A Letter to Myself

Dear 18-year-old-self,

You are just about to head off to university to start on a new path, full of hopes and ideas and a very specific plan about how the future will be and what your life will look like when you are a proper grown up.

Firstly, you should know, you’ll always look back on this past year of your life as one of your favourites.   You met and became friends with some awesome girls and you’re not wrong in thinking they’ll still be here fourteen (fourteen?!) years later.  They are now awesome women that you continue to learn and grow from and who challenge you in all the best ways.  They are all strong, all intelligent and will be there for you more ways than you can imagine in the coming years.

It might also surprise you to know that a lot of the boys from this past year will also still be in your life too, some not as close or as much as they were at this time (one way closer ;-))  but you’ll keep in touch and watch and cheer them on from the side-lines in all their coming successes.

The thing you should know is that the plan you have in your head – your life isn’t going to work out like that.  You aren’t going to become some power-suit-with-killer-heels wearing human rights lawyer who travels the world and fights social injustice on a world scale.  You won’t meet the man you’re going to marry at university (you’ve already met him but that’s another story), you won’t get married at 28 and have your first child at thirty and you still won’t be three inches taller, have smaller teeth or have managed to stop biting your nails.

It won’t matter though.  Your life is wonderful, beautifully different and better than you could have imagined.

You won’t really enjoy your law degree and will spend the time fantasising about having done Philosophy and Ethics.  After graduation you will work in one of the most deprived boroughs of London, with the most vulnerable members of society, those living with mental health diagnosis, battling addictions, single mothers and elderly people who are lonely.  You will love the work and will it will lay a foundation for your belief in the importance of human connection, empathy, understanding and support. It is social justice on a small scale, not a grand one, there’s no real glory in serving a deprived community. You will refer to this in years’ to come as your favourite job – despite the terrible money this job made you come alive, taught you a huge amount (mostly about yourself and your capabilities).

Later, you will have the privilege of supporting women affected by domestic violence, people going through emotionally difficult times.  It will be challenging and you will become impassioned about women’s rights because you see first-hand how society ignores them too often.

All of your roles will teach you something but the most important thing that they will teach you is that just because things don’t go to plan that it doesn’t mean that you have failed.

I know you don’t like to quit.  You have not been taught to quit.  A different plan is not the same as quitting.  You have been taught to listen to your gut.  Do that more. At 18 you have this plan and path all planned out and you keep going on it even when your gut tells you that maybe, maybe you should be doing something different.  Trust your gut a little bit more.  Listen to your feelings, acknowledge them and then work out a new plan.

Your heart tells you where you should be and what you should be doing.  The things that you enjoy, that give you a sense of purpose, that make you feel that you are doing something worthwhile, the things that bring you joy and laughter these are things you should be doing, never mind the picture in your head.  The idea of “should” and the image of how it “should be” is not to be confused with what actually makes you, you.

Enjoy it when you’re in it, (you get better at this) appreciate every stage in your life, it won’t come around again.  Ignore the picture, the plan, and go with your gut, your heart, it will be better and it requires you to have a little more trust, be a little braver and to be a little more laid back, no bad things.

You have so much to look forward to.

Love, 31 year-old you.

Light and Salt, Salt and Light

The last two weeks at church the sermons have focused on Matthew 5:13 – 16 where Jesus calls his followers to both be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  Christians widely interpret this to mean that we are called to show our love of God to the rest of the world by our actions, that we will guide others by our love. I love the analogy of salt; it brings out the flavour in our meals and is used to preserve things, to keep them “good”.  It is our tears and our sweat.  If you get salt in a wound it will sting like crazy, but it will also cleanse.  No pain, no gain right?

If this is what we are called to be then we need to be the people that speak out against injustice, against hate and against inequality, against those who use their power to silence others.  We are called to do what Jesus did.  I recently watched the film Suffragette and was reminded of all the women who went before me, who sacrificed to make my position in this country a better one.  So what am I doing in today’s world, when it feels like everything is going to pot, to make others’ circumstances better?  How am I being the salt and the light?

