Tag Archives: Family

What is the Love in Your Life?

Valentine’s Day always makes me think about the love in my life
So, here it is, everything that means Love to me… 

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What brings you LOVE in your life?

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Vince, Bekah, Dan, and Caitlin © Lisa Shambrook

My instant response to what brings me the most joy and love in my life is easy – my Family. My husband and children have brought me every emotion under the moon, but love overrides it all. My marriage and partnership with my husband is the most important relationship to me as my children came from this union. I’ve written about our love before and it’s blatantly obvious how much my children mean to me. Each one of them is a unique human being and I love how different each relationship is, how much fun and laughter and joy they bring to my life.
This is Love.

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Rusty, Roxy, Raven, and Misty © Lisa Shambrook

Soft fur, purrs (the cats, they can’t help it!), devotion, dependence, twinkling eyes, curling up on your lap (yes, even a sixty pound German Shepherd tries this!), adoration, kneading kitty paws, wagging tail (generally the dog!), wet noses, pricked up ears, padding paws. Rusty, Roxy, Misty and Raven.
This is Love.

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Nature, scriptures, freeagency, and crystals © Lisa Shambrook

I don’t often write about my religious views and my Faith. My faith is vast, ever evolving, and it embraces humanity with a Christ-like vision, but my Christianity intertwines with aspects of nature and Paganism and the peace of Buddhism. I think Spirituality is a vast subject and faith is very personal. My beliefs make sense to me, and no one can challenge what my heart reveals to me.
This is Love.

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Art, worldbuilding, sketches and notes, and dragons © Lisa Shambrook

I need a Creative outlet, without it I’d go quietly mad. I draw, plan, sketch, paint, sculpt, write, design, craft, photograph, and create. I create worlds with words, characters, plots, emotion, and dragons. I share my emotions in every piece I write or make.
This is Love.

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Acorn Cups, Trollbeads, Leather jacket, and Dr Martens Boots © Lisa Shambrook

Most of the things that bring me love are free, family, faith, nature, pets, imagination, but sometimes we have material items that mean something to us. If I wear something ‘til it’s worn out, then it’s been needed and loved. My leather jackets end up worn and torn, as do my beloved boots. I adore gems, I love pretty things, so my bracelet adorned with silver tokens and Murano glass beads means a great deal to me. Each trinket and bead means something, a moment, a place, people, something precious. And as I’m a squirrel, bushy-tailed and anxiously curious I have a thing for acorn cups and hazelnut shells.
This is Love.

What is the Love in your life?

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Twenty-one Things I Love About Dan…

Twenty-one Things I Love About You…

To my son, Daniel, on your Twenty-first Birthday!

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Dan…Twenty-one on friday!

  1. You lit up my world from the first moment you kicked into this world, my head-strong beautiful son.

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    One…

  2. Your smile has always been one of my favourite things about you. You can light the darkest place with it.

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    Two…

  3. Your eager delight at the world about you. Your excitable nature from shweep to slox…(sheep and socks!)

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    Three…

  4. Our little Danny boy, full of mischief and fearless adventure!

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    Four…

  5. Your straight-forwardness is strength. Your favourite animal at Gelli Aur aged five was “A big animal with sticks on his head!” A stag.

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    Five…

  6. Like a bulldozer you throw yourself into everything with true gusto and sometimes very little thought for consequences, but you always survive!

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    Six…

  7. I love how you share and love, your love runs deep and strong.

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    Seven…

  8. You have empathy that will guide both you and those about you, and your example will always inspire.

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    Eight…

  9. I have never met anyone who can bond so easily and so well with so many, and make a positive difference in their lives!

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    Nine…

  10. You have an endearing innocence and naivety, and this is why so many will love you for your honesty and integrity.

    Before Dan had his hair cut.

