Each Friday, my buddy in France and I ‘sail’ together on Skype as we share our working day. We call Friday’s ‘Le Club’ in honour of a group I was touched to share during my time in France.
Around about sixty creative women gather in a village hall deep in South West France among the hills and farms, where the honeyed stone buildings give out warmth and the peace is palpable. They come bringing easels, sewing machines and bags full of creativity to share a day together. All nationalities with a bond that transcends language as they sit inside nattering, crocheting. knitting, embroidering, quilting, sewing and felting, while outside under the trees are a group painting.
They sit together sharing stories of childhood, love, illness, bereavement, children, grandchildren, retirement, plans gone awry, projects, home renovations, family visits and specials from the food market. I sat next to a lady who creates pictures through exquisite bead embroidery and with hand gestures and smiles we had understanding.
The energy carved a place in my heart and each Friday my buddy and I return together. ❤
As I start to write this there’s a seagull perched on the edge of the roof terrace in the rain and he’s watching the world go by, as the tide goes out.
I have learnt a life gift recently that is a treasure. A loving friend sent me a text message one evening and I sensed that all was far from well with her. I telephoned and she burst into tears. In all the time we have known each other I have never seen or heard her cry and I was shocked. Thank goodness I managed to listen, but then I dropped a howler as I tried to make suggestions to fix what she was dealing with. I mentally have my head in my hands as I share that. What was I thinking!! She wasn’t asking for help, she just needed me to listen. My shock at her distress and love for her propelled me into ‘rescue’ mode and fortunately, I realised what I was doing, apologised and let her speak.
We met up for afternoon tea on Saturday and had a wonderful time, as we always do. Homemade scones, strawberry jam and clotted cream were involved which helped. Away from the heat of that moment on the phone, I quietly said sorry again and we talked about it. Oh, the gift of having someone listen, truly listen and not judge or try to tidy things up. Within a few days she had found her own answers and sorted things out. ❤
Other friends of mine are living through a dark situation that does not have a solution and we met on Saturday evening to spend some time together. We chose a wonderful Italian restaurant and sat there together all cosy and warm, under twinkling fairy lights, as it lashed it down with rain on the pavements and the sea outside.
One of our waiters was obviously Italian and bursting with youth. He looked after us beautifully and after one of his bursts of Italian as he brought yummy bread covered with mozzarella and caramelised onion to our table, I commented as he walked away.
‘Isn’t he lovely?’
Quick as a flash my buddy said;
‘He’s really Jim from Sheffield, Jane!’
I’m still chuckling as I share that.
We shared, cried and laughed through the evening and I was minded to just listen. ❤
My bank of dreams has held a precious one for over forty years and during the last few months I have been getting up early to sit and write. A loving friend Pete (grandfathersky) suggested I put a board up on my wall, so I could pin all the ideas and titles for the pieces I was writing. He had the feeling it would all come together in that way and he was right.
Over the past few months, as I sat creating with my sewing, an inner drive to reach out and offer practical support to others grew. The dream became more than writing and it evolved into offering a service uniquely tailored to individual needs. Over the years I have held various training and therapy roles under different corporate umbrellas and I now wish to do it in my natural style. I felt by writing a series of books in an open and heartfelt way, that others in need would feel ‘seen’ and able to ask for support.
Pete (grandfathersky) stepped in and formatted the chapters for me and dug me out of a few technical holes, for which I am so grateful. I was in such a pickle that I was tempted to eat my own body weight in chocolate and his encouraging suggestions came from the heart and were ‘spot on’. ❤
So, here I am with my first eBook published on Lulu:
Staying grounded has been a challenge in the last few days and as I am about to bring a project forward into daylight, the pressure has certainly been intense. Loving connections have been welcome and I’m going to write about them, in no order of importance, because they are all held in my heart.
The loving soul who gently transported me to the forest on Sunday and listened as I found my feet.
The buddy I worked with for a long time, who still sails with me every working day as we message back and forth. With just one word or picture, the understanding, support and shared laughter are heart-warming.
My Mum as we sorted a fair few things out and were faced with a few ‘WTH’ moments! May I just mention, that these moments came from others’ bright suggestions, so Mum and I have made a pact going forward. Next time someone suggests something that they breezily say is a doddle to organise we respond with;
‘Ohh, that sounds wonderful. Thanks for sorting that out.’
I also suggested to Mum that we play a new game. Now, brace yourselves, because it is rude. You ask people to play a new version of ‘Hide and Seek’ and it’s called ‘**** off.’ Feel free to insert your own personal choice of word. You ask them if they would like to play and then invite them to go first……..
My soul sister in the Yorkshire Dales who took the time to talk on the phone, listen with awareness, make me laugh and then read some of my new project. Her feedback and support is a loving gift.