I am speaking out, with as much love as possible, against Trump and Theresa May’s policies, I am emailing my Member of Parliament to ensure my voice is heard, I am signing the Petition to ask our Government to re consider its position on the Dubs Amendment, which gave sanctuary to unaccompanied child refugees from Syria.  I am not “deleting” friends on social media with different opinions because I don’t think echo chambers are healthy and I am trying to engage in discourse, to also listen and to challenge people to think with love.  I will not be silent.  I will try to be the salt and the light, however challenging that might be to me, a person who loathes confrontation.  Here’s the thing though, I don’t loathe it as much as I loathe injustice.

 

 

If you would like to know more about the Dubs Amendment and sign the petition you can do so here:

https://fullfact.org/immigration/ask-full-fact-dubs-and-dublin/

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/sep/05/disgrace-to-europe-former-child-refugee-lord-dubs-calais-camp

https://www.change.org/p/government-save-lone-child-refugees-in-europe?recruiter=71901527&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink

 

If you want to email your MP you can do so here:

www.writetothem.com

 

Books, Books, Books

I read a grand total of 43 (one book twice) books in 2016, a vast improvement on 2015.  For 2017 I would like to read a minimum of 52.

The below are in order as read, books that made most of an impact (good or bad) are annotated.

  1.  Simply Christian by Tom Wright – a great introductory text with simple explanations.
  2. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert – the tagline is “creative living beyond fear”.  Yes and yes!
  3. The Zahir by Paulo Coelho.
  4. The Pilgramage by Paulo Coelho.
  5. Longbourn by Jo Baker.
  6. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts – this is an “epic” novel.  It is very long and meandering.  I felt that at least 200 pages could have been cut out.  I realise that this book has a lot of fans though so do try it if your tempted.
  7. Tattoos on the Heart by Gregory Boyle – This is a wonderful book, a must read about a Priest who runs a non profit for ex gang members in LA.
  8. How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran.
  9. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (re-read) fantastic, I love C.S. Lewis.
  10. Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert – I really enjoyed this as I prepare for my own marriage in 2017.
  11. The Childhood of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee – profound.  This will stay with you long after you read it.  Completely unexpected but I really loved it.
  12. Eleven Minutes by Paulo Coelho – this is a fantastic book.  Read, it, read it!
  13. Prayer Without Pretending by Rev. Anne Townsend – I am lucky enough to know Anne who preaches at my church.  This was a very insightful little book about prayer and making time for it.
  14. The Day I met Jesus by Mary deMuth and Frank Viola – I absolutely loved this book.  I found it so helpful in learning the stories of these women from the Gospels and having them put into perspective.
  15. Every Day Sexism by Laura Bates – a real eye-opener in terms of statistics, if not in terms of experiences of women.  A great movement to get behind.
  16. The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Fielder – I adored this, a really different way to present and write about mental health, for the better.
  17. The Drunkard’s Walk by Leonard Mlodinow – I can’t do maths, I don’t like it, this was too hard.
  18. The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory – I really enjoy her novels, I can’t put them down.
  19. Work Smarter, Live Better by Cecil Peupion.
  20. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins.
  21. The Wealthy Woman by Mary Waring.
  22. Lean for Life by Louise Parker – read about this game changer here.
  23. Being Mortal by Atwul Gwande – really interesting about societies’ view of old age and ageing and death (not as depressing as it sounds).
  24. According to Yes by Dawn French.
  25. Finally Feminist by J Stackhouse – alright but not amazing.
  26. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequest – I really needed this book and it is probably the book that made most impact on me this year.  I would recommend it to anyone (I read this twice).
  27. Nerd Do Well by Simon Pegg.
  28. The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking – a great little book, we could all do with some hygge.
  29. Small Victories by Anne Lamott – a beautiful writer, a collection of essays, some had more impact than others but I really enjoyed this.
  30. A Lineage of Grace by Francine Rivers – I found this really helpful in helping me to identify the stories of women in the bible as often these are overlooked.  I really enjoyed this.
  31. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown – a must read.
  32. Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton – good.  Not as good as Carry, On Warrior.
  33. Rising Strong by Brené Brown.
  34. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling and John Tiffany – I miss Harry and the gang.
  35. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (re read).
  36. Listening to God by Joyce Hugget.
  37. Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton (re read).
  38. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson – AMAZING.
  39. Still Life by Louise Penny – got into the Inspector Gamache books on the recommendation of Sarah Bessey.  Did not think I would enjoy it at first but really got into it. I just finished the second.
  40. Advent for Everyone by Tom Wright – very good a good programme for Advent.
  41. A Christmas Tail by Cressida McLaughlin.
  42. The Problem of Pain by C.S.Lewis – deals with a difficult subject for Christians.

