Compassion Sunday

Today I want to introduce you to two special members of my family.

Nyiranzayakira and Diana.

I may have never met these beautiful girls but they are my family.

They both have special places in my heart and are always in my prayers.

As a family we sponsor both with the charity Compassion UK

I have mentioned Compassion UK here on my blog before but as today is Compassion Sunday I really wanted to share with you the heart of the charity.

 

The children

 

We first started sponsoring Nyiranzayakira about 5 years ago.

My youngest daughter Brodie just felt she was the one for us from the profiles we got to view.

Nyiranzayakira is now 11 years old and she comes from Rwanda.

 

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She loves to learn and help take care of her family.

 

Diana is 5 and from Tanzania.

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She loves to colour and play.

 

We choose Diana for a very special reason.

Diana was born on the day we lost Livvy.

By sponsoring Diana we hope to give life when one was lost.

 

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Sponsoring these girls has been true gift for us as family.

We love receiving letters and learning about their lives.

Reading about school and how their families are.

 

Compassion UK are a wonderful charity they work through local churches in poor communities around the world to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Programme is the heart of Compassion’s ministry to children living in poverty. It aims to disciple, equip and enable children to develop into fulfilled and responsible adults.

We are so blessed to sponsor these two beautiful girls and having them both in our lives has really enriched them.

Reading and watching these girls flourish has impacted on us as a family.

We value the little things so much more.

I ask you today to consider sponsoring a child with Compassion UK.

For £25 per month you can transform a life of a child.

 

Tell a child today that you are here for them.

 

No slowing down

Last night my dream was so vivid that it felt so very real.

I was curled up on the sofa and under my arm with her head in my lap was Olivia.

Just lying there giving me a sweet cuddle.

I woke with tears rolling down my face.

An emptiness in my heart.

I just wanted to go back to sleep and just hold her one more time.

To stroke her soft cheek.

To play with her sweet curls.

Rett syndrome has robbed me of moments like this.

It took away my child.

While this dream did make me cry it’s also made me more determined.

Determined to really push the #nomoreemptyarms campaign.

To encourage parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters.

Aunties ,uncles, friends

To all give each other a hug whilst taking a photo and uploading with the hashtag #nomoreemptyarms.

To take a moment to make a memory.

To encourage people to learn about Rett syndrome and what it takes from our children.

We may be half way through October the month of awareness for Rett Syndrome.

But there will be no slowing down.

In fact I’m going to drive hard to make these last weeks really make a difference.

Going to push forward so that Rett Syndrome gets the awareness it so needs.

For people to understand, to learn.

To support.

Let’s do this.

Let’s say no to Rett Syndrome.

#nomoreemptyarms

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There is hope.

What a week and its only Wednesday!

I feel as if I have been living a lifetime over these last few days.

I have witnesses some of life’s incredible beauty but also some of life’s devastating darkness.

Wearing my heart on my sleeve often leaves me vulnerable.

My openness to love at all times has also left me exposed for negativity and pain.

 

Still I see life as a gift, a privilege.

So its from this perspective I want to say this.

 

Remember that everyone of us has their own pathway to walk.

Sometimes that path will lead to cross roads,roundabouts and dead-ends.

No one will ever really understand the journey of another.

Shared experiences can and will be different.

Determined by the understanding of the personal heart and mind.

We have to embrace our differences and celebrate each other for who they are.

Live life lifting people up.

Not tearing them down.

 

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As human’s we need to socialise, we need to bond and form relationships.

Its the essence of our humanity.

But sometimes its these very relationships that can lead to the destruction of the human psyche.

 

Having someone in your life is a honour.

The value of a friend is priceless.

The gift of a child.

The love of a partner.

Your heart feels alive with the joy of connection.

 

But honour comes with responsibility.

The commitment should always be about being the light in the life of another.

Be the best friend you can possibly be.

Strive to be the greatest of parents.

The most attentive of partners.

 

Yet lets take this dedication and commitment one step further.

Smile at people on your train.

Thank you barista for their service.

Hold the door for the one behind you.

Accept the point of view of another.

Forgive your enemies.

 

The world is simply falling apart.

The media is full of the horror that is happening in our world today.

War, terrorism, genocide,

Illness, diseases and death.

But we do have hope.

 

That hope is found in our essence of connection.

As I said before its not always easy wearing my heart on my sleeve.

But it gives me freedom.

Freedom to hope

Freedom to have faith.

Faith that compassion and empathy will win the battle of hearts.

That indifference and hate will lose.

