At the beginning of this year I set a goal to write a post each week that would help me to pick out all of the goodness of that week. I wanted to remember that however it went, however hard it felt or however many times I lost it, the week still had beauty in it and there were still moments I found success, and I still had a lot to be grateful for. And so was born “#MyHeartyLife” – it started as a linky, but soon just became my own little project. Whilst I haven’t been successful at doing it every week, I have done it most weeks and for that I am thankful. It has been great this year to take time to think of the good.

And so, as 2018 comes to a close, so does my little gratitude project. I have learnt a lot from focussing on these things and I am grateful for the weekly reminder of capturing the hearty moments in life.

This week and last have been both super busy and really great too. We had Naths birthday on the 21st and then a lovely meal out together the following evening – it was rather low key but lovely. From then on it was full steam ahead into a lovely Christmas. Now as we prepare for new years tomorrow, I am somewhat in that realm where you have completely forgotten what day of the week it is! We have had a lovely Christmas week with family and I hope you and your families have too.

Grateful For 

Yesterday we enjoyed a day out in Hull. We went to the theatre and then a spot of shopping – I was in a pretty bad mood for the most of the day, but I am grateful nonetheless for the time we could spend doing something special together. I am also grateful for the lovely Christmas we had and all of the lovely gifts we have received from family and neighbours. We have enjoyed our usual traditions with family, some little parties with friends and a few lovely walks in there too.

I am truly thankful for such a lovely time together.

Succeeded At

Back in October our prophet set a challenge to the women of the church to read the Book of Mormon (a book of scripture we have) by the end of the year (531 pages). I started off really well, but got way behind on my schedule. These last 2 weeks however I have been reading at every opportunity I could find and as such am over the moon to say I did it!!! I successfully read it and finished this morning and I feel so good about that! I have read it a lot growing up as an LDS member, but have learnt a lot this time round too.

I also succeeded at peeling and chopping 55 carrots for the village Christmas meal, giving the fam a great Christmas, sewing a dress for my niece and making a car mat for another, and finally getting by on very little sleep! Totally ending the year feeling like a winner ha!

Found Beauty In 

There are so many things at Christmas time that bring Joy and beauty – the children and their excitement, their belief in the magic and their cheers and squeals over the perfect gift! The laughter and games with cousins and moments shared with loved ones – I have loved and cherished each of these moments and seen beauty in each one.

Friday was another day filled with beauty when we had our “fake christmas” with my family. As per tradition we met beforehand for a walk and it was so lovely to scramble through the woods in wellies in the late afternoon sun, and see such lovely scenes in nature.

I hope you have a wonderful and safe New Year and thank you so much for your support in following and reading my blog this year.

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This week, in most ways has been all rather ordinary. We have had a few more mornings of mad dashes to school than I would have hoped for, and we have our usual trips across to soft play and a swim with some friends too, but then in and amongst all of the ordinary day to day stuff of parenting and family life, we have celebrated 9 years or marriage, walked with friends across the Humber Bridge, and on Monday evening I had a lovely evening out to see Fame – The Musical.

This weekend has been another good one, with seeing the kids do a presentation at church, and yesterday we spent the day with friends remembering their baby girl who was also stillborn almost 3 years ago. The weather was lovely and we met on the South bank of the Humber bridge, then in the lovely Autumn sunshine walked across to the North bank. Once there we enjoyed our picnics, chats and a balloon release in her memory. It was a lovely way to spend the day, and they are a truly inspirational family –  we were glad to be able to share in something so special.

Grateful For

This week I feel really grateful and have so many things to be thankful for too! Here goes …

I am grateful for my marriage and to be married to such a wonderful man. I am grateful for all that has been created in life because we fell in love and married 9 years ago and, I am grateful for the love he gives me in life!

As I mentioned, today at church the kids had their annual presentation – It was all about the creation and God Plan for us! I thoroughly enjoyed hearing them all sing and watching each child give a little talk and I am grateful for the confidence of my kids, for their willingness to do things like this, and for the teachers at church that take the time to love and teach them about the gospel. I am also thankful for their simple presentation of things that mean so much to us and the reminders of good things in life! I am grateful for them both and their goodness!