Brave #oneword365

I am taking part in the #oneword365 project.  You choose a word or more accurately, a word chooses you, to guide you throughout the year, rather than making resolutions. Sarah Bessey introduced me to #oneword365 through her blog.  As she says, the word you keep coming back to, that’s your word for the New Year, and it’s usually the one you least want it to be.

Last year my word was “committed”.  I have written and read more than I did in previous years and have definitely said “no” more, although I am still learning to pause, and probably always will be.  In August I found Louise Parker and her Lean for Life method and after several years of trying and failing to shift an extra 10lbs I was carrying I did it in 8 weeks and have kept it off as it is a lifestyle change, not a diet.  More about that here, if you’re interested.

I was committed to listening and praying to God about my calling throughout the year, asking for help and guidance about this career change I feel called to and the studying required.   After an intense application process I got in!  I start the part time counselling course in two weeks!  I am so thrilled about this opportunity and everything it brings with it; learning new things, doing something I feel passionate about and which genuinely excites me.

I will have a lot of change this year.  I am going back to college at the age of 31 (and a half) to learn about something that I hope and pray I will eventually do as a full time career.  I have to leave my current career. I have to actually give up my, secure, relatively well paid job, for uncertainty, as there is no alternative currently on the horizon.  I will still need to work full time – there are bills to pay!  This feels like a huge leap of faith, particularly with a wedding to plan and pay for in September.

I will be relying on my support network in the next two and half years a lot more than I have before.  I will be taking a backseat in the breadwinning department, relying on my incredibly supportive fiancé to be responsible for paying the majority of our mortgage and bills.  I will be requiring emotional support from him and my family and friends who I simply won’t be able to see as much.

I am usually the “helper” the “giver”.  I do not like to impose myself, my needs on others.  I do not want to be a burden.  For a while I was insisting that I could do it all: I could continue in my current demanding job (50+ hour weeks, no breaks, commute time and evening, weekend and holiday email checking – not boasting, believe me I wish it were different) and study every Saturday and complete the assignments.  All so that I could still pay my way on a 50/50 basis and contribute equally to the wedding.

My fiancé and my friends were insistent that I was being deluded, something would have to give and it shouldn’t be my dream.  Eventually, I have become more accepting that I will need help, that it is okay to rely on others.  Isn’t that what I’ll be learning about anyway?  That if it’s okay for others to ask for help, for assistance, then it’s also okay for me to do so – it shows some arrogance really to think I am different or better than others.

Brene Brown so succinctly says:

“Until we can receive with an open heart, we’re never really giving with an open heart.  When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help”.

My word for 2017 is – BRAVE and I really didn’t want it to be.  I wanted it to be something profound like, I don’t know, “transformation” something that implied this would be my best year yet and was going to be wonderful. A year of great change and personal growth that I sailed through with aplomb, perfectly juggling all the balls and never dropping one.

It will be, but let’s face it, there will be plenty of tears and times when it’s really hard and I’m really tired and money is tight and I can’t go out for nice dinners and I miss out on time with friends because I have to study or work.  When I was honest with myself about the coming year I realised that although I am excited I am also terrified. I have kept coming back to something Aslan says:

“Courage, dear heart”. 

Bravery.  Brave enough to quit my job, brave enough to trust that it will work out, brave enough to go back to studying and get the most out of it, brave enough to rely on everyone and brave enough to say “no” and brave enough to be selfish with my precious time.

What does it look like for you?  Maybe you need to be brave enough to set aside time for yourself? To take a break?  To start that hobby you’ve always dreamed of or to take the trip of a lifetime or just to travel somewhere by yourself?  It’s a new year, full of opportunities to make a change, to do something different.

Doing something different doesn’t have to be a big thing though.  It can be choosing to be kind, or to keep your temper when you would normally lose it, choosing to not to beat yourself up when you (inevitably) drop some of the balls or just plain old cock it all up.  When that happens you then need to be brave enough to start all over again or admit that you might need to stop and re start doing something completely different.

