Life Sparkles ✨

Hopes and Dreams

Get Ready…Go!

I appear to be full of hopes, dreams and plans for this new year ahead. I have such a positive vibe going on as I write this blog. I have my down days, where the memories fall out of my eyes and down my cheeks. January is now a tough month for me as much as I enjoy the month itself. This year it will be two years since my Daddy passed and I still relive various days over and over. Yet this year, amongst the sadness there is a huge appreciation of the blessings I had with my parents and gratitude for everything they gave me especially my independent spirit and ability to see things through.

So this year, lets see what I can make happen, what I can manifest and how much sparkle I can share. There will be good days, bad days and days that truly shine. We really are never too old to follow a dream, to take a chance, to grab and opportunity. Here’s to an amazing 2021 to us all, a year of hope, togetherness and moving on.

Winter clouds, moving on.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles ✨

Changes.

Recently I have read Blogs, Facebook posts and Tweets which all have a similar theme. Change. People are changing. People are swapping their day job, career, lifestyle in order to follow their dream, their passion, to follow what they feel within is their destiny. I felt in awe of these people. They weren’t randomly throwing caution to the wind and resigning right, left and centre. They had thought hard about this decision. Had followed up training courses, downsized their homes as they would no longer be earning as before and as well as feeling excited about the new page in their life, they felt scared too, which was also kind of exciting.

I started to think about me. My job, my hopes and dreams, my life. Other people were making the changes they wanted to, what was stopping me? And then the answer arrived. Me!!! I am stopping me. I’m in my comfort zone with my day job, I like it, I’d go as far as to say I enjoy it but do I still want to be doing it in five years time? Three years time? One year from now?

So, whilst I am in post operative recovery mode, I have a lot of thinking to do.  What do I really want to do and how am I going to make this happen? I’m beginning to think this enforced rest has been sent to me in order to take time to reflect. There are some things about my life I cannot change but there are other aspects that I can change. I’m lacking in the confidence to spread my wings and fly some of those dreams for myself, and that needs to change.

Until the next time…


Picture via Pinterest

The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

Sunday Evening Country Music.

As you know I love to sing and I enjoy going to gigs to see my favourite singers, especially of the Irish Country kind. Music is an escape for me. It takes me into another world. I love singing the songs I remember from childhood and also new songs which I hear and have to make a note of immediately in case I forget them. I have a list on my iPad of songs to learn, songs to put my own mark on, to play around with how I can sing them. My head is always full of music, songs, dreams…

Last Sunday evening I was lucky enough to attend a wonderful concert. “Stars of Irish Country”. It was a fabulous evening. From long time singers such as John Hogan and Frank McCaffrey to a Queen of Irish Country, Louise Morrissey to the up and coming talents of Lee Matthews and Tracey Macauley. They were brilliant. From hits from the past to new material, engaging the audience, including the audience and singing their hearts out. The backing band “Keltic Storm” are awesome musicians and complimented the artists perfectly.

During the interval and after the show we had the opportunity to meet the stars and purchase their CD’s. I have waited two years for Lee Matthews to visit England and I wasn’t disappointed. A truly lovely lad who can really sing and entertain. He’ll surely go places. Meeting John Hogan was a delight, a favourite of my parents he is a true gentleman and with a unique voice. I can still hear him singing “Please help me I’m falling, in love with you”, in my head, just beautiful.

I was so happy to meet Louise Morrissey again. It has been a very long time since we met and she was still singing with her brothers then. A pitch perfect voice with such clarity and power, an inspiration. 

It was the sort of evening you just want to relive over and over again, a rare evening out for me these days and a very happy one.  If you get a chance, check some of their video’s out on You Tube.

A few pictures below of the evening.

Life Sparkles ✨

And so today…

And so today, there is time.  Time to write, time to think and time to reflect.  Life is good, overall, life is great.  Life is a beautiful blessing.  There are so many choices, opportunities and chances to take.  Do we let fear hold us back?

So what if we fail – at least we had a go and that’s a whole lot more than a lot of people do. We won’t be sitting there in twenty, thirty or more years thinking “Oh how I wish I had done that when I had the chance”.  There is always the possibility that you will succeed but you won’t know until you try.

What are we afraid of I wonder?  Failure or success?  Success could be life changing and isn’t that what following your dreams is all about?  Not just following those dreams but allowing them to fly, to live, to breathe.

Life is not without it’s challengers, hard times, I know this.  But when you get the chance, even the smallest of opportunities, grab them, work on those dreams, plans and talents. Remember, you were meant to Sparkle and squeeze everything you can out of the precious life you have been given.

Have a happy Saturday and thank you for reading my blog.

risk

 

Life Sparkles ✨

Challenges, Choices, Changes.

Over the past two weeks I have had many thoughts about things I want to blog about but time was against me. I just couldn’t seem to get a few minutes to write anything down. My caring responsibilities were increased and out of thirteen nights, I have had eight that I didn’t get to lie down in bed to sleep. Events that I had planned both at home and outside of home were either cancelled or just did not turn out as planned, but such is life.

I’m a positive person, I can always pick myself up but I think lack of sleep affected me and I just could not get that sparkle ignited. Being in the house for three weeks with very little movement into the outside world did not help either. The last three weeks have proved to me that life is full of challenges, changes and choices. I already knew this of course but sometimes these things just hit you from nowhere and really make you think.

Caring for two elderly parents, working, studying, looking after the home and making time for me is full of challenges. I’m choosing to see these as opportunities. Opportunities for better care for my parents, opportunities to change my working life and follow some dreams. These opportunities will mean I have to make some choices and make some changes. I’m ready for that. It is scary. It is also exciting. 