 

Because if as human beings we honour and respect each other.

Our spirits our humanity will over come all.

 

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A work of art.

If you have read my blog before you will know that I’m a lover of tattoos.

The whole art form has me truly excited.

Two years ago I travelled to the Tattoo Jam to check out my narrowed down list of tattoo artists who i was consider asking  to tattoo my portrait of Olivia and fell in love with Przemyslaw Malachowski from The Dragons Den Studio  in Blackpool straight away.

The talent of this man is truly beyond words.

My portrait of Livvy is amazing and so many people stop me to admire it.

I just love that it captures her essence.

So of course when I had my next major piece of art planned Przemyslaw was the man I wanted to do it.

For me having a tattoo is a really personal thing you have to trust the artist with your body.

There are no do overs. 

So when you find a tattoo artist you trust you are truly lucky.

So on Sunday I found myself in the car starting my two hour journey to the Tattoo Jam.

What can I say.

I think the art speaks for me.

Mary tattoo

It’s truly stunning.

Again Przemyslaw took my vision and turned it into a piece beyond my wildest dreams.

This piece is so important to me.

It’s my faith.

In my heart on my sleeve.

I love it.

Thank you again Przemyslaw for my amazing art and thank you again for being such a genuine guy.

Until the next time.

xxxxx

Dragons den

Fostering Network Conference

Last week I attended the Fostering Network Conference in London held in the beautiful surroundings of the BMA House in Tavistock Square.

The conference was open to anyone work worked within the field including, foster carers, social workers, senior management and policy makers.

The theme of the conference was the “Future of Foster Care” and each speaker brought their own interpretation of what this means from their own perspectives and fields.

I cannot fit into one post all that I took away from this conference but what I do really want to share firstly is what I felt was at the heart of the day.

“The children.”

Regardless of which field the speakers came from the core overview was that the needs of the child should always be in the forefront of every decision made and every piece of policy written.

No matter how many professionals involved in a child’s life we should always remember we are the “team around the child”.

The need for a child to be listened to and their views taken into consideration at all times was paramount.

This point was reiterated when we heard from three care leavers who bravely and elegantly shared their care experiences with us.

Each one spoke about the loss of control of their own lives being a hard thing to accept. Whilst they accepted that some decisions needed to be taken by professionals the desire to be consulted, informed was extremely important to them.

They just wanted to be heard.

One explained that for him this was especially important regarding contact and information regarding his birth family. He understood that seeing his birth mother was not a positive thing for him but he still wanted to know about her and who she was.

‘By understanding my mom’s journey I was able to move forward with my own’.

As foster carers we are the ones there with the children every day. This conference was a great reminder that we really need listen to the children but also how important it is for us to advocate for the children with other professionals.

We are their voices and their advocates and this is something we need to be extremely pro-active in doing.

 

 

You can find this blog and others written by me over at Foster with Progress Care 

Work and Play

I’m sure I’m not alone when i say that around this time of year money becomes tight and I although I do need to buy clothes  I want to be making sure I get value and versatility for my money.

This is why I love the challenge of taking one dress and accessorising it for different occasions.

So I choose a dress from the range at George Asda and I want to show how adaptable one key piece can be.

 

I took this dress

 

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and styled it for work.

 

 

 

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and play.

 

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I just love how some accessories and different shoes can change one dress into two very different styles.

 

This dress and all the accessories shown are available now from George at Asda 

 

 

 

•This is a sponsored post but all opinions and ideas are my own.

 

#Nomoreemptyarms

What a weekend!

On Friday I started a campaign called #nomoreemptyarms.

It was a way of raising awareness for Rett Syndrome

I was hoping that it would stir the hearts of everyone, everywhere.

I asked people to take a photo with their loved one in their arms and upload it to social media sites with the hashtag

#nomoreemptyarms.

I wanted to hit home what Rett Syndrome can take from people.

What it had taken from me.

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I have been overwhelmed by the response.

All over the world people have joined in.

I am so excited.

I think we can take this even further.

October has 31 days let’s make each one of these days count.

Let’s get #nomoreemptyarms trending on all sites.

Share posts with all your family, friends, co-workers,

Tweet celebrities, journalists, pop stars, MP’s everyone.

Let’s bring the fight to Rett syndrome and say #nomoreemptyarms

My arms are empty but this weekend my heart has been overflowing.

Thank you all so much xxx

No more empty arms

I’m been thinking a lot about the fact that it’s Rett Syndrome awareness month.

Thinking about what it is we actually want to achieve.