Sarah Bessey (I love her, in case you haven’t guessed)* wrote this amazing post which I come back to whenever I lose a bit of my nerve about pursuing this calling.  She says:

“If teaching or preaching or writing or managing or leading or painting or film-making or delivering babies or studying astro-physics or whatever it is makes you feel more whole, then darling, do it all to the glory of God and you’ll see the way it makes you come alive will stain your entire life with joy…It doesn’t have to be pretty.  It doesn’t have to be seamless and easy.  It doesn’t have to come together without struggle.  In fact, I can pretty much promise you that it’s going to be hard at times to create the room for your calling to be lived out.  But it will be worth it.  Because if it makes you feel alive, if it’s what God gifted and called and created you to do right along with everything else in your life, then we all need you to do it and also you need to do it”.

So, brave it is and brave it will be.

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Totally ready to go back to school – gold pencil case with my wonderful pin from a friend and my new stationary from another 🙂

 

* I was lucky enough to meet Sarah in person at the Woman to Woman Conference in London in October 2015.  After she had preached I queued up to get her to sign my copies of Jesus Feminist and Out of Sorts.  We had spoken over a Facebook a few times and I totally fangirled, crying as soon as it got to my turn in line.  Sarah was gracious and lovely and took it all in her stride.  I realised later that I hadn’t even introduced myself and had been carrying on like she knew who I was.  I emailed her to apologise and introduce myself and as ever, she was so polite and kind.  I am still mortified.

Lean For Life

I have dithered about writing about my new lifestyle for a while.  Truth be told, I’ve been a bit scared.  I am a self-proclaimed proud feminist.  I don’t think that all women have to offer the world is their looks.  I despise advertising which constantly tells women to be smaller, less, be good, conform, look a certain way – long hair, perfect eyebrows, shiny nails, big boobs and bum but absolutely no belly.  Don’t you dare have an ounce of fat on your belly, or cellulite, or stretch marks or wobbly thighs.

If you’ve had a baby, never mind that it took you nine months to grow it and your body has done an amazing thing – produced another human being and now it is producing food for that human being (if you choose to breastfeed, obviously) – what you should be worried about is how fast you can lose that baby weight.

There are always fad diets advertised – look!  Lose 20lbs in two days by starving yourself and then put it all back on when you start eating real food.

This upsets me. Glennon sums it up perfectly:

image

 

Here’s the thing.  Listen well – You are not undeserving of love if you carry a few extra pounds or you have stretch marks.  The way you look?  Not the most important thing about you.  Being kind, compassionate, brave, wise?  Those things are important.

I am 31 and I love food.  Love it.  I also enjoy exercise and try to be a healthy, why?  Because I feel better, happier, more me when I am healthy.  There’s no comparison.

I used to be able to eat whatever I want (read: a minimum of two chocolate bars a day) when I was a Support Worker (read: under 25).  I was walking all the time between clients, I would say on average 4 miles a day and generally ate healthily apart from the chocolate.  I was happy with my weight, I felt healthy, I was also running and going to the gym.  I didn’t worry too much about the chocolate.

Then I got my “career job” and I sat down at a desk for 7 hours every day and I put on over a stone in a very short space of time.  None of my clothes fit.  I quickly lost 7lbs but try as I might I haven’t been able to shift that extra 10lbs.

This year I said I was going to be committed to eating healthily and exercising.  I am 31 and I want to be healthy, happy and nourish my body.

I want to exercise and run and do yoga so I can find my stride and my breath.  So I feel powerful and strong, not bloated and fatigued.

I get married this year(!) and I want to look good in my wedding dress.  I won’t apologise for that.

I do not want to look super skinny and tired and drawn.

I do not want to feel bloated and be self-conscious in my dress.

I want to look back at photos and think “I looked and felt the best I could on that day, and that was pretty amazing.”

I want to feel beautiful and strong and empowered on my wedding day.  I want it to set the tone for my marriage.

How you look and how you feel are personal to you.  It is relative.  I know I was never overweight, not a day in my life, but I didn’t feel as good as I knew I could and I didn’t like it.

In August I picked up Louise Parker’s Lean for Life book.  I flicked through it in Waitrose and thought, “Yes.  Real food, no fads, no shortcuts.  I like the look of this”.

You have to read the book, familiarise yourself with the four pillars and plan out your transform phase.  This is a lifestyle change not a diet.  It takes dedication and you have to be prepared.  You need to work out how you are going to meal plan and you need to stick to it, not keep stepping out of the circle every time you want to.