Finally this week I am also grateful for opportunities to be with people that understand loss and talk openly. I am grateful to have gone swimming with friends from the village and I am grateful for my therapist and the great session I had yesterday afternoon! I am grateful for sunshine and beautiful scenery and opportunities to think and understand.

Succeeded At

This week I succeeded at gaining another year of marriage with Mr Smith. I love him greatly and I am so thankful to be celebrating 9 years of marriage! Whilst we haven’t officially celebrated, we did mark the day with some posh food at home (Lidl spec haha) and nice drinks (who says romance is dead?!). We are looking forward to planning a night away together (or 2) once we have half term out of the way and once we actually decide where we want to go!

Found Beauty In

Yesterday was a very beautiful day – the Humber bridge and the autumn leaves were really lovely and I enjoyed walking over the Humber bridge chatting with people! I always find it a little nervy, but it is also an incredibly beautiful and exciting thing to do. It was beautiful to see a family remember their baby and to see balloons a plenty with loving notes attached float off up to “heaven”!

I also found beauty in seeing Megs and Alice play so lovely yesterday in the leaves and in the car, whilst Ethan was out with his Grandma. I found beauty in Ethan and Megs singing today and in the general loveliness of the whole thing!

I have found beauty in driving around where we live this weekend and I have seen beauty in our marriage and lives together. I have also been blessed this week to have opened my eyes to find more beauty in motherhood and that was such a good feeling. I often mix up the mundane house keeping stuff with motherhood and then it doesn’t always feel so great or I find the days unfulfilling. But when I focus more on being a mummy and enjoying my children, then I feel like it is such a wonderful and incredibly thing. I feel far more blessed and it feels a much more beautiful life, than cleaning and laundry!

This week has been especially beautiful and one with much to be thankful for. Six more days to our Italy trip, and I truly am thankful for that too.

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Last week I decided to have a social media fast! Aside from Facebook messenger to communicate with the youth I work with at church (and Nath at work), I abstained from Twitter, Blogging, Instagram and Facebook for a full week – It felt mint! Initially this was hard, but after realising how often I go on it for the sake of it, and after realising how much thought I gave to others lives as a result, I suddenly became more refreshed and free! I felt grateful for the time I had to live my life in the moment without feeling the obligation to share every moment.

During all of this I began to reflect on how I could have a better balance in my life and what changes I could make to ensure the therapy I was doing would have optimum effect in my life and healing from the trauma of loss. I wondered how I could find more peace and how I could break the cycle of reliving the trauma so much. I love social media, photography and blogging and see a lot of goodness in it, but I also became aware of things I could change to remove triggers and toxic experiences online.

The answer that came to me (and that felt right) was to stop blogging about my loss.

A scripture I have always loved since Poppy entered our lives is the one in Ecclesiastes 3 – it begins with “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven“.. it goes on to read…”A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance”. 

I love it…And I love how all things have a purpose, but sometimes only for a season. I love how birth and death are described as being moments that come at the right time, and whilst this is hard sometimes, there is purpose beyond what we understand at why these seasons come when they do! I really love that there are seasons in life that are filled with sadness and mourning and that that’s okay – because there will be other seasons of laughter and joy.

For the last 4 years I have been in a season of life that has been incredibly hard and painful. I felt inspired at the start of it to blog – write it out and share what was going on. It was cathartic and helped me write the words I could not speak. It helped others too, and connected me to people that got it. I found angels all over the world that could have those difficult conversations and they helped me through. I found and loved that the focus of living a “hearty life” and looking for “hearty moments” in the days and weeks that only felt bleak, helped me massively to survive and stay afloat – they helped me to see the hand of God in each day. And, even though I had no idea (and still don’t) as to why he needed my child home so soon blogging has helped me navigate through it.

But now I feel I have come to the end of the line. I feel like that season and chapter of my life has been written and I am entering a new season – one where I don’t need to write about my loss any more. One where mourning will be lessened and her memory and place will be treasured within our family. A season where the things I have learnt from losing her, will be used to bless people through my work and maybe even a book one day!! But her legacy and influence, I am seeing now, lives through us and how we choose to remember her. Her story is told in each sacred moment we have, and each memory and story the kids share with her name in it. We will continue to talk of her, remember and think of her, and we will continue to celebrate her birthday each year and send her balloons to heaven. We will hang a special decoration and keep the traditions we have forged to include her in our family moments and celebrations.