Fundraising – yes

Awareness of the syndrome – Yes

Yet for me I want something more.

I want no mother and father to face the pain Alan and I have had too.

I want no brother or sister to cry themselves to sleep missing their sister.

Grandparents heartbroken.

I want no more empty arms.

So I decided that this month this is what I wanted to focus on.

Raising awareness and fundraising so that no mother or father is left with empty arms.

Rett Syndrome means I will never hold my daughter again.

So I’m challenging you all to help me raise awareness of this devastating condition.

Please take a photo of your child in you arms and upload it to your social media sites with the hashtag #nomoreemptyarms

Join me in raising awareness for Rett Syndrome.

Join me in stopping the pain.

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Also if you wish please consider donating to one of the Rett Syndrome charities.

Reverse Rett

Cure Rett

Or Via Olivia’s Page @ Girl Power 2 Cure . -

So it’s October

So today is the start of October and to me that also means the start of Rett Syndrome awareness month.

This is a month that I work like to crazy to let everyone know about the devastating condition Rett Syndrome.

I have to confess I find Rett Syndrome awareness month hard.

Everywhere I go I am reminded of the condition that stole my daughter from me.

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I see the photos, the blog posts and infographics and to be completely truthful I want to scream.

I know this is wrong of me but as much as I want to raise awareness I also want to hide from all that is Rett syndrome.

But I can’t and I won’t.

I may have lost my beautiful girlie to this awful disease but I do not want my friends to lose theirs.

I want everyone to know about Rett Syndrome.

I need everyone to know what amazing strides are being made in research.

I must make everyone know how much fundraising is needed to help fund research and to also help support those effected by the syndrome.

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So self pity aside October is Rett Syndrome month and I will be doing my best to let you all know that this condition is out there.

What it is?

Debilitating neurological (movement) disorder that predominantly affects females.

Baby girls are born “normal” but begin to lose acquired skills between the ages of 1-3 years old.

Caused by a single gene mutation that leads to underproduction of an important brain protein.

The leading genetic cause of severe impairment in girls – most cannot speak, walk or use their hands.

Despite their physical disabilities, girls with Rett Syndrome are believed to be functioning mentally at a much higher level than previously thought.

As prevalent as Cystic Fibrosis, ALS and Huntington’s.

Who it affects…

Usually affects girls from 6 to 24 months leading to a devastating loss of developed skills.

That every 90 minutes another little girl is born with Rett Syndrome

And that the greatest news is that….

Rett Syndrome is a potentially REVERSIBLE disorder. Research has proven once protein levels are back to normal levels, symptoms subside.

Did you get all that?

Outside of the Scientific community Rett Syndrome is still relatively unknown. Yet Rett Syndrome is a leading genetic cause of severe disability in females.

This is why we need to raise awareness.

People need to know more about Rett Syndrome.

They need to know that research into this condition has already shown the potential to help unlock other neurological conditions including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

What you also really need to know is that besides all these devastating symptoms what Rett Syndrome does not take away is the spirit of the girls who suffer from this condition.

Olivia was the strongest most determined girl you would meet. Although Rett Syndrome took away her voice it didn’t take away her desire to communicate. Her eyes became the window to her soul.

Olivia was so mischievous and so very loving her life was about love and laughter.

This is what we have to remember that behind the list of conditions there are girls.

Girls that want what we all desire.

To live life to the full.

To live a life not suffering from epilepsy, movement disorders, breathing abnormalities and so much more.

Help me make this happen.

Help me raise awareness of Rett Syndrome.

I hate Rett Syndrome with a vengeance but I love those girls fighting it everyday.

Help me make their future brighter.

More can be found out about this condition on the websites.

Cure Rett
Reverse Rett….
Girl Power 2 Cure

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Weekly wishlist

So here are my fashion picks for this week.

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What can I say about this dress from ASOS Curve, its just super cute and I want it.

 

My second choice is something that may surprise many, even my husband was shocked when I tried to convince him of my need.

Its a Tweed Blazer from BON PRIX and I simply think it oozes elegance while also having a real edge to it.

It’s certainly taken a top spot in my dream wardrobe.

 

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My last choice is a dress from Simply Be that just caught my eye as I was browsing the website.

I can’t tell you why i love it really. Yes it has style and yes its my favourite shape but to be honest there is something about it that just spoke to me.

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It simply said “Come to Sara”.

 

I think its smart and sassy and will be perfect for travelling and attending my upcoming conferences.

 

*Click the photos for links.

*All opinions and choices are my own.