The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

Here it is!

I wrote in my blog post yesterday that I would share my cover version of the Randy Crawford classic “Almaz” so here it is…

https://youtu.be/G89N3onMDJY

I’m both excited and nervous about sharing this, there is something a little scary about putting yourself out there but I love singing and I just wanted to share this beautiful song. I really hope you enjoy it.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles ✨

Happy New Year 2018

I hope that you all enjoyed Christmas time immensely. Yes it is busier than busy, we are stressed out shopping, wrapping gifts, visiting friends and family or having them visit us, school plays, pantomime’s, cooking…the list goes on.

Ours was a quiet Christmas. Family came for the usual “Fizz and Nibbles” on Christmas Day which is a busy, funny, crazy few hours when our usually quiet house comes to life and it is wonderful. Mom and Dad loved having the family around, catching up, singing songs and everyone talking at once. Mom coped very well with it all, took it in her stride. From 4 pm onwards it was back to us three, I cooked dinner and we settled down to watch the Christmas Irish Music shows.

Over the week we’ve had some visitors, my b/f made it over for the New Year and things were slow and steady. Two all nighters which isn’t bad going at all. We didn’t get to open our gifts until New Years Eve, Mom just wasn’t interested at all which both surprised me and made me feel so sad. Mom always so enjoyed opening the gifts in the past. One gift I bought them was two calendars; one from Knock Shrine and one Nathan Carter. Well, Mom took a lot of interest in the Nathan Carter calendar which was very funny, she just wouldn’t put it down. He is one of our favourite singers, it was so sweet to watch her with her calendar.

I’m quite happy to stay in on New Years Eve, I’m not too bothered about staying up until midnight although we did this year as my b/f was with us. I do love January. Winter in all its glory. The evenings start to get a little lighter as each week passes. The promise of the year ahead, opportunities, challenges, plans, dreams…it’s as if we feel we can make anything happen if we just put our mind to it now we are in the New Year…and we can.

I wish you a fabulously happy 2018, full of health, love, peace and sparkles galore.

Picture via Pinterest

I bet you can’t guess what one of my gifts was? Oh yes he was in the bad books!

He did redeem himself somewhat when I opened this…I love Nashville.

My cousin and I being silly on Snapchat. Laughing is such a good feeling.

I was after some flat ballerina pumps and ended up with these. Not practical at all, not sure I can walk in them but I couldn’t resist the sparkle. Oh well, they were extremely reasonably priced and sometimes you just have to let your inner sparkle take charge.

Happy New Year Everyone 🌟

Life Sparkles ✨

Ramblings.

Once again it has been a while. Far too long in fact. It has been so busy but then when isn’t it busy?!! The amount of times I’ve sat down with the intention of updating my blog, of posting the latest thoughts, happenings and general day to day of life and yet for one reason or another it just doesn’t happen.

After my “Leap of Faith” blog post about giving up the day job to care full time for my parents, things took a decidedly, let’s say “unfriendly”, “unsympathetic” turn with my manager at work and I experienced a very stressful, pressured and upsetting three weeks during May. After a fight back from me, things during my notice period have settled back and my final working day is Friday 30th June.

I have mixed feelings about this. After all, it is the end of an era for me, the end of the “day job”, the end, for now, of my career as a “City Chick” in the corporate world. Yet there is something quite liberating about this change. I thought I would feel sadness at training someone to do my role and handover tasks and I haven’t at all, I’ve enjoyed doing it. Time to hand the baton on so to speak. 

I’m enjoying looking after my parents, being “Mom”, although I’d much prefer not to be having to do this, this is where I am, I love them and I’m going to be as positive as I can about my new chapter in life with them and caring for them. Thankfully we are still at a stage where I can have a little me time to spend on my music, more studies, a little voluntary work from home and yes blogging, expect to see lots more blogging!

This particular post was supposed to be me, owning up that I had fallen back into awful unhealthy eating habits as I recovered post op and how with the hot weather this week I had redeemed myself…that one will have to wait for another day, soon…I promise, soon.

So I’ll say bye for now with a photo of my hanging basket which I am so proud of. Not known for my green finger prowess I cannot believe I managed to grow this from scratch. I might make a domestic goddess of myself yet!!

© @aurorasparkles 2017 🌟

Life Sparkles ✨

My Week!

Well last week was a busy one indeed. Some days just don’t go to plan so perhaps I should forget the plans, go with the flow and just do what I can, when I can. If only!!

So many things happened, the start of Advent, I absolutely love this magical season. Christmas has well and truly arrived in my City and it is just wonderful to see it alive with hustle and bustle and Christmas preparations. I mentioned that to someone in the office last Friday afternoon and they said they found it to be “typical Friday lunchtime stress and angst”. It’s all about perception I guess.

Here are a few photo’s from the past week. It hasn’t been without the usual caring woes which have stepped up somewhat as we are now in “Sundown” season. Sometimes you just have to bow your head, pray and weather the storm until your sparkle returns. 

Life Sparkles ✨

Caring, Anxiety and Me.

Prolonged anxiety is something new to me.  In the past, like most people, I have suffered anxiousness at various times; pre exam nerves, driving test nerves, medical emergencies within the family nerves and let us not forget first date nerves!!  We all encounter bouts of stress and anxiety at times of our lives.

