Disability Inclusion – Why Bother?

A sunset with silhouette pictograms of a wheelchair user, men, ladies and children.

Imagine you’ve been invited over to my house. You arrive and I tell you to use the back door. When you finally manage to get into my house there’s no chair for you to sit on. I then decide to speak to you in another language, one you don’t understand or maybe I don’t speak to you at all. I don’t even offer you a cup of tea or coffee. I don’t think you’d feel very welcome, would you? Sometimes church can be a bit like that for disabled people.

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How Honest Are You?

A variety of different sized multi coloured circles with question marks in them

I don’t know about you, but I like to think of myself as an honest person. However, a recent sermon at church got me thinking. In reality, how honest are we? We may not steal or tell massive lies, but does that make us honest? Do we put a smile on our face and pretend all is okay when it isn’t. Do we hide the truth, even from ourselves? This blog looks at a few of the ways in which we may not be as honest as we think.

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Childhood Bereavement – The Lasting Effects

Lynnette and her brother, with their arms linked, on her wedding day. She is holding a bouquet of blue and white flowers.

This week my Dad would have been 91. However, I find it really difficult to imagine him at that age. I always see him as being 48 – the age at which he died. Often people assume that children ‘bounce back’ from a traumatic event like bereavement and that it doesn’t affect them as much as it would an adult. This really isn’t true – death affects children and leaves lasting effects in their lives as much as it does with adults. Regardless of how you feel about what Prince Harry has spoken about in these last few days, you can’t help but see a hurt young man still affected by his mum’s death and still grieving. My Dad’s death affected me in many ways, some of which have lasted into adulthood.

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Not Such A Walk In The Park – When Dogs Become Unpredictable

Kieran stroking a black dog

When you look at the picture accompanying this blog, you’d never think my son is nervous around dogs. I have to say that Ella is a very special dog that has quickly become Kieran’s favourite dog. However, Kieran doesn’t always feel so relaxed around dogs. So, how did he become nervous about dogs?

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Meltdowns – A Mum’s View

A selfie of Kieran and Lynnette, smiling.

A few weeks ago, we arrived at church early as we were on Welcome Team. Our son, Kieran, was also with us as he was on Tech Team that day. What was expected to be a fairly typical Sunday suddenly changed into a different, although not unknown, day. As Kieran was making sure all was working well on the sound system, I could see that he was starting to get a little agitated and before long I sensed that he was on the verge of a meltdown. I quickly suggested that he moved to a quieter place so that he could help regulate his emotions. Despite doing this, the meltdown occurred. However with time, quiet, and space away from others we were both able to be in the church service soon after the service had started. Needless to say, neither of us were able to do our roles that Sunday, but other people were happy to step in for us. Meltdowns are tough for the person experiencing them, but how does it feel if you are supporting someone through one? This is how I experience them:

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Post a Heart to Raise Awareness? No Thanks!

A blue heart on a wooden background

If, like me, you have a Facebook account, you have probably seen a message from a friend that goes something like this: “I’m asking friends to post this today. I’m pretty sure I know the ones who will, but I’d like to be surprised by more of you.” It’s then accompanied by an instruction to add a particular coloured heart to raise awareness of a disability or additional need. However, does this really raise awareness? It will highlight the name of a particular disability or additional need, but in my opinion, does nothing to raise awareness about it. So, how can you raise awareness? Here are a few ideas:

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When The Wound Gets Re-Opened

The 8 September 2022 will forever be a part of UK history. It was the day, of course, that the Queen died. In some ways it was expected – she was 96, had cancelled several engagements in recent weeks, and was looking increasingly frail. In other ways, it came as a bit of a shock. She had celebrated her Platinum Jubilee a few months earlier (who can forget her appearance with Paddington Bear!) and had appointed her fifteenth Prime Minister just a couple of days beforehand. It almost felt like she could still be with us for a few more years yet, despite her increasing frailty. One thing that shocked me was my reaction to her death.  I didn’t know the Queen, so why was I  (and many others) feeling tearful after hearing the news? Here are why I think it might have happened.

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What’s Your Learning Style?

Cartoon image of a brain with a smiling face, arms, and legs. The hands are wearing gloves and the feet are wearing trainers.

Here in the UK the last of the schools are returning to the classroom after the summer holidays. There will be lots of children sitting in the classrooms eager to learn and many teachers eager to teach them. But have you ever thought about what helps us to learn? A quick search on Google would indicate that there are at least four different styles of learning. These are Visual, Auditory, Reading/Writing, and Kinaesethic (VARK). School teachers will use activities that cater for all of these different styles. So, let’s briefly look at each of these different styles.

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Back To My Happy Place

Looking across farmers fields with hills in the distance. There are some cows in one field. The fields are separated by dry stone walls.

Do you have a happy place? A happy place can be an actual place that you love to go to or something you do that takes away the stresses of daily life and helps you to relax. A happy place is important for good mental health as your mind is diverted away from negative or stressful thoughts as you start to relax. If you’re like me, you may have more than one happy place. So what are my happy places?

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Nine Years An Orphan

A young man and two ladies are sitting on a wooden bench. Another lady is sitting in a wheelchair next to one of the other ladies

Today marks nine years since I became an ‘orphan’ after my Mum died. I’m sure that most people think of orphans as a child whose parents have died, which is indeed the dictionary definition. However, I still see myself as an orphan as I was Mum and Dad’s child and I no longer have my parents. I’ve spent most of my life without a Dad following his death during my teenage years. Where Dad’s death was sudden and unexpected, we knew Mum wasn’t going to survive her cancer diagnosis three months before her death. We had been at Spring Harvest, a Christian event, when we got the news. It was a bombshell as she had seemingly been doing reasonably well. However, it did give me time to get used to the fact (or so I thought!) that I would have to live life without either parent.

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