Tired. Just tired.

This is me. A sleepy little pug who needs a cosy warm bed, but could equally fall asleep on bare floorboards right now.

I have been on call for the past two weeks. In the midst of that, I found out my sister has cancer and went home for 4 days – but I was still on call and dealing with emergencies.

In the past 14 days I have had to manage 3 missing person incidents, four emergency placement moves, two incidents involving the police: one for criminal damage and one for assault, and a child protection investigation.

It’s been so wonderful.

I have no idea what is going on with my kids, or their carers, but I hope something settles down soon. We are due Ofsted any time now and I don’t think my poor little anxiety-girl heart can stand anymore stress.

In good news, I’m getting a back/neck/shoulder massage tomorrow and I am looking forward to it in a way that words cannot even describe!

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I’m still here

Still here…but pretty exhausted.  It’s been a very long week and a half.  Work has gone insane again,  on top of everything with my sister,  so I have worked late twice this week. 

I’m not really sleeping…it takes a long time to get off to sleep and I wake up early…but I’m doing ok.

In other news,  my manager had a baby yesterday! A lovely little girl. And that has made me smile. 

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My sister has cancer

There’s a scene near the end of the film “Sweet Home Alabama” where Reese Witherspoon is ditching Patrick Dempsey at the altar. He stands there, numb, and says “So this is what this feels like”

That scene made sense to me yesterday, when my little sister Abigail (who is not so little; 19 years old and 6 ft 2) called me up after work and told me that the series of lumps she found in her neck six months ago are in fact, thyroid cancer.

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I don’t know about you, but when I hear of horrible situations happening to people I know, my mind wanders a bit and I wonder how I would cope in that situation. I wonder how I would feel.

As it turns out, there is no way to prepare for news like this, and more than 24 hours later, I still don’t know how I feel.

Today I was such a scatter brain that I managed to spill a nearly full cup of tea over myself. First thing in the morning. While wearing a white t-shirt. Idiot. The rest of the day I had the attention span of a gnat. Oh, and I almost poured boiling water over myself whilst trying to make a cup of tea later in the afternoon.

Right now, I am focusing on the things that I know – rather than the things I don’t. I’m resisting the urge to Google…once I know the official name of it, I’ll do some research but until then it would just be too weird.

Things I know
Abigail has thyroid cancer which is also affecting her lymph glands
She is having surgery to remove it on 2nd October
After that, she’ll be having radio-iodine treatment to eradicate any further cancer
God is in control

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I know that lots of people, when faced with awful situations, will rail against God and blame him. Millions of people use the fact that there is sickness and suffering in the world as an excuse not to believe in Him. Not me. I know that God is in control and He has this whole situation in hand. More than that, He’s been preparing us for this.

How?

Abigail has a friend called Jess, who earlier this year had a stroke and later found out she had leukaemia. Jess is a good friend of Abigail’s and they work together, so Abigail has seen her at her best and worst through her own illness. Jess’ consultant is called Dr Malik. Dr Malik is also Abigail’s consultant. When she was waiting for her results, Abigail sat down with Jess and Jess was very lovely and explained exactly what it’s like to have cancer. Abigail then felt reassured that she knew what she might be facing – even though none of us wanted it to be this. What an angel Jess has been.

This time last year, our family’s support network was very small. It was basically just the immediate family; eight of us, a rabbit and a dog. Yesterday when I spoke to my mum and my sister, there were about a dozen non-family people that we could think of who will help us through this – my mum’s new friends that she has met through a course she attended and a lovely friend from work, my brother-in-law’s family, our friend Penny who lives in the village… we have people.

This time two years ago my Mum and Abigail both suffered from severe depression. Both of them still have depression, but nowhere near the extent that they did before. While this has knocked us all for six (daft expression) it is not going to beat us down.

So while I do still feel unprepared for news like this; I know that God has prepared us for this – and I can, and will, turn to Him throughout this time.

Tomorrow, my sister and brother in law are driving back to Plymouth from Wales, and after work my brother and his girlfriend and I are driving down as well. We are all assembling, like the Avengers, to talk and hug and watch Disney movies. This is what we do.

Abigail has started a blog – of course – because she is a fighter and wants to document her journey. You can read more here: http://mylife-cherryblossom.tumblr.com/

There may be blog-silence for a little while. There may be blog overload for a while. I don’t know really.

But what I do know?

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing remains
One thing remains

Your love never fails it never gives up it never runs out on me

On and one and on and on it goes
It overwhelms and satisfies my soul
And I never ever have to be afraid
One thing remains

In death and in life I’m confident and covered by the power of your great love
My debt is paid there’s nothing that can separate my heart from your great love

(One Thing Remains; Jesus Culture)

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September

This time last week the temperature was in the high twenties. It was sunny every day, with blue skies and hardly any clouds. I’ve been sleeping with just a thin cover for the past month because it’s just been too warm!