    Ten…

  11. Your smile lights up so many lives as your sense of fun shines through!

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    Eleven…

  12. You embrace the simplicity and beauty of life with courage and joy!

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    Twelve…

  13. You can be anyone you want to be, dig deep, work hard, and be true to yourself.

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    Thirteen…

  14. Don’t ever give in. Life can be tough and frustrating, but you can always overcome and win!

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    Fourteen…

  15. You have grown slowly with confidence and you will become a beacon of light, a lighthouse…

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    Fifteen…

  16. The way you love is deep and honest and without bars, and your hugs can heal broken spirits.

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    Sixteen…

  17. Your sense of adventure will take you far and help you carve your place, don’t lose it!

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    Seventeen…

  18. I love your spirit of generosity. You care deeply for those around you and always fight for those in need.

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    Eighteen…

  19. Strength and devotion are both naturally abundant in your nature, a true soul of beauty.

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    Nineteen…

  20. You know your worth, a son of faith and spirit, our son…

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    Twenty…

  21. The world is at your feet…it’s yours…

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    Twenty-one…

*Note: All photographs within this post are copyright to Rebekah, Caitlin, or Lisa and are not to be reproduced or copied in any way.

Silver Wedding Anniversary – Twenty-five Years Together

Today, 5th October, Vince and I celebrate 25 years together
and our Silver Wedding Anniversary…

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I want to link to a couple of posts, the first is: our 20th Anniversary and our Twenty Expressions of Love…♥ I’m so moved when I read back over the words that our love has produced…

I want to add five more:

After twenty-five years we know each other well, we understand each other as well as we can, given our differences, and what we don’t understand we lovingly accept.

We both feel that spiritual and physical bond that holding hands gives you, and physical intimacy brings both immense emotional and spiritual intimacy.

Time is a blessing, time spent together strengthens and deepens our love, and walks on the beach, or through woodlands, or across mountains, or anywhere together increases and heightens our affection.

The love and humour our family has is an eternal bond, something that ties us together no matter where we are. We, as a family, will always be united whether we are oceans apart or sitting side-by-side, and the winds of time cannot change that, our family makes us whole.

We know the strength of a hug, of arms wrapped tight around each other. We know it in sorrow and in joy, and in unity of love.

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Twenty-five years – Vince and Lisa… One photo a year from 1991 – 2016

We’ve changed in many ways: in looks, personality, character, knowledge, wisdom, emotions, understanding, and much more. We’ve grown and become very different people to who we were twenty-five years ago, but we’ve found solace, compassion, love, strength, and passion within each other and a bond that pushes the boundaries of this life.

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On our Twentieth…

I’ve written a couple of other posts about love and relationships, so if you’re interested: How to Feel Loved – Discover your Love Strategy and learn about how you feel and give love, and: The Most Valuable Way to a Happy and Successful Relationship and see how kindness works.

Here’s to the next Twenty-five Years!

♥ With all my love ♥

How to Feel Loved – Discover your Love Strategy

Have you ever considered what makes you feel loved?
Do you know how to make others feel appreciated and valued?
Read on…and discover your love strategy…

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A thought-provoking post inspired me to consider what makes me feel loved, how does love manifest itself to me, and what makes me feel good? I found the original post on Head, Heart, Health and discovered more on NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) sites and posts about Love Strategies.

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© Lisa Shambrook

So, take a moment and think about what makes you feel loved?

Is it a word whispered in your ear, or a thoughtful gift, or holding hands?

We have three basic Love Strategies: Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic.

Visual: the need to see love – that special look, flowers, that thoughtful gift, romantic acts and gestures, rose petals on the bed…

Auditory: the need to hear it – whispered words of love, sensual talk, the tone of voice, poetry…

Kinaesthetic: the need to feel love – the touch of your loved one, holding hands, cuddling close, an unexpected kiss…

The idea is to work out which you are, and that’s where it got interesting for me. I looked at how I felt loved within my relationship, and then how I feel loved in general.

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© Lisa Shambrook

To begin with, being an observer, I believed I’d have a visual Love Strategy, but on deeper consideration I found the visuals were less important to me than the kinaesthetic aspect.

You need to ask yourself which of the three could you do without, then get serious and break it down to just one choice. I knew that in my relationship, if my partner couldn’t show me love with flowers, gifts or that look in his eye, I’d be okay as long as I could still feel his touch. Hearing the words, I love you, are so important but if I was deaf, it would still be his hug and a stroke down my arm that would mean more. So I knew I was kinaesthetic.

