On The Move

In my last post I wrote a list of both my writing goals and my personal goals for the year ahead.  As an after thought, I added the possibility of moving and sorting out my transport situation, along with a few possible projects that involve others.  Guess what has taken over my life recently – MOVING HOUSE!!

Hopefully this is the most challenging target I have set myself for this year.  I made the decision shortly after writing my last post and I have still not finished emptying our old home.  Where did all these possessions come from?  I was trying to do the move in an organized fashion and not bring things to the new house that we no longer required.  If I continue with this approach, we will be lucky to have emptied the house by Christmas!  I need to get on with my writing in a more systematic way, so after Easter I will hire a van and just get everything brought to the new house, so that job is done.  Then, when I get the urge, I will work my way through it.  At least this was, I will be able to progress with my writing projects.

Our new home is lovely and has a warm feeling about it.  It is spacious and bright and fairly well designed.  It has various places to sit outside and sea views.  A writer could not ask for more.  I know I will write some amazing things here.

I have managed to look at and revise what I had already written for my NaNo and am determined to get back to writing it very soon.  I am aiming to finish it by June, because that is when my daughter, Phoenix, breaks up from school.  Spending quality time with family and friends has to be a priority.  During the summer vacation, I will follow my writing friend, Kevin Ashman’s, philosophy about earning the right to write.  It is easy to get lost in writing but family and friends should not suffer because of it.  Although I intend to write daily, even during the school holidays, I must ensure that my time with those closest to me is pure quality.  My family and I know only too well how life can change and be turned upside down in a second.

In my last post, I mentioned a couple of possible ghost writing projects.  Well, I am pleased to announce that I have started one of them.  Unfortunately, at the moment I am sworn to secrecy but it is very exciting and highly enjoyable.  This will be a long term project.  Currently, we are looking at the most important features of this person’s life and trying to record some of the most amusing events that have occurred.  Once this is done, we can fill in the gaps.

I have also started writing two songs, which I hope to conclude very soon.  One is a really happy and positive song and the other is a little more serious.  I look forward to sharing both of them with you.

Since my last post I have been very involved with helping others.  In Spain, due to changes in the law, many people have found themselves not being covered by the national heath system.  A very close friend of mine had some tests done late last year and then their health card was cancelled which meant they could not get the results.  After fighting the system and getting lawyers involved we finally received the results.  The news was not good and we still don’t understand why they couldn’t just give us the results.  Luckily, my friend is in a position to seek private medical care and I have found the best I can, but it shouldn’t be like this.  How many others have not been able to obtain vital results from tests that have already been carried out and how many people really can’t afford to pay for treatment?  I will continue this fight and hopefully be able to help more people that have found themselves in this tragic situation, through no fault of their own.

Due to the crisis, more and more people are finding it hard even to afford basics.  The supermarkets here have places where people can leave non-perishable food for those struggling.  When I saw them, it brought a tear to my eye and I trebled up on all the treats I was buying my family and brought some extra basics  and donated them.  I just wish I could do more.

Despite all the tragic experiences we as a family have encountered, I still feel really blessed.  After the school run in the morning, a friend I I go for a wonderful walk along the promenade.  Apart from helping me keep fit,  (which is one of my goals this year)  it is a wonderful way to start the day.  It gives me a chance to clear my head and get inspired.  My friend and I also have a laugh which is better than any medicine a doctor could prescribe.

Since it was Palm Sunday yesterday, we went to the church in Old Town for midday mass.  Obviously, this time of year is very important in Spain and there are processions and offerings in the churches every day.  It is a wonderful experience to get involved in the culture.  After mass we went for a lovely wander followed by lunch outside over looking the sea.  Needless to say, I did not think a full roast dinner was needed last night, so I must start preparing it soon or we won’t have it tonight either.  Meal times are quite an adventure in our home again since we never really know how many will be here.  Everyone seems to love our home and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Until next time stay happy, be positive and follow your dreams.

This is our year to live again!

As most of you know, the last sixteen months have been, at times, a living hell for me and my two wonderful children, James and Phoenix, due to the unforeseen death of my husband, John.  At times, even I questioned how I was going to steer us through, but with perseverance and patience, we finally seem to be getting there.

This festive season, I learned a lot about myself and how much I have to give in every way imaginable.  Finally, after months of struggling financially and emotionally, I am finally pulling our lives around and I am proud of what I have achieved.  Of course we have shared happy moments since we lost John, but during these moments, the guilt factor descended upon us, and washed away the smiles.  This festive season, the three of us have laughed and smiled again and we don’t feel guilty.  The best Christmas presents I received this year were the smiles on my children’s faces and hearing their laughter again.