I work full time in a demanding job with minimal breaks.  Unfortunately, I cannot religiously stick to all of Louise’s principles when I am at work – I have to take my lunch and snacks in Tupperware, which isn’t particularly beautiful and often I am forced to eat at my desk, in front of a screen which is less than ideal.

I still did it though.  I moved every day, often walking part of the way home from work to get my steps up, I liked that I didn’t have to do Louise’s workouts exclusively (although I did them 2-3 times per week) and that I didn’t have to give up my running and my yoga.

I ate more food than I have ever done!  I had to train myself to eat breakfast, which is something I never did previously, and to start with I could not manage the portions in the book and had to halve them.

I found snacks and lunches that would transport to work easily and I said goodbye to alcohol and chocolate.

Sometimes it was really hard but to be honest it became easy and a natural way of eating much more quickly than I thought it would.

I forced myself to eat nuts, something I never did before and now I love almonds and cashews and pecans!

The thing is that the strict “Transform” phase is only temporary.  Nothing is off limits once you are in the lifestyle, nothing is “bad” you just have to get there and then you eat within the circle 80% of the time.

I did the transform phase for 8 weeks and I lost 10.25 lbs and the inches as you see below.  I completed the transform at the end of October, since then I’ve been on a Girls’ Weekend to Berlin, had Christmas parties and Christmas and New Year and so I have been living the lifestyle, stepping in and out of the circle, maybe a bit more out of late, and I am maintaining my weight. I have been surprised by how easy it has been.

Total Loss:

Weight – 10.25 lbs

Arms – 1 inch

Thighs – 1.4 inch

Waist  – 3 inches

Lower Belly – 1 inch

Bum/hips – 2 inches

I haven’t put up my original weight or inches because as I say, everything is relative.  It’s about being the healthiest and happiest version of you and that looks different for everyone.

I don’t want to make someone feel bad, or indeed, make myself feel bad by inviting comparison.  I have never had any children.  I will repeat that.  I have never had any children.  Also, I am 31.

I have always been a healthy weight for my height, I have pretty good self-esteem about the way I look.  Good for me.  I know it isn’t always that way for others.

In this selfie obsessed, instagrammable culture we live in where everyone puts a “filter” on their life and women are held to very high beauty standards it is very hard not to invite comparison and to feel that we are less than if we do not match up to beauty ideals.

The Louise Parker Method has never made me feel less than. 

It has never made me feel bad about the way that I look or the journey that I am on.

The Louise Parker Method is all about you as the individual – the goals you set.  What you want to achieve and how you feel.  It does not set a “standard” for everyone.

It is about nourishing your body, eating good food, learning about yourself and food and making positive changes forever.  I sleep better, my psoriasis had practically disappeared at the end of the transform phase, I have more energy and more confidence.

I would recommend this lifestyle change to anyone because best of all – you don’t become frightened of food.

The recipes are easy and delicious and as long as you prepare for the working week you can totally stick to everything whilst working long hours and commuting.  I feel better than I have in a long time and I am thrilled with my results.  They were right for me and no one else!

If you are looking to make a healthy, permanent change this year then this is a nutritious and healthy way to do that.  The online community over at Instagram is particularly helpful with all the #leanies helping each other out and providing encouragement and support.

Once you have made this part of your lifestyle you won’t want to go back.

If you want to see the type of food I eat – follow me on Instagram where I often post pictures of what I am eating.

 

 

N.B. All opinions are my own and I are based on my own, personal experience.

 

Advent and why I love it

I love Advent, the time leading up to Christmas, specifically the four weeks before, the start of the Church calendar.

I love the anticipation, the excitement, the decorations, doing “christmassy” things like eating too much and drinking mulled wine and eating mince pies and seeing family and friends but I also love it from a Christian perspective and not just a secular one, because it means our Emmanuel – our God with us – is coming.

Christians celebrate the arrival of Jesus’ birth every year, but the four weeks preceeding the main event are very special as we prepare, yet again for his arrival.  Of course Jesus has already arrived but every year we get to remember it again and go into the new year renewed in hope and love.

This year I have prepared by reading “Advent for Everyone” by Tom Wright.  I found it really useful to consider the Gospel of Matthew and learn more about what waiting means for us now.  Tom Wright uses the helpful analogy of a bicycle wheel to think of the church calendar – although we repeat the same things throughout of the year in a cyclical fashion we are not static – a bicycle wheel moves forward and as Christinas that is what we aim for – to grow in understanding and love.