This became even more apparent when I thought about what makes me feel loved in general. What makes me feel good – is seeing, or hearing, or feeling more important to me?

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© Lisa Shambrook

Again, I’m an observer who notices everything, the small things: the heron alighting by the lake, the flower in the hedgerow, the clouds sailing across the sky…but it’s the things I feel that affect me most. The silky taste of Spanish hot chocolate makes my heart sigh. Pulling a woolly jumper or blanket around me comforts me, the velvet feel of rose petals between my thumb and finger calms me. I love splashing through the ocean’s surf, kicking through autumn leaves or crunching through snow…all these delight me. Sinking into water and swimming, I love the feel of the wind caressing my hair, sunbeams kissing my skin and hugs from those I love. Seeing and hearing compliment my experiences, but I need to be enveloped, engulfed, and immersed to really feel and it’s tactile for me.

All these things show me that my love strategy, the sense that makes me feel the best, is kinaesthetic.

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© Lisa Shambrook

What’s yours?

We can enhance our relationships if we understand what makes us tick, what makes us feel good. Not just in romantic encounters but in life itself. If we know what makes our loved ones happy we can create healthier and stronger bonds, and we can all feel more loved.

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© Lisa Shambrook

If your partner’s love strategy is visual perhaps you could leave them a love note or take them somewhere special to make them feel loved…

If they are auditory you could be sure to tell them often how much they mean to you or leave a loving message on their answerphone…

And if they are kinaesthetic, take time to hold them close, and always remember that meaningful touch…

Work out your love strategy and enjoy enriching your relationship!

Author Feature: Jules Vilmur

There are stories in life that should be told, that need to be told, and this is one of them.
Teenage years are stormy for most, but for a transgender teen,
life can be almost impossible.
You will come away from this book, like I did,
with both greater understanding and compassion.

Complicated

Jules Vilmur lives in California with her husband and too many greyhounds. I found this enigmatic writer on her blog, Laurustina, after her sister, Bullishink, one day posted a link. I discovered a series of pieces about Alice, which touched my heart. At the time I had no idea of the background of these snippets, and once I did, I admired this wonderful woman and her writing even more. I am privileged to feature Jules here, with a book that became an inspired and life-affirming read.

jules vilmur author, the complicated geography of alice, author,

Jules Vilmur

Jules Vilmur

When I first discovered your story, told in snippets on your blog, I was drawn to your beautiful descriptions of heart-breaking moments, what I didn’t know at the time, was that it was true. I ­understand why you wrote it, but how difficult was it to turn it into a book and share with the whole world?

I had been blogging about my life and our family for nearly a decade, tucked away in my little corner of the internet, but after Alice’s death, I couldn’t seem to string a sentence together to save my life. Then in November of 2009, my sister Ruth (aka Bullishink) challenged me to join her for Nanowrimo. Once I started writing, I couldn’t stop.

Virtually none of that first draft made the final cut but it was an incredibly therapeutic process. Taking time out between drafts was important. I waited six months between the first and second, then nearly a year between the fourth and final drafts. I also did a lot of writing aloud, inviting my family to jump in with lines of their own or whatever they thought Alice would say in a given situation. A lot of her profanity came like that and much of the humour.

The biggest hurdle was letting go of the idea of Absolute Truth in exchange for a story that made sense to the reader. Squishing multiple characters into one, shaving off extraneous subplots and rewriting family history felt like lying, but was necessary.

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The Complicated Geography of Alice – Jules Vilmur

You tell your story bluntly, with humour, with sadness, and with love. It’s a story that will inspire and help many in similar situations. How do you think it can help the LGBT community, and if anything could change in the world for the better, after what you’ve been through, what would it be?

I wish for a better world, a safer place for kids like Alice, Leelah Alcorn and Kyler Prescott. I hope that readers will gain some understanding of and compassion for trans youth and those who struggle in these formative years. Being a teenager is tough, even in the best of circumstances. Add in issues of gender, sexuality or mental health and it can be agonizing.

A huge factor in my choice to publish with CreateSpace and Kindle, after a year with an inattentive agent, was that I wanted the book out there for the one person who might need it. If our story might help someone feel like they’re not alone or save one family from what we went through, well that’s worth it.