But now, as I look to heal from PTSD and as I hope to gain all I can from my therapy, it feels right to no longer write of the grief, the mourning and the imagery of losing a baby and having a stillbirth. It feels right to share of the things that bring me joy and create and build memories of cheer. As a result I have removed the “Baby loss” section from my header menu (it can still be found in “blog categories” in the sidebar) and from now my blog will be purely family and lifestyle – our adventures and travels, my thrifty loves and passions and my semi-cool modest style!

I love blogging and wouldn’t want to get rid of something that means so much and tells our story/journey, but now I want my writing to be focussed on something else. I want it to be fun and chilled and reflect my loves and passions.

I am moving forward from the person that needed to write and let it out – not forgetting but remembering – in a way that is more healthy and gentle on my mind. And in that “The Hearty Life” takes on new meaning – The Hearty Life is wholesome, Jovial and filled with vigour, cheer and devotion. I look and I think “Oh what a life to live and love! Oh what a life we embrace and seek for daily”!

It is that which now becomes our story and blogs! A new season…a new road…a new chapter to write!

Please note I am always happy to talk to and listen to anyone who has experienced baby loss at any stage – just drop me an email or message in social media. I will always talk to you and I will always acknowledge and count your baby, just as I do and will do with Poppy in our family. I will continue to talk of her periodically I am sure (it’s only natural). But blogging about it all has come to an end and this is simply a step to healing and gaining balance as I enter a different chapter of my life! 

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Last week was quite a week indeed, which I thoroughly enjoyed! From afternoon tea on the Monday, to a mini steam railway at the coast Thursday, our week has been filled with joyful things, little outings and now a 4 week countdown to the Summer holidays!

This coming week, whilst I have nothing in my diary as yet, also looks set to be great one too. With a forecast of bright sunshine and 21+ temperatures, I can’t wait to embrace the Summer and be outside some more with Alice having fun!

Grateful For …

This week I have been really grateful to live near my sisters and mum – Firstly because it was lovely to go out last Monday for afternoon tea and enjoyed the usual banter. Secondly to have a little tea party yesterday and wander/chat on Friday with my youngest sister. And finally I have been grateful that my mum came and had the kids on Wednesday for a couple of hours so that I could go into college earlier, and that sister babysat on Thursday so that Nathan and I could go out!

I am also incredibly grateful for the lovely students I have worked with these last few months on my course. I have found in each of them kindness and friendship and I am especially grateful for the little crew/team I had that offered so much motivation, help and encouragement. I couldn’t have done what I have without them and the support of Nathan at home and my local family with spots of childcare!

Succeeded At …

My biggest and most wonderful success this week was by far finishing my Level 3 in counselling skills. Gosh there have been weeks I have felt so far behind, or generally like I was ready to quit, but here I am on the other side of all of that and completed! I was so so happy to finally hand in my portfolio – nothing prepared me for how good that would really feel and I relished every moment!

Next I am hoping to get on the Counselling level 4 and then hopefully be practising in 2 yrs time.

This week I also managed to organise and declutter the girls room (though you can’t really tell now) and got on top of house work after neglecting it in order to prioritise my college work!

Found Beauty In …

Oh so many things this week. It always is the case when the weather is nice – my mood is better and therefore I notice more!

For me this week I have seen beauty in the moments wandering around the animal park with my friend on Wednesday and then seeing Alice loving the animals (mostly) and having a little picnic with her pal!

It was riding the little steam engine in Scarborough with Alice on Thursday and seeing her glee and excitement over it. And then, whilst she rested her head on my chest, we watched the sea beating down on the sea and looked over the bay as the world went by and we chilled on the little train. It was gorgeous!

Finally it was seeing my kids having fun with their cousins on Saturday… and then again yesterday! This week I have felt so fortunate to live around so many beautiful things and people and I am excited for another week of sunshine and adventures – and not college to rush off to!

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