Today I got my running shoes on and went for a small run. I have ran only once since I completed the Couch to 5k race six weeks ago. It felt good. I felt I had energy today, the first time in weeks. 


My Guitar arrived last week, it is beautiful. I have located a music school nearby who I will contact about lessons.


I have found through my caring role that it is very important for me to look after myself too and to do things that make me happy. This is a huge benefit to my parents as it means I am not totally stressed out all the time. A little selfish me time is important for everyone.

I have asked at work if I can work three days a week and they have agreed to a three month trial which starts this week. This will of course reduce my income but the balance of this is additional time with my parents, time to do things with them, for them and for me too!

Challenges, choices and changes…sometimes you just have to jump in.


Picture via Pinterest. 

Life Sparkles ✨

In the quiet…

In the quiet of the early morning, before the day gets started, I find myself reflecting on the day ahead and thinking of the days that are gone.  It is unusual for me to have time for these few minutes of thought. Usually Mom is up very early as the morning’s are so bright, she thinks it is much later in the day and therefore I too must get up. At 4 am it can seem like a very long day ahead, especially when I have to attend to the day job a few hours later and it will possibly be 11 pm or later when I finally get into bed. 

Although it is early July and this morning the sun streams beautifully through the window, there is a feel of Autumn about the day. There isn’t any of the heat of Summer, the morning has a look of late September. I hear Mom walking around her room and I’m wondering if I will soon have to start the day; preparing breakfast, putting on some music, awaiting Dad getting up to join us in the kitchen which will enable me to get a few tasks done.

I’m lucky in that I can go out, see himself when he too is not caring for his Mother, catch up with my friends or perhaps attend a gig or event.  Often I am called home from these small snatches of release as either Dad just can’t cope with the day or with Mom if she has a “Sundowning” moment.  Not having great health himself, I’ve noticed Dad has become more frail and is less able to deal with things, which leaves me to step in to ensure all is covered.

So, in the quiet of the day, when I get a few minutes to myself I wonder. I wonder should I give up the day job? Stay at home more? Throw myself into my dream of singing; playing the guitar and completing my studies?  I wonder about the people like me, some with families of their own, trying to look after their parents or care for other members of the family, friends or neighbours whilst also trying to keep their own life on the go and enjoy some down time. 

I’ve had thoughts recently about setting up a FB page for Carers, to inject some positive sparkle into their day. What do people do to keep their sparkle alive in the toughest of conditions? How do they release the stress? What has happened to their hopes and dreams? 

In the quiet of the day…our minds are perhaps not very quiet at all.

Thank you for reading my blog 😎


Picture via Pinterest

The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

Musical Dreams and Keeping it Country.

Recently I have been lucky enough to attend the gigs of three of my favourite Irish singers, John McNicholl, Nathan Carter and Derek Ryan. I grew up listening to Irish country music, Mam says I was trying to sing long before I could talk and used to pull myself up in my cot to wiggle to the music, long before I could walk. My uncle was in an Irish Showband and after playing in Birmingham on the night of my christening, the whole band arrived at my parents flat and played all night. 

I was always singing around our home, my parents used to ask why I couldn’t learn my schoolwork like I could learn the top twenty. I suppose I just loved songs and singing. Visiting my family in Tipperary as a teenager, my cousin and I were allowed to the dancehall in Dundrum to see the Irish Showbands on a Friday night. Tony Kenny, Red Hurley and my absolute favourites, Gina, Dale Haze and The Champions.  Once home I would pretend I was Gina, I sang to their records, bought a tambourine like Gina and our lounge was my stage.

  
When I was 19 an Irish music promoter telephoned to call me for an audition but my parents didn’t tell me, for three years!!! I was mad as hell but looking back I can see they were looking out for a very niave young girl.

As life moved on, I grew away from my roots and started to go clubbing, I loved dance music and dancing but I hardly ever sang. I lost touch with the top twenty, with my roots, my culture. Life was work, work, work and dance music. Dancing on a Friday night released the stress and pressure of the week. Housework was done to dance music, that trance beat had an euphoric affect on me and still does. A little bit of Swedish House Mafia is good for the soul.

Three years ago I joined the choir at Mass. I love it, it has compleltely enriched going to Mass for me. I always enjoyed singing the hymns but being part of the choir is just awesome. Around the same time, Mom was reading the Irish paper and seen John McNicholl so we decided to look him up on YouTube. Within a flash I was right back to my roots, I think it was lying asleep, like Sleeping Beauty, ready to be awakened by a handsome man, John McNicholl was that man!!

From there we discovered the other new, exciting and fabulous singers and now we listen to Irish Country Music all the time. We watch Irish Country Music shows on TV and when I can I attend the dances and concerts when our favourites are in town.

Last year I decided to have some vocal coaching, to see if I do actually have a voice. I love it!! I love it with a passion. Singing and songs have again taken over my mind and with life as it is currently, this is a huge escape from the anxieties, stresses and worries of the day. I have learnt so much about pitching, resonance, different voices, breathing…I am once again dreaming of being on that stage singing my heart out.

Below are some pictures of me with my gorgeous Irish music stars, I think you’ll guess my favourite 😉 Look their music up on You Tube, they are so talented, each different to the other and all brilliant.

Thank you for reading my blog 😀

   
Derek Ryan.

 
John McNicholl.

  
Nathan Carter.

  
Making dreams come true 💖