Alice

Alice

I came away from your book with much greater understanding and compassion. What do you think Alice would like readers to get from her, and your, story?

First off, she’d say I got it all wrong, that there wasn’t nearly enough glitter or Gwen Stefani and not a SCRUBS joke in the lot. Beyond that, I think she’d hope for more kindness and bravery. Encouraging others to live their truth was important to her. It takes a brave soul to step out into the light and be seen. When that bravery is met with kindness, we are all better for it.

Alice

Alice

I’ve read some of your flash fiction pieces and your writing is beautiful, are you writing anything more now?

Honestly, I’ve been lazy for a while now. There’s a stack of intertwined stories on my desk that I poke at when the muse strikes. But I know now that books don’t get finished without commitment and a whole lot of muse-less work.

It was important for me to tell Alice’s story simply, with all the fancy poetic language stripped away and now, as I work on other things, I find myself torn between lush language and telling a good, straight-forward story. There’s a balance there. I just haven’t found it.

Jules Vilmur, author

Jules Vilmur, author

We often talk of the need to create or write because of an innate desire, what does writing do for you?

I was an awkward kid, always felt on the outside of things, and writing was my way of dealing with that. I could escape into another world, or imagine controlling the one around me. In that way, it has always been my therapy.

I enjoy writing fiction, but even then it’s like I’m always trying to get at something – like there’s a purpose to it. My college thesis focused on the use of therapeutic writing with survivors of domestic abuse and I’m still passionate about writing therapy and its practical applications. As my friend Mateo once put it, “I’m not writing about these things as much as I’m writing myself out of them.”

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The Complicated Geography of Alice – Jules Vilmur

I am full of admiration for Jules Vilmur, and her ability to honour her daughter’s memory, and this book is a fitting tribute. This book will be a huge support and can offer hope to those going through similar, or any, personal upheaval. I am incredibly grateful for the strength this family had to share Alice’s story. Love wins, always. 

The Complicated Geography of Alice is available in both eBook and paperback from Amazon UK, US and all local Amazon stores. Find out more on her Amazon Author Page.

You can follow Jules on Twitter @Laurustina and find her blog Laurustina, and she’s on Goodreads, Pinterest and Google+.

Burn with the Brightest Flame and Believe in Yourself…

Dream big, and you can be anything…

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Driving home last week, through the most beautiful welsh countryside, I felt on top of the world, truly amazing! I was thinking how blessed I and my family are living our dreams. What a great feeling…and then The Script and Will I Am came on with ‘Hall of Fame’, and I realised just how true the lyrics read.

“You can go the distance. You can run the mile. You can walk straight through hell with a smile. You can be the hero. You can get the gold. Breaking all the records they thought never could be broke.
Yeah, do it for your people, do it for your pride. How are you ever gonna know if you never even try?
Do it for your country, do it for your name, ’cause there’s gonna be a day…
When you’re standing in the hall of fame, and the world’s gonna know your name, cause you burn with the brightest flame, and the world’s gonna know your name, and you’ll be on the walls of the hall of fame…”

It’s what I’ve always believed…you can do anything, be anything…
but, you’ve got to live your dreams…

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Dreaming of the castle on a cloud © Lisa Shambrook

There was a time, many years ago, when I was a shy little thing and I let my dreams escape. I didn’t believe my dreams were worth dreaming. My default was to put aside my own feelings but be sure to fix everyone else. This continued from early childhood into my teens, where I allowed someone else’s preference push me to a different path than the one I wanted, and then on into adulthood.

I became the mother with holes in my boots for a decade because I refused to buy myself a new pair, deeming everyone else more important. There’s a time and a place for others to take priority, but that should never be a permanent condition!

My family © Lisa Shambrook

My family © Lisa Shambrook

As I hit a breakdown and emerged, still snow blinded, the other side, I began to be coaxed by my wonderful husband and children into believing in myself. Now I know that I’m important too, that my dreams are worth dreaming, and more than that, they’re worth putting into action!