However, now that I am caring for both of my parents, anxiety is something I live with daily. Dad has physical health issues; heart, chronic debilitating arthritis and oedema are the main attackers.  Mom is so healthy it is untrue thank God but Mom’s issues are cognitive degeneration and sundowning.  Both fall under the umbrella of dementia but do not receive a diagnosis of dementia because they are very different and don’t fit the usual symptoms.

Today, post World Mental Health Day, it is my own mental health that I am aware of. I know the real me is in there somewhere, frantically struggling to stay afloat and keep my sparkle alive but it is so easy to just get swamped, to fall into the blackness of the stress, anxiety, dare I say depression that comes with continuous care for loved ones whilst also trying to keep your own life afloat.

I now see the important of finding time for me, to do things that I like to do, to be me, to feel alive no matter what the anxiety is doing to me.  Himself, worries for me, my friends worry for me.  Yet I feel that I am acting in my usual scatty, day dreaming, mad ideas kind of way – of course they see “me”, the changes in my personality because I am worrying, because I don’t know when there will be a sudden mood swing to deal with, because I don’t know when Mom will decide she is not going to bed and I am awake all night with  her. Everything can change in a second here at home and I am learning to adapt to the changes. To deal with doing tasks at perhaps what wouldn’t be considered the usual time for housework, for cooking, for logging into the day job – overnight, for studying whenever there is time.  I take pleasure in half an hour of me time in a coffee shop. An evening out with himself, who has his own caring responsibilities, is very rare but when we get them, they are treasured.  Both of us now feel our time together is precious and no longer take it for granted.  We can easily go three to four weeks without seeing each other but we understand our commitments to home.

Understanding is very important, understanding of the people we care for, understanding of adapting our lives, understanding friends who accept that you may need to cancel plans at short notice.

My anxiety manifests as tightness in the chest, dizziness, slowness of speech and movement in extreme moments of stress.  I find a walk in the fresh air helps whatever the weather.  I have taken up running again, in all weathers and although I hate it when I start off, the sense of achievement for even ten minutes of running is amazing, I feel good, I am alone, I can make sense of my world.

As you know, I love my singing and I escape the real world when I start to sing. However my anxiety has affected my ability to remember lyrics and I quite often go wrong when I am singing a song…but I persevere, it is almost as if I am having a quiet war with my anxiety. I will overcome the memory issue and sing out the whole song without prompting.  I have ambitions for my singing and I find these ambitions help to keep me strong, to have something to focus on outside of caring, a dream, a wish, a promise to myself.

Life changes, each day is a blessing and each day brings it’s own struggles, it’s own happiness and it’s own sparkle and whatever happens, we must try and keep our sparkle alive, even if it is more of a twinkle some days.

Thank you for reading my blog and sharing my thoughts.

look-for-the-positive-vibes

 

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 ✨

Beautiful Life.

I’m up late tonight caring for my Dad whose health has taken a bad turn in the last week. Mom has had three episodes of “Sundowning” in the past week which is unusual. It has meant four nights without sleep…tired doesn’t cover how I’m feeling along with sad, helpless, stressed and yet there is a positive, still, patient glow within and around me. A sparkle which reminds me how precious, wonderful and beautiful life is.


Love always, spread kindness and ignite the sparkle in others so that they too can feel and experience this beautiful life.

Picture via Pinterest.

Sleep well 😴

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

Life Sparkles ✨

Race for Life!

It has been a while since I found some time to update my blog.  Like everyone, life has its busy times; home, work, study, hobbies it has been a very busy period all in all.

Thankfully the studies are over for now.  The exam was pants (don’t ask), three more weeks until the results, I am expecting a re-sit on this one.  I take heart that the majority of people on the course also felt the same over the questions set. Fingers crossed I might just have done enough to get through.

Life continues very much the same on the home front, we have good days and not so good days.  We have great days and some terrible days but such is life and you just have to get on with it.  I can be very tired for days and other days full of energy. On the whole, things have been much easier of late, I’ve put this down to the long Summer days and the lovely bright days, even if we aren’t getting what you would call long, hot, Summer days…I still live in hope for some of those during July and August.

I am pleased to report that I completed the 9 week Couch to 5K podcast and I cannot express how pleased I am with myself that I can run for 30 minutes.  What an achievement when in February I couldn’t run for 30 seconds.  Yesterday I completed the 5K Race for Life for Cancer Research.  I am so proud of my medal.  It was a fabulous experience, 2284 women, all in various states of Pink either walking or running 5K.  A minute of silence was held before the race started and it was very emotional, I could feel tears in my eyes thinking about the reasons we were all there, raising money for such a worthwhile cause. Really, is there any family untouched by Cancer of some sort?

I intend to keep up the running, I do have a love/hate relationship with it.  It is an effort to get ready to go out after a day at work and it is an even bigger effort to start running whilst you are out there.  But you know, once you get going, you feel so good, the music plays from the iPod, the wind blows, the sun may shine, it may even rain on you but that feeling of wellbeing, freedom in the mind, exhaustion and yes a few aches, is unbeatable.  Sometimes you just need that half hour to escape the real world.

Here are a couple of pictures of me from the Race for Life yesterday.

 

Thank you for reading my Blog. I hope to be updating it on a much more regular basis from now on 🙂