2016 has been hard, hard on the world as a whole and hard on a lot of individuals that I know.  Syria and the news that comes out of there has been devastating, the global refugee crisis with so many displaced, incidents of racism on the rise, homelessness, poverty…it goes on.  It seems as though the scarcity myth has won out in recent times, a lot of people are believing that there isn’t enough to go around; not enough money, not enough love, not enough time, not enough understanding.  They seem to have turned inward, wanting to only help themselves and those that are like them.  The world has seemed very selfish, dark and scary at points this past year.

Advent reminds us to have hope, that the light, the light of the world is coming once again and that actually there is enough in Jesus; enough love, enough patience, enough compassion, enough hope, enough good – to heal us as individuals and to heal the world.

A lot of people mock this idea.  The Church and Christians have got it so wrong for so long.  Examples of Jesus?! Ha.

This is of course true.  Here’s the thing about our God and our Jesus though, they expect us to do better, to learn, to be.  to be the light of the world.  We are given this responsibility to be shining examples of Jesus’ love out in the world.  We are to help bring about God’s kingdom “on earth as it is in heaven”.

This is why I love Advent, because every year we have the opportunity to wait, to think, to learn, to grow.

Hope, joy and peace to all humankind.

A present day history lesson

Earlier this month I travelled to Berlin, Germany, with some of my girlfriends for what is becoming, an annual weekend away to places beginning with “B”…last year was Bath, perhaps next year will be Budapest or Barcelona?!

I have only been to Germany once before to stay with a friend of mine who lives and works out there but in a very “English” area.  What I saw of Germany on that trip, I loved.  The people were very friendly and services were efficient (I expected no less).  I hadn’t really had time to research Berlin before we departed (shameful I know) I was relying on all of my co travellers who had been at least once before to show me the city in short weekend there.

We arrived on the Friday and were staying at a great hotel which was super clean and reasonable near to Alexanderplatz which is good for shopping and for getting around Berlin.  On the Friday night we checked in and went for a stroll around before going to eat dinner at a restaurant serving traditional German fare.  We saw the World Clock on our stroll and wherever you are, you can’t miss the TV tower which dominates the Berlin skyline.

On the Saturday we did a lot of walking, we first went to the Ritter Sport store where we had a go at designing our own chocolate bar – mine had ginerbread, biscuit pieces and gold stars and I can confirm it tasted exceptional.  We then had kaffee and kuchen, that favourite of German traditions in the Rittersport cafe before continuing our walk taking in the sights at Checkpoint Charlie, where we had our pictures taken in a traditional photo booth – squeezing in the four of us was quite the challenge! and then on to the Reichstag building and the Brandenburg Gate via the hollocaust memorial.

 

It then absolutely chucked it down so we ecided to spend the evening close to our hotel, although we had been planning a trip for cocktails at the Monkey Bar which we had heard a great deal about but due to the weather, sadly didn’t make it there.  Instead we took in the sights of the Galleria food hall and had a picnic in our room before taking a team photo in our Berlin jumpers, purchased from Primark.  Natch.

On the Sunday morning we had time to take in the sights of the East Side Gallery  which has the beautifully preserved mosaics from the Wall displayed in the open, before getting our flight home.

Berlin is wonderfully fun and it is a walking history lesson.  Every corner seems to have a bit of history pointing out to us humans where we have gone so wrong in the past.  It was particularly poignant that just four days after our trip the results of the American election were in and it appears that the world is once again going backwards and not forwards.

In times like these I take hope in messages like this one on the Berlin Wall:

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“Many small people who in many small places do many small things that can alter the face of the world”.

It may feel like what we do as individulas doesn’t matter, but I am a firm believer that we were created to be kind and loving souls and that throughout histroy people have tried their best to love eachother.  Let’s all do our bit to be the kind, loving individuals that we were made to be.  Let’s stand up for people who might feel scared at this particular time – let’s do that by speaking out and showing our love.  Don’t be silent in the face of hatred – do.  Make the world better, kinder, more loving and start with the people next to you, the ones you come in to contact with.  Challenge racisim or sexism or any other kind of ignorance you come in to contact with and show the world that Love Wins.