There’s nothing I want more for my children than for them to live their dreams…

My oldest is extremely talented and enthusiastic, and always threw caution to the wind when embracing her dreams! She lacked direction, but as she’s matured, her direction evolves and her plans are coming to fruition. We’ve been able to instil self-belief and a confidence I only wish I’d had thirty years ago! She’s recently had the strength to do something my younger version would have cowered from, which is to close some of her enterprises and head towards a new ambition. She stands with assurance and ability and dreams. My soul bursts with pride as I see my child grow and plan and act towards her new horizon…

My son is moving into an exceptional period of his life. He struggled greatly at school, and had some real soul searching to discover what he wanted to do once he left. He has since excelled in the work he’s done, to the point that his employer would love him to stay on at work, but he’s made a decision to explore life. He has, of his own volition, decided to serve a ministering mission for the church which we belong to. This means accepting a call to preach in a place he’s never been. He’s been called to serve in Halifax, Canada for the period of two years, and he is bursting with excitement and opportunity, and so am I…

My youngest is still at school and of an age where I struggled to be anything but a shy little bird. Exams and subjects she’s not keen on bury her, and I see her heart trying to decide where it lies. Those middle teens are years I’d not choose to return to, but they are the years where you grow, where you begin to learn who you are and where you want to go. These are the years where my daughter will begin to grow wings, to emerge from within and to want to fly. These are the years when I will refuse to stand in her way, and I will encourage with everything that I have, just as I have with her siblings, to be just who she will be. ..

© Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

My husband and I both waited years to begin to achieve. I lived with clipped and broken wings for many years, but I want my children to believe in themselves, to spread their wings and fly.

To do that they, and we, need to dream, and dream big!

To quote The Script again “Be students, be teachers, be politicians, be preachers, be believers, be leaders, be astronauts, be champions, be truth seekers…” and we can, we can be all of those, if we just dream and believe!

Did you get encouragement to believe in yourself?

Have you achieved what you set out to do, or is it an ongoing goal?

Share your dreams and encouragement…

Families That Cosplay Together – Stay Together…Cardiff Comic Con

Have you ever wanted to release that inner geeky child?

If yes, then Comic Cons are the way to go! 

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Getting ready to play – Lara Croft Tomb Raider 2013 – © Lisa Shambrook

My daughter, Bekah, of Arkhdrauth Cosplay, is a cosplay enthusiast and after her first Comic Con dressed as Thranduil, we were all raring to have a go… So after a few months of preparation and much costume design…we headed off to Cardiff Comic Con.

indiana Jones cosplay, cardiff comic con, Antti Karppinen Photography Alias Creative

Vince Shambrook – Indiana Jones by Antti Karppinen Photography, Alias Creative

maleficent cosplay, cardiff comic con, Antti Karppinen Photography Alias Creative

Bekah Shambrook of Arkhdrauth Cosplay – Maleficent by Antti Karppinen Photography, Alias Creative

Bekah entered the Community Masquerade and placed First with her magnificent Maleficent cosplay!

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Daniel Shambrook – Ghost Call of Duty by Antti Karppinen Photography, Alias Creative

Daenerys cosplay, cardiff comic con, Antti Karppinen Photography Alias Creative

Caitlin Shambrook – Daenerys by Antti Karppinen Photography, Alias Creative

This was a family affair and we had a great time. The atmosphere at Cardiff was brilliant and the cosplayers fantastic. I also really loved seeing all the families arriving with little cosplayers…start young!

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Cardiff Comic Con – Daenerys and Margery, Ghost and Star Lord, Indiana Jones and The Penguin, Maleficent and Maleficent, two Indys, Daryl Dixon and Lara Croft – © Lisa Shambrook

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Cardiff Comic Con, Maleficent and Star Lord, Daenerys x2 and Margery, Daenerys, Tauriel, Aragorn and Lara Croft, Daryl Dixon and Daenerys, Space Marine and Ghost, Star Lord, Lara Croft and The Terminator – © Lisa Shambrook

The organisers did a great job and special thanks must go to Antti Karppinen of Antti Karppinen Photography, Alias Creative who took the most amazing photographs of almost all of the cosplayers, because he believes that the fans, the cosplayers, are what Comic Con is all about and he wants to recognise the passion and work they put into their costumes! He made a lot of cosplayers very happy with his brilliant photographs!