We don’t normally do anything on New Year’s Eve, but this year we went out and, wait, we had FUN.  I danced for hours, something I really thought I’d never do again.  Just after midnight, I looked up at the star filled sky and I know that I have John’s blessing to be happy again, so that is what the three of us are going to do.  It is time for myself, James and Phoenix to live again!

We are looking at all the things that we do have and despite our enormous loss and the difficulties we have encountered, there are still many people that are less fortunate than us.  For a start, my children and I have each other.  This combination alone will bring unlimited positive results to us.

This year, like many of you, I have set myself some goals.  By sharing them with you, it will give me more determination to achieve them, so here they are.

A)  Writing Goals

Complete my 2012 NaNo novel, A Few Bad Boys, and get it published.

Up-date my blog regularly.

Be consistent with my writing course.

Write a children’s book about grief and dealing with trauma.

Get a few articles published.

Write a few songs and poems.

Write a spiritual based short story.

Depending where I choose to end  ‘A Few Bad Boys’  there may be a sequel, which I will probably use NaNo 2013 to begin.

B)  Personal Goals

For me and my children to be happy.

Get fit – I have already purchased the tracksuit and trainers, so I’m half way there!

Spend more time with my children practicing the keyboard and guitar.

Continue to encourage and support James and Phoenix to reach their dreams.

Continue to believe in myself and project positivity around me.

Spend more quality time with my family and friends.

Find time to paint.

Inspire and help others.

Well, this should keep me busy for a while.  I really should have included moving house and resolving my transport situation, so I guess I will have to do these two small matters in my spare time.

There are a couple of other writing projects, including ghost writing, on the drawing board at the moment, but since these involve other people, I will just have to see how they progress.

James, with my guidance, will be making some important decisions about his life and what he wants.  Whichever path he chooses, I want him to succeed and he will have my full support.  After his father died, he lost direction but now, together, we are finding it again.

Phoenix will be happy as long as she can go horse-riding which she loves with the same passion that I had many years ago.  After her dad died, sadly this was one of the many sacrifices we had to make.  Never once did she complain and I am so pleased that I am now in a position where she is back in the saddle and coming on in leaps and bounds.  Phoenix really is a natural.

Many people thought we would return to England after John died because of the support available but that thought never entered our heads.  I don’t want my children being brought up believing that it is correct just to sit back and do nothing and receive benefits.  Spain is our home, we moved here when James was very young and Phoenix was born here.  I am glad that I didn’t listen to those who thought that we should choose the easy option and return to England.  Today, I am sitting outside writing this, looking at the blue sky and the Mediterranean Sea.  Who in their right mind would give this up without a fight?  I am glad my children and I took this fight on board and I am glad that we won!

I hope in years to come my children will reflect on how I, their mother, through strength, determination and hard work managed to keep a roof over our heads, food on the table, clothes on our backs, revive our dreams and re-build our lives.  Every experience in life is a lesson and the most important thing is to use it and grow from it.

I am looking forward to sharing the next phase of our journey with you all.  I am excited and feeling very positive about our future and can’t wait to announce what we achieve this year.

This is our year to live again and that is exactly what we are going to do.

Until next time, stay positive and focused everyone!

Christmas Time

Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year despite the work involved and all the mixed emotions.  In our home Santa still comes to my nineteen year old son James, because of his ten year old sister Phoenix  (thank goodness he loves her!)  They also get pressies from good old mum in the morning and after lunch.

On the rare occasions when I was actually Christmas shopping alone, tears filled my eyes because naturally I remembered my late husband John.  It was me that had introduced him to a real family Christmas.  I remember the look of surprise on his face when there was a stocking from Santa for him.  As I walked around contemplating what I else I should buy the children and indeed, whether or not I could afford any more, I could hear John say,  “Just get it, honey!”  So I did.  I was born to shop and born to give, so that is what I have done and I feel good about it.  (Some of the shoppers around me may have been slightly concerned!)

To say that the last sixteen months have been a struggle, both emotionally and financially, is a huge under-statement but we are still here and we deserve some happiness and fun.  Apart from mountains of toys, Santa also brought Phoenix some new boots and trainers.  When she saw them, her face filled with joy and she said,  “Mummy, I don’t have to wear the same shoes to school everyday now!”  Holding back the tears, I gave her a huge hug.  Not once has she complained about missing out on certain things, that she used to have.  Phoenix is a truly special little girl.  Santa even put chocolates out for me!

A few times, James joined me on my shopping sprees.  His main presents really focused on clothing since his appearance is important to him.  He likes quality, which obviously comes with its own designer price tag.  In one of the shops we visited I felt like Richard Gere in the film Pretty Woman when he took Julia Roberts shopping!  I wanted my baby boy to experience the service and to remember what it is like to feel good.  It was great to see him smile again and we both had so much fun together, which we both desperately needed.

We had a number of invites to go out for Christmas lunch but tradition dictates that Christmas lunch is at home.  My children and I collected the 7.5 kilo turkey from the butchers on Christmas Eve.  Don’t panic, it wasn’t just for the three of us, although, there is a lot left over!  I just believe a turkey should look like a turkey and not like a big chicken.  Whilst collecting our turkey, the children convinced me to buy some fireworks, which I am not a great fan of, but it is Christmas.  We then went to a Spanish cafe for breakfast.  On returning home I began preparing the honey-glazed gammon and doing all the last minute wrapping-up etc.  In the evening we joined friends for a few Christmas Eve drinks.

Christmas morning arrived to screams of joy which sadly are a long time over-due, but I am so pleased to hear them again.  One of our Christmas Day lunch guests seemed genuinely impressed by the spread and surprised that I had done it single-handed.  Apart from the turkey, which tasted beautiful, we had the home-made stuffing, honey glazed parsnips, sprouts, carrots beans, roast potatoes with a hint of garlic, mash with swede and yorkshire puddings.  The bread sauce could have turned out a little better, but it still tasted fine.  Naturally, there was cranberry sauce  (which I did not make!) and big, fat, juicy gherkins and gravy.  The children had their own  ‘champagne’  and we, the grown-ups had ours.  I’ll be putting the bottles out in stages!  Once we had eaten as much as possible, it was time for the fireworks to have their moment of glory.  Wow, some of them were really loud.  There went a few euros that I’ll never see again, but it was worth it to see the joy on the youngsters faces.

It was a lovely day and James, Phoenix and I are finally beginning to smile and laugh again.  We deserve to have happiness return to our lives and we will be sharing it with our real friends.

On that note, I really must go and finish tidying up before going to one of those real friend’s houses for some more festive fun.  Have a Brilliant Boxing Day.

Remember John

I didn’t have to blow up balloons or put the birthday banners up during the night.  There were no presents waiting to be unwrapped.  There was no birthday cake sitting in the fridge.  Instead I lit a single white candle when I awoke to mark my husband’s birthday.  John used to love the surprises I arranged for him and I miss seeing that joyful look upon his face.  I miss the children and I singing Happy Birthday to him and I even miss clearing up all the mess created by the mounds of wrapping paper and bows.

Am I silly to remember this day?

Some think I am, and say that I should move on with my life, but these people have never been a wife.

What would they know about how me and our children feel?  At times to us it still feels unreal.

You see we never got to say goodbye and we all try so hard not to cry.

I really don’t care what people think or say because this will always be my John’s special day.

Happy Birthday John – Loving husband to Nicki and loving father to James and Phoenix.

The Journey Begins

Today I am launching ‘The Journey of Nicola’ and I am really quite nervous.  Computers and I do not always see eye to eye, so I feel this will have to change quickly!

My mother, Angela,  passed away 14 years ago to the day, at the tender age of 64, after a cruel illness, through which I nursed her.  A devoted mother who always put the needs of her children before her own.  I recall the quality times we all spent together – laughing and just generally feeling happy.  I never heard my parents argue and we definitely were not involved in grown-up concerns.  We were allowed to be children.

All through childhood she encouraged my brothers and I to reach our goals and follow our ambitions.  I forget the number of times she was up at four in the morning to help me get ready for horse shows – rain or shine.  She shared in our triumphs and wiped away our tears when things did not go to plan.

She was there when I gave birth to my son James, although I did get slightly concerned when, during labour, she was asking for a second opinion – at that point I didn’t care if a janitor delivered my cherub!  A very well spoken lady, who, since she gave up her career in the film industry for her family, obviously understood why I gave up my career for James.

I remember, when I landed my job with the  ‘Sunday Sport’, my mother thought it was the  ‘Sporting Times’  and subsequently told all her friends with great pride.  It was only at one of her gatherings I realized the mix up and nearly choked on my gin and tonic!  Yes, I did come clean and for some reason, I became like some kind of heroine.  Her friends were always asking after me and hoping I would be at her events with some interesting news.

Although, to others, she did not always come across as a strong character – she was a pillar of strength and was the backbone of our family.  She was the glue that held us together.  She inherited that trait from my grandmother and I am proud and happy to have inherited it too.

Feel free, to peruse my pages, which will get more interesting and expand as time goes on.  The biggest news at the moment is NaNo!    ‘What’s that?’  I hear some of you say.  Pop over to my NaNo 2012 & Beyond page to find out more.  There will be regular movements there, particularly in November.

Hopefully, you will visit me often and share my journey.  It will be a journey full of challenges, hope, fun, laughter, tears, frustration, satisfaction, determination and SUCCESS.

So now I raise my glass to my mum, Angela, my real inspiration.

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