Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Hello, I am Debbie, or Deb, or Debra - I answer to all of them. I live with Philip, my husband of one month and my almost 20 year old son, Joseph. We have a tiny little house, not much more than two up and two down, on the edge of London, England.

I love my little house. It needs decorating, and it is cluttered up with too much stuff, but for many years Joe and I lived in a flat, and I longed for such exotic pleasures as being able to have a proper washing line to dry the laundry on outside and to grow sweet peas, my favourite flower. Joe longed for a house because I had promised him a dog if we moved, so we also share our house with Star, his black Labrador.

I can sign, and for a few years I worked with Deaf children, but in January 2010 I had to stop working due to illness and a few months later I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. CFS affects many aspects of my life, but I try not to let it limit me too much and I hope eventually to recover. It does mean I have had to slow down a lot, and I can't do as much as I would like to.

I was a single parent for seventeen years, since before Joe was born. Parenting alone was very hard at times and sometimes isolating, but also very rewarding. Just to make life even more challenging, I educated Joe at home from the age of eleven. It was daunting at first but turned out to be very enjoyable for both of us. Joe and I have always been very close. When I was 40, I found Philip and later that year, he came to share our home. I am so lucky that Philip and Joe get on together very well and Philip treats Joe as his own. On 23rd April this year we were married and Joe was my Man of Honour.

I am the oldest of two children, my brother is four years younger than me. He lives just a few minutes away, as do my parents. We are a close family and see quite a lot of each other. I also have extended family, aunt, cousins, grandparents, all within less than 45 minutes drive away. We have always lived in this area, though I have longed to get away for as long as I can remember. When I was young I used to want to live in the hustle and bustle of the City, and now I am older I would like to live closer to the countryside, but not necessarily in it! I know myself well enough to realise I need things to do, nice restaurants and decent public transport.

I do indeed still have my list of dreams handy, Jen! I remember when we were doing the Mondo Beyondo course and were asked to write our dreams down, I found it very difficult to do. It took me days to write. Having been a single parent and not having not had much money for many years, I always tried to make a point of not coveting what I thought I would never have. I wouldn't look at houses in estate agents' windows, or browse in furniture stores, I wouldn't even watch holiday programmes on the television. I just got on with life, cleaning, cooking, bringing up Joe, home educating him, I had not even thought about what I might like to do, and found it very hard when asked to 'dream' on paper. I didn't feel that I had any dreams. I certainly didn't really have any big ones.

I did come up with a small list of little dreams eventually, and was looking at it just the other day. Some of them are starting to happen. I know some of yours are, too! It's amazing how once an intention is set, things seemingly start to percolate away by themselves.

One of the things on my list was to start a blog, which I did some months ago now. That was a big enough leap for me, I didn't dream that we would be starting another one together now, and I am really looking forward to seeing where it takes us!

Monday, May 30, 2011

hello, from me.

hello.  it's me.  jennifer.  here's a little about me to begin.

I was born in a rural small town in Maryland on the East coast of the United States.  I live in that same town right now about twenty minutes from my childhood home.  I am the oldest child of three.

I don't have a specifically big family, but we are all right here so sometimes it seems that way.  I love my family more than anything in this whole wide world.   Family=Love.   It means so much to me to be able to sit on my mother's porch, drink a glass of wine with my brother and sister and laugh the night away in the place I started to become.  I live on the land of my Great-Grandparents, right next to my Grandparents, who I have had a close bond with since I was just a wee thing.  It was in this place that my Grandfather chased me around the yard with his camera and my Grandmother rocked me in her rocker, patting me on the back and singing to me.  And it is here in this place that I chase my children (and sometimes sneak up on the same Grandfather) with my camera, and where I hush my girls to calm.  Still to this day, sometimes I want to sneak into my Grandfather's old dark room or walk up the path, climb on my 80 year old Grandmother's lap and have her pat me on the back and sing to me on a really bad day. I make do with sneaking down the path from her house with a slice of homemade pumpkin pie.

It is a house of girls here where I live.  Even the dog, the cat and the rabbit are female.  But really it's the place I make home with my two girls (Emily, age 10 and Karelyn, age 8).  I became divorced in 2007 after almost eleven years of marriage.  My ex-husband battled addiction based on medical problems.  In 2006 we pretty much lost everything, and well, I started over.   Alone.  Well, not really alone, because there are the girls, and then of course, there's that family I was just talking about.

Getting divorced, changed my life.  I was miserable and defeated in that marriage, battling to overcome an addiction that held onto him stronger than I could.  I battled myself with depression and anxiety.  I never in a million years imagined I would be raising two children by myself.  In ways it's not so hard as I was scared it was going to be, but it's so hard some days I lock myself in the bathroom for a good cry.  My girls mean everything to me and sometimes it's hard to give them everything I think they deserve.

The year after I left the marriage I picked up my camera.  Then in another year, I got a bigger, nicer, camera.  Now it's hard to find me without my camera.  I think my camera has given me a different look at the world and also of myself (see goofy self-portrait above).  Shooting photos and writing my thoughts down are my therapy and my passion.

I have a lot of hopes and a lot of dreams.  Sometimes I get so filled up with them I think I might float away in excitement.  Other times the thought of reaching them makes me want to run in the other room and hide away.  I am a true Pisces (though not a huge believer in Astrology) in that I get really, really excited about ideas and projects and then turn tracks halfway when some other sparkly idea catches my eye making me run off and start another route.  I am apparently a great "starter of things".  I am hoping to become a better "finisher of things".

When we met we made a list of hopes and dreams.  Do you remember?  It was last year.  Do you still have yours handy?  I want to go back now and revisit what your dreams were so that I remember.  I want to write about them now, but feel it would best be posted another day.   I do know that I am glad that our dreams brought us together this way and we get the opportunity to take this journey together.