So, to release the child in you…dress up…honestly, it’ll do you the world of good! 

Have you ever wanted to Cosplay, if so who would you choose?

If you have already – who did you go as? 

The Battle to Beat Depression

We all fight battles – some more than others, but all of us fight and struggle through.

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Fending off the black dog… © Lisa Shambrook

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” (a quote thought to have come from Ian Maclaren but now widely misattributed to Plato – don’t you love Pinterest and its mass of misattributes?!) This quote speaks volumes.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Not one of us escapes these skirmishes, so we need to be well equipped.

Two things lead me to write this article: firstly I’m making weapons for Cosplay; just last week I made a quiver and arrows to go with my bow and this week I made an axe, so I have weapons on my mind. Secondly I read a post by a friend, who suffers depression, and she listed her ‘antidepressants’ over on her blog A Slice of Reality and it makes sense to know what yours and mine are too!

Back in 2013, The Guardian reported that ‘Nearly a fifth of adults in the UK experience anxiety or depression.’ That’s one in every five people you know. Simply put, we all know people who suffer with depression and/or anxiety and a whole host of other mental health problems. Thankfully, we are now becoming not only more aware, but more able to talk about mental health issues.

So go and read my friend’s post and see what her antidepressants are…see what mine are and then go and work on yours.

antidepressants, the battle to beat depression, tablets, water, thelastkrystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Medication is the first port of call when you go to your GP. In fact, in general, according to the British Medical Journal, antidepressants are being overprescribed. This is not to say they don’t have a place, but the most effective use of antidepressants is a short course that resets the chemical imbalance caused by depression until your body is ready to produce them again.
*Though everyone is different and Dr’s advice should be adhered to.

I’ve taken several courses of antidepressants during my life and each time they’ve helped me overcome the illness. If I need them these days I’ll take a six month course and work on lifting myself out at the same time. My family and I prefer me not to take them as I become a zombie – I want to feel alive not comatose. Antidepressants react differently with different people, but don’t expect to take them without the myriad side effects.

Lisa Shambrook, depression, pain, thelastkrystallos, the battle to beat depression,

© Lisa Shambrook

The most important intervention a GP can offer is therapy. I’ve taken courses of therapy, but only privately. The waiting lists were always too long for me. In my book ‘Beneath the Old Oak’ Meg’s mother refuses her GP’s help.  Her reaction is typical of someone suffering depression:

“I’m wasting money that could be spent on people who are really sick, and why? Because I’m sad!” She [mum] flung her arms in the air. “I’m sad, really sad, and not in the being upset terms either! Sad, weak and stupid. I’m stupid, therefore I do stupid things, therefore I should see a counsellor, but I can’t because I’m not stupid enough!”
Meg rolled her eyes.
“Maybe I should do something stupid…”
“Maybe we should get dinner, Mum. C’mon, let’s get dinner.” Meg moved towards the kitchen. “Mum? Did you put yourself on the list for counselling anyway?”
Mum shook her head. “What’s the point? I’ll be better after I take these [antidepressants]. I’ll be fine in less than a few years! The list is for people with serious problems, not bored housewives who feel sad.” She strode past her daughter. “C’mon, Meg, I’ll be fine in no time.”

If you think is that there’s always someone worse off, that it’s not so bad, that you don’t want to take up valuable NHS time, and you don’t put yourself on the list – that’s a vicious circle. You are worth it, and if you are ever offered therapy of any kind from your GP – take it!

dog paws, Roxy, GSD, german shepherd, thelastkrystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Exercise is, for me, the most effective antidepressant there is. Another friend once sent me an essay she’d written, for her thesis, about the effects of exercise on depression, it was an eye opener! Exercise is a natural way to increase serotonin, as is getting out in the sunshine, and it can help lift the depressive state. Almost seven years ago we got a dog, and daily walks have increased my capacity to avoid depression hugely. Then last year our family joined the local gym. A mixture of exercise and a much healthier diet have impacted greatly on our weight, which has significantly decreased, our general fitness and health, and my predisposition for depression and anxiety. I cannot recommend exercise more. If you can’t afford the gym, or a dog, then just get yourself outside, take a walk and appreciate the abundance of nature!

psalm 61 2, overwhelmed, higher rock, scripture,In her post, my friend talks about her faith and I share it. It doesn’t matter what denomination you are, or aren’t, or what spiritual beliefs you have, there are good things in life to be appreciated. Things that increase your faith, whether in humanity or deity, and these are good. Lean on your faith like I can rely on words of comfort from scripture…let it carry you.