This week, though, it’s dropped about 15 degrees…it’s grey…it’s raining…it’s cloudy…it makes me want to stay in bed all day. I’ve got a thick quilt and a blanket on my bed, and right now I’m wearing proper fluffy socks AND my dressing gown, and I still feel a bit chilly.

On top of the weather change, I’ve had a cold! How rubbish. Quite amazing that it’s only the second time this year that I’ve been poorly…but that doesn’t really help when you can’t breathe and get exhausted just from being.

Today has been day 5 and I feel a bit more human again – but the past few days have been grotty.

Back to normal blogging when I’m properly well

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I.S.F.J … or, my 200th post

This evening, I read a blog update by one of my favourite bloggers: Renee at FIMBY

You should visit that blog. It’s great. Sometimes I just look at her amazing photography and go back to read the post later. I am inspired (and at times jealous) of her family’s lifestyle.

Renee writes a lot about being an ESTJ personality (according to the Myers Briggs personality test) and in the latest FIMBY post she mentions it again. I’ve often wondered what I would come out as…and today, at the end of a long-long month, and feeling rather fragile after a not-so-good day at work I thought I would see if my personality type explains why I feel things how I do. So, I found a version of the test on line.

My result is ISFJ – which is Introverted – Sensing – Feeling – Judging

(As opposed to: Extroverted/iNtuition/Thinking/Perceiving)

This is what the website says about ISJF personalities…

Introverted Sensing personality types are dependable, reliable and trustworthy. They like to belong to solid organisations that are reasonable in their ambitions and loyal to their employees. They feel useful when their roles and responsibilities are clearly established and they can monitor their activities and productivity in tangible ways. They tend to be rather modest, traditional and conventional, to like sensible clothing, to be thrifty, careful and wise with both money and possessions

Once they accept a project, they will see it to the end. They manage their time well and are realistic about how much time and resources will be needed.

They tend to like to stay in one neighbourhood, often choosing to live close to where they were themselves raised. They are often involved with volunteer organisations and have a developed sense of citizenship and accountability. When they purchase something, it is after careful consideration; rarely will they buy something without having a known need or use for it. They may keep possessions for a lifetime and treasure those that were given to them.

They tend to have a good memory for specific facts that are necessary in their day-to-day life at work and at home. They accumulate facts and details to orient themselves, relying on repeated experiences that have been proven trustworthy. A fact once experienced may be the product of circumstance and happenstance; it is not in and of itself reliable. When an introverted sensing type hears an idea, they rummage through reams of archived facts to find an experience that provides information for the relevance and realism of an idea. When an introverted sensing type utters, “It’s never been done!” they are saying that no information about the relevance or usefulness of the idea is available to them. They tend to shy away from surprises and what is perceived as unnecessary change.

Apart from the bit about sensible clothing – which is true, but a little bit rude – I can totally see how that is my personality.

Want to see what Google Images says about ISFJ personalities?!

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Apparently I’m a cross between Sam from LOTR, Marge Simpson, and a super-over-achieving Mum. Great!

More seriously, though – ISFJ…that’s totally me!! The bits about work… that’s me!!

I appreciate reasonable expectations and loyalty – not being expected to keep a hundred-thousand balls in the air, and then be criticised publicly when I drop the hundred-and-first ball rather than praised for managing to keep the first hundred up there.

Can you tell I had a bad day?

Actually, let’s get some perspective. It wasn’t that bad. I prayed on the way to work this morning that God would:
… give me peace – because I have been feeling very anxious recently and in particular last week at work
… help me to stand firm in His promises – because I have been feeling like I am on very shaky ground
… help me to guard my tongue and speak wisely, not letting frustrations get the better of me – because I have been such a snarky, gossipy girl over the last month, saying the first thing that comes to mind and not being the example of Christ that I could be in my workplace

And, thanks be to God – I felt less anxious and more assured: trusting that my worth does not come from my colleagues’ opinion of me but from God’s opinion of me. I held it together: despite being criticised unjustly in front of my colleagues and a carer, and trusted that God has a purpose for this time – even though it is uncomfortable for me.

Tonight I am signing off tonight with a few verses that I need to learn…absorb…take hold of. I particularly love Exodus 4:14 which was a key verse in our sermon at church this week.

James 1:2-4
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”(NKJV)

2 Corinthians 10:3
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.” (NIV)

Exodus 14:14
“The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” (NKJV)

1 Peter 3:9
“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it.” (NLT)

1 Peter 3:9
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (ESV)

Psalm 46:10a
“Be still, and know that I am God.” (KJV)

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