And my lifelong friend, from when we were both nineteen years old and working together in the telex room of a well-known petroleum company in Johannesburg. Our bond has never wavered (even though we are now on different continents) and she created a golden moment today that had us both helpless with laughter. I do have her permission to share it.
She messaged ‘I am crocheting a chicken. I have managed to make the legs, but I am stuck on the body. By the way, the pattern is in Russian. Can I email it over?’
How did you find a pattern in Russian???
Well, bless Google translate as we sorted it between us and she’s creating again. It was no surprise to either of us that the title of the pattern was ‘Cock’.
The pull to go quiet could not be ignored a while ago as a wealth of change rolled in. I was not managing to wrap myself around everything that was calling for attention.
Hitting the pause button carved out some space. I didn’t try to make anything happen, as I just let myself be. I found peace in leaning into the discomfort of change and not knowing immediately what to do to ‘fix’ it. Who says things always have to be ‘fixed’?
Many moons ago, back in the eighties, I used to make clothing for friends from a vague idea, or a strand of conversation. Then I forgot that I loved doing that.
Recently, I was searching for a creative workshop that a friend and I could do together, as her birthday pressie. I came across one re-purposing clothes, but it was fully booked. I went to bed that night and had a dream about the things I used to make. Waking up excited, I started to explore the idea and it came together effortlessly. I already had a sewing machine, my dining table is now a work bench and I have years of stored threads, ribbons, buttons and my Granny’s old sewing basket. As soon as I mentioned this to my birthday friend she lent me her dressmaker’s dummy, who was immediately nicknamed Doris. The re-cycling contacts that have been established with my de-cluttering business were delighted to be of use and I simply started to create clothes. My friend asked to come here for her birthday, so we could be together and knit. Cake was involved and it was lovely. ❤
I find myself waking up with designs and ideas in my head.
Internet research and some experimentation with different platforms led me to open an eBay shop. Another dream gifted me the idea of taking the photographs on our roof terrace with The Mersey and Liverpool as a backdrop.
I can step back from taking on new de-cluttering clients now and spend some days creating, whilst still flowing with loving family care and my existing clients.
Happy days, as I’m just off to edge a jacket. The edge was an old blouse of mine, but as I took it out the wardrobe I thought ‘Ohhh, that would make a perfect edge for the jacket I picked up the other day.’ Then I reached for my scissors. I will end up going out dressed, but only just!
Gosh, getting the hang of the new WP editor is fun (not!!). Sometimes change for change’s sake, at other times because life flows in the unexpected.
A few months ago my phone rang on a Sunday morning and Dad said ‘We’re in trouble, can you come?’ My mum was lying in the back yard with a broken hip and wrist.
What flowed from that was a steep learning curve for all of us, with moments of loving grace, sharpness from ‘front line’ living, organisation, getting to grips with new social terminology, healing, care, the kindness of strangers and keeping the ship afloat. All bonded together with fear, resistance to change, quick decisions, prayers and love.
We’re several months down the road and a new routine has emerged. Mum is healing well (down to her indomitable spirit), Dad is less fearful yet poorly, support is in place and I have returned to my home, with regular visits back to flow care. Mum and I ‘sing from the same hymn sheet’ and cherish our teamwork. ❤
The tide still runs outside the house I call home as I pick up the threads of my life and business. Grateful for this peaceful space and treasured friends, who flow with unquestioning love and support.
As I go back into my clients’ homes I find myself asking the question ‘What do you need now?’ The answers have been varied and surprising. Two lovely souls needed help rediscovering the love of their homes, with each home as different as they are. We’ve had fun planning, exploring in local DIY stores and experimenting. The things we’ve purchased on-line have gifted the most fun. I found myself holding some beautiful dolphin decals yesterday , looking at my client and commenting ‘Gosh, maybe we ought to have checked the measurements!’ They are now leaping across her bathroom window and loo seat, raising smiles for all who need her bathroom.
The phone has started to ring for my new venture and not one call has been for cleaning. Most calls start with ‘Hello Jane, can you……?’ and the requests are for help with de-cluttering; sifting, sorting and creating calm in their homes, for all sorts of reasons and happenings. My heart is touched that folk feel safe to share their vulnerability.
Things are brought back to my happy bubble and I am selling on anything of use to others. Then in turn passing on clothing and accessories to my aqua buddy, who runs a second hand clothing shop. Anything else not obviously saleable is going to my buddy down the road, who runs a house clearance service and shop. He has been there for years and often helps those in difficulties with gifts for their homes. He gifted me some tins with lids, and with a named tape (and heart) on the handle of each one, they sit on my shelf to collect the abundance for my clients as their things sell.
It’s all community based and as I returned home yesterday I felt full of loving gratitude. The people I am meeting, love, stories and laughter we are sharing, hard graft, fresh air, support of loved ones and buddies and loving roots manifesting. I thought I would be cleaning, but life had another purpose and I am loving how this is growing. ❤