Being creative is what keeps me going. When the chips are down, when I’m stuck in a black hole, I can escape through writing. If you’re lucky enough to have a creative talent, use it. If not, search one out, cultivate one, or find a hobby that makes you happy. I write when I need to release the pressure of anxiety, when panic threatens to overwhelm me, and when the pit of depression attempts to bind and suffocate me. Words are my world, and they save me.

Anxiety © BekahShambrook

Anxiety © BekahShambrook

Some of us are also lucky to have families who, though they can’t always stop you from slipping into that pit, they can throw down the rope to haul us out. They may not understand, I know my self-harm is way beyond my husband’s comprehension, but he will always be there. They will make sure they’re there to hug you, reassure you and work out how to tug your little boat back into their harbour.

I know that for me these antidepressants work, most of the time. You may be reading this whilst you’re cowering in the darkness and these ideas may seem as far away as the sun is, but give yourself time, depression is not always curable, but it is liveable and survivable. I live with chronic depression, of the rapid cycling variety, (You can read more about mine here) and I know I will always live fending off the black dog, but I can – I can growl and he’ll back off… Learn how to tame yours.

How do you survive? What helps you through the tough times and what tips can you offer to tame the black dog? 

Beneath_the_Old_Oak_front_cover_finalTo read more of Meg and her mum’s battles, ‘Beneath the Old Oak ‘ is available in paperback and eBook on Amazon and Etsy.

‘Turn those dreams of escape into hope…’ Meg thinks her mother is broken. Is she broken too? Meg’s life spirals out of control, and when she mirrors her Mum’s erratic behaviour, she’s terrified she’ll inherit her mother’s sins. Seeking refuge and escape, she finds solace beneath a huge, old oak. A storm descends, and Meg needs to survive devastating losses.

Family Photoshoot – Post Apocalyptic Survivors

Sometimes family life feels a little like surviving the apocalypse – and with the genre so popular right now – we decided to go dystopian with our family photoshoot!

dystopian, post apocalyptic, photoshoot, family photo, family portrait, the last krystallos, arkhdrauth cosplay,

We’re ready…

It had to be something big…Dan is going away for two years and we wanted to do something epic! So we sourced and customised clothes, made weaponry and set out to Pembrey Country Park. The old, hidden munitions tunnels were perfect!

dystopian, post apocalyptic, photoshoot, family photo, family portrait, the last krystallos, arkhdrauth cosplay,

What’s in there?

Cait, Dan and Bekah looked the part, with dystopian designs and post apocalyptic accessories!

Survivors...

Survivors…

Roxy accompanied us, ready to chase off attackers…

dystopian, post apocalyptic, photoshoot, family photo, family portrait, the last krystallos, arkhdrauth cosplay,

Nothing’s getting past us…

And I showed off my kick ass scar…

dystopian, post apocalyptic, photoshoot, family photo, family portrait, the last krystallos, arkhdrauth cosplay,

Don’t even try it…

We made it out of the bunker and scared off the enemy…

dystopian, post apocalyptic, photoshoot, family photo, family portrait, the last krystallos, arkhdrauth cosplay,

War cry!

And we were ready for anything…

dystopian, post apocalyptic, photoshoot, family photo, family portrait, the last krystallos, arkhdrauth cosplay,

Battle ready…

It was cold, very cold – but also epic, very epic!

dystopian, post apocalyptic, photoshoot, family photo, family portrait, the last krystallos, arkhdrauth cosplay,

Hardened survivors…

All photos were taken with Bekah’s Nokia Lumia 1020 via tripod, and we had lots of fun falling over on that grassy hill, so that may be why we don’t look so post apocalyptic serious!

Please don’t use our photos without crediting and linking to us: The Last Krystallos and Arkhdrauth Cosplay. But feel free to Facebook, Tweet, G+ and Pinterest them from here!

Weapons were made from children’s toys spray-painted matt black, Vince’s bullet belt is literally made from a belt and gold spray-painted batteries held on with black electrical tape!

Hair and make-up all by Bekah, and Bekah’s antlers come from the amazing Hysteria Machine!

We put together our own outfits, lots of ripping, tearing, cheese grating and painting to distress.

So, we’ve done Steampunk, railway tracks, snow, and more…what next? Who knows?

What would you do for a family photoshoot?

All of the things...

All of the things…

You can find me, Lisa, on my website and Facebook, and Bekah at Arkhdrauth Cosplay on FB and her blog Adofaer and Arkhdrauth. We also run an Etsy shop Amaranth Alchemy…come and visit us and like us on Facebook to know about all our latest special offers!

Twenty-one Things I Love About Bekah…

Twenty-One Things I Love About You…

To my daughter, Bekah, on your Twenty-first Birthday!

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Bekah…Twenty-one Today!

  1. That very first nudge in my tummy that preceded the kicks and thrusts demonstrates the strong-willed daughter I carry now and will carry forever in my heart.

    1. Rebekah 16mnths Oct 1994

    One…

  2. Our deep loving little pixie who carries her teddy everywhere by the bobble on his hat!

    2. Rebekah 2 & Teddy July 1995

    Two…

  3. Your eloquence. At three you were singing ‘Blaa Blaa Black Sheep’, but your speech has and always will be eloquent and beautiful.

    3. Rebekah 3 frost Dec 1996

    Three…

  4. Our little BeckyCat, full of mischief and eccentricities…

    4. Rebekah 3 cat, march 1997

    Four…

  5. Already at five you have quirks – can’t have a clock ticking in your bedroom, and you’re very precise and grown up!

    5. Katarina & Becky Aug 1998

    Five…

  6. A true little bookworm, you read brilliantly, you read lots and you read every night before you go to sleep.

    6. Cornwall, Flambards Becky 6 & tarantula april 2000

    Six…

  7. You know exactly what you want and you move confidently full steam ahead to get it!

    7. Rebekah 7 Castell Henllys May 2001

    Seven…

  8. You are an intelligent choice spirit, destined to be here now, to learn and grow and blossom.

    8. Rebekah 8 Caerphilly castle Aug 2001

    Eight…

  9. You explode when you get angry, but that eruption is over fast! You’re bright, clever, beautiful and talented; don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise!

    9. Rebekah 9  fucshia Aug 2002

    Nine…

  10. You have a strong sense of justice, the world often does not, but you inherently know right from wrong and fight for it.

    10. Rebekah 10 Jules' drums april 2004

    Ten…

  11. Your creative spirit grows stronger all the time, developing a love of art and words.

    11. Rebekah 11 Howletts april 2005

    Eleven…

  12. You are an amazing example!

    12. Rebekah 12 July 2005

    Twelve…

  13. You are our Empyrean Pixie, full of fire and confidence, you can rule the world!

    13. beck 13 bandana august 2006

    Thirteen…

  14. You have the spirit of a pioneer. If you’d been born to a different life you’d have crossed the plains fighting for your beliefs – be a pioneer today!

    14. Beck 14, July 2007

    Fourteen…

  15. You have the gift of Integrity, your honesty and sense of right and wrong will always place you on the right road…

    15. Beck 15, cool, july 2008 2crop

    Fifteen…

  16. A rebellious devil lives on your shoulder – be a rebel, but in all the right ways! Fight for what’s right, rebel against the world, and blast your way forward!

    16. Bekah 16, Dec 2009

    Sixteen…

  17. Your art is truly wonderful; a great talent that will carve you a path in life – always use it and improve it! Have fun with it!

    17. Bekah 17, Llansteffan, Dec 2010

    Seventeen…

  18. I love your strength to overcome. The obstacles you find in your way always make you stronger.

    18. Bekah 18, dec 2011