A poem I wrote when I was sad at 2am last week.

I don’t know if I come across like I’m complaining,

I hope not (but suspect so).

It’s just that I’m trying to verbalise how I feel.

Take all the thoughts that are building a bomb inside

and let them explode out of my mouth.

Float away.

Dissipate into the space inside the atoms.

Except,

The problem with letting the words out to mix with the air

is that you still need to breathe.

Lungs decompress, cells cry out for life and so

when you open your mouth.

The words seep inside like a poisonous gas.

 

I try to hold my breath.

 

 

 

 

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Waiting …

Hello! Here are some Advent thoughts that I’ve been pondering …

I love Christmas don’t get me wrong – the joy and the family togetherness. Plus getting presents is pretty fun! However, my favourite part of the winter season is Advent. It’s a special time of anticipation. Of waiting and hoping.

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In a way, it’s quite similar to Holy Saturday (the day before Easter Sunday) but better. The disciples after Jesus’ death on Good Friday, didn’t know He was coming back. They were devastated and scared – unsure of what was going to happen next. Being a Christian isn’t always easy … actually, it’s pretty hard most of the time. Faith is difficult when life is difficult, however even in the midst of the worst situations, there is a glimmer of light in the darkness. Advent reminds us that God has an overarching plan of good for our lives and for the future of humanity.

We often read the nativity story by rote. We know the sequence of events & what happens to who when. But at the time, the main characters didn’t know what was going to happen. All they could do was wait and trust in God.

After Mary was told that she had been chosen to give birth to the Messiah (something the Jewish people had been waiting for, for over 400+ years), she had to tell people what was happening, as it’s pretty hard to hide being pregnant! It must have been so difficult to have that conversation – how did her family react when she first told them? Did they believe her?

We know Joseph (her fiance) didn’t & his first idea was to marry Mary and then divorce her quietly at a later date. Which may seem a bit harsh to us in the 21st Century, but in Biblical times, having sex before getting marriage & being an unwed pregnant teenager was a stoning-to-death worthy offense. So it might not seem like it to us, but Joseph was actually trying to protect Mary.

So if Joseph didn’t believe the girl he loved, we can imagine how everyone else in her village reacted to the news! I wonder if they laughed or thought she was lying? Were they angry that she claimed to have seen an angel? Because why would God send an angel to speak to a (probably illiterate) peasant girl from an unimportant family from an unimportant town like Nazareth?

Obviously, we know why, that because Mary was going to marry Joseph it meant that Jesus would be born into the ‘House of David’. Something foretold by the Prophet Isaiah over 700 years before.

Side note: there is quite a lot of debate about whether this and other Messianic prophecies actually point to Jesus as the Messiah, but I’ll let you research that on your own & come to your own conclusions. See http://ow.ly/xHsw30hmRNU. 

I wonder how Mary felt. Did she doubt herself? Was she scared? During those difficult nine months, how did she cope from day to day? All she could do was wait for God’s plan to unfold and trust that He would fulfill His promise to her.

Waiting is hard. Whether we are waiting for Christmas or waiting for an answer to prayer; the fear, frustration & longing are the same. In the moment it’s hard to see God moving in your life, and it’s only later we can look back and see what God was actually doing.

So hold on tight, all of you who are in difficult situations, waiting and hoping and longing for an answer to prayer. Hold on tight to the promises of God, and If you don’t know what God has promised, why don’t you ask Him?

God sent His only son Jesus to be the hope and light of the world, a promise that things were going to change. That He was doing a new thing (which you can read all about in the Gospels.)

Before returning to heaven, Jesus told His disciples that He would be coming back – He promised that though the world would continue to be difficult and dark for a time, there was light at the end of the tunnel.

Unfortunately, he didn’t specify when! Matthew 24:36 says “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the son, but the Father only.”

So we wait, and as we wait, we remember that God who sent His son to earth to die for our sins, has promised to come again in glory. We cling to that hope and trust that the light of the world is with us, and dwells within us in the meantime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I started writing: the story (so far).

Think back to 2014 – what were you doing? I was living in London with friends, single & loving it, settled in a great Church and to top it all off, I had a job as a paediatric emergency nurse that I loved.

I was also coping with a chronic migraine condition – a chronic illness that is characterised by 15+ days of migraine per month; but I was still able to live my life. It wasn’t easy juggling awful migraines, shift work and a social life, but I got by. I had great friends, an awesome Church and a wonderful life.

Then *SURPRISE* plot twist!

One day at the beginning of January 2015, without warning, I woke with excruciating constant pain in my abdomen, and it hasn’t gone away since.

I was admitted to hospital twice within the first month, but despite investigations and tests, no cause could be determined. It actually suggested at this point that it might be neuropathic pain (malfunctioning nerves in my brain & body), but unfortunately you have to rule out all other possible problems before getting to see a pain specialist.  I saw the surgical, gynae and gastroenterology teams before finally having my first appointment with the local Pain Team in December 2015.

During that difficult year I had to leave my life in London behind and went back to live with my parents in Essex; I was too unwell to work and unfortunately couldn’t afford the rent on my London flat even with some financial help. I was on large daily doses of morphine among other drugs in a futile attempt to control the pain & life was a daily struggle. I was distraught at the thought of having to leave my flat, job, and friends behind. The idea of moving back in with my parents & having to make new friends felt like a horrible step backwards in my life as an independent adult. It was a pretty rough time.

(I’m so thankful to God for his guiding hand, and for my amazing friends and family who loved, supported & prayed for me through that awful time.)

I felt isolated and alone. I became depressed and had episodes of suicidal ideation. No matter how hard I prayed, no matter what the doctors tried – nothing seemed to control the pain or make me feel better and I felt very very sad about my life and about my future.

Now, an important thing to know about me is that I am generally a pretty positive person, and so during this terrible time I tried so hard to be optimistic. Not always successfully! But I persevered. Life was (and still is really) a strange mixed up combination of happiness, sadness, anger, despair, joy etc. ALL AT THE SAME TIME! #chronicproblems

What I’ve learnt on my Chronic illness journey is that it’s better for me to focus on the good things in life & blogging helps me do that. It’s the small things that count, and sometimes if the only good thing about a particularly day is that I got out of bed? I consider that a VICTORY!

Focusing on the small victories in my life made me reassess what really mattered. I might not have great health but I do have a loving family, access to clean water, a safe warm roof over my head, #Jessthecat to cuddle, the NHS, my wonderful friends, Church community etc.

Obviously not everyday has been or still is 100% good, it’s taken time, patience, determination and lots of help from God to get to this point. Thankfulness is a way of life – something you have to practice to get good at.

Now it’s November 2017 and I’ve made so much progress. Despite the pain not being controlled as well as hoped, and migraines still being a nuisance; I’ve learnt to cope with it. It’s taken a lot of time, patience, good drugs, therapy, prayer and gentle exercise; but I’m still going! I even take fewer pain medications to manage on a daily basis now, which means I am able to do so many more fun things (although I still nap an awful lot)!

I have a part time job as a Digital Content Manager, am getting married in April 2018 & genuinely really enjoy my life. It’s not gone exactly, or at all, how I planned … but that’s OK. I’m happy anyway.

Chronic Procrastination?

One of my biggest failings is that I am a chronic procrastinator …

Ever have a long list of things you want to do? My problem is that my list keeps on growing and I keep finding more reasons to not to get on & start.

So here I am at 5 am on a chilly autumn morning – finally fulfilling the promise I made to myself that I would write something before the end of 2017! I love writing, it soothes my soul and helps me deal with life, but I haven’t had the energy or any enthusiasm lately.

“The difficulty of writing has nothing to do with pen and paper, monitor and keyboard. It has to do with heart and soul and the mind behind the words.”

I know that I can write … looking back through this blog I remember times when I was at my lowest health wise & emotionally; yet still able to put pen to paper. Back then it felt like the only way I could cope. Why is it so hard now? I’m generally feeling happier plus my health is better – surely it should be easier? Apparently not.

Hemingway likens writing to bleeding. Perhaps that’s why I found it easier to write when life was hard – I was already bleeding profusely and just used the paper to help bandage the wounds.

But that’s enough philosophical thoughts from my strange sleep deprived brain.

Today is is another day and it is full of hope … and hopefully at some point – sleep!

 

 

 

The radioactive legacy of Marie Curie

BIR Blog

Lindsey Simcox Lindsey Simcox

When Marie Curie scribbled in her notebook, little did she know that many years later, physicists would need to assess the contamination from the radioactive material found in the binding. Find out how Lindsey Simcox tackled the problem.

As a radiation protection professional I’m acutely aware of the role Marie Curie has played in shaping the world around us. She was the first, and still the only, person ever to win a Nobel Prize in both Chemistry and Physics and was an Honorary Member of the British Institute of Radiology. She discovered radium and polonium, and she gave her name to the original unit of radioactivity, the Curie, though this has now been largely replaced by the SI unit the Becquerel (Bq).

Marie Curie left behind a substantial legacy, and not just one of scientific discovery. In the radiation protection industry within which I work, ”a radioactive legacy”…

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May Daze

Hello lovely people.

So obviously my plan to write more in 2017 has not worked out quite as I imagined.

BUT every day is a new day and so here I am at 0630 writing again. It’s not been a lack of inspiration … probably more a lack of energy. I’ve been ill on and off since December and it’s been hard enough getting to work and to do my job, so unfortunately everything else has fallen by the wayside a bit.

At Home Group last night I had a moment of revelation. I’ve lost my focus these last few months; too busy worrying about stuff of this world, and not enough listening to God.

On the DVD last night the speaker said something like, “I love to wake up excited and say, ‘Lord what are your plans today? Use me as you will.'” The joy and the power of it really resonated with me and made me go WOOHOO YES EXACTLY THAT! Except then I wondered when I had stopped feeling that excited …

I go through phases of being really in tune with God and then periods of what seems bad connection. I know everyone goes through this, but I guess we don’t talk about it very much #fail. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jesus with all my heart, and I love learning about Him, but I guess sometimes I stop focusing so much on the personal spiritual bits of our relationship – actually talking. I can’t blame all of this on being unwell, as my own weaknesses definitely contribute to the lack of conversation, but chronic pain is tough to deal with and I can be known to wallow a bit and ignore life in favour of a good book or ten when things get bad. To quote the speaker “Procrastination is one of my spiritual gifts”.  Unfortunately I am naturally prone to putting things off ( and off and off) and thinking to myself that I will worry about it later, but when I become more unwell the procrastination and avoidance goes to a whole another level #oops.

We get so lost in our lives that we (or at least I) can forget the simple truth that God is with us during our ‘ordinary’ day to day lives & if we are open to Him, God can work through us to do Kingdom work wherever and whenever! Getting excited about meeting God on Sunday and thinking about doing great work for God ‘in the future’ is not enough! I keep saying “time to make a change” about stuff in my life, but I guess that is part of being human. We make mistakes, backslide, get lost and do things wrong. But thank God that The Lord is always there, loving us even as we fumble around.

So this is me making a conscious effort to put God at the centre of my life (again). I’m going to focus this week on prayer; being thankful, rejoicing & interceding but most importantly listening.

When we listen to Him and seek His guidance, amazing things can happen, I pray I have the courage to say yes!

 

“… Before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” Isaiah 65: 24