wonder what effect not meeting his own father is having on him. I feel overwhelmed and consumed with responsibility. We are a great team though and like every mum I’m doing my best but I can’t help thinking how I am a product of my upbringing and those old catholic “make you feel bad about everything traits” are still in there somewhere however misguided.


      For a lot of new little people it’s their first Christmas but at the same time for a lot of people it’s their first Christmas without a loved one. Tis the season to be jolly but it can be a very lonely time for a lot of people. Charities are out in force, advertising is at an all time high, traffic is chaotic and our life can spiral out of control very quickly. I see so many people getting into serious debt to provide their family with expensive gifts for Christmas. Having come through an awful few years I simply cannot afford to let myself get caught in the avalanche of overspending at Christmas and I simply can’t afford to start 2015 in debt.


      Christmas is about family or at least it should be but sometimes we get so wrapped up in what Christmas has now become that we forget about presence and just focus on presents. Christmas is a time to shut off your phone and spend time with those you love. This is the only time of the year most of us can do this at the same time. Time is not our friend these days it’s our foe so when we’re given it we should use it wisely.


      To help ward off feeling sad and in an effort to focus on the positives, I have now begun a process I will carry into the new year which is write down one thing I’m grateful for every day. The first thing on my list is being grateful for all my emotions bubbling to the surface. As overwhelming as this might be, it’s an opportunity to deal with these emotions, especially those that have been buried for years. This can be extremely hard and very painful especially if you’re hurting, grieving or on your own this Christmas. But try not to push your feelings back down till next year because you need that space for new hopes and dreams and new beginnings. Take baby steps into the future even if those steps are hard. There is always light after darkness.


      As I continue my list of being grateful I suddenly remember an angel that was sent into my life just over four years ago when there was a lot of darkness and not much light. He has saved my life in so many ways. I have grown more in four years than my previous 32 on this planet so this Christmas Santa will come down our chimney and I plan on giving James an awful lot of my presence as that’s what Christmas is all about.


      So please this Christmas be kind to yourself and be kind to others and remember when someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure you can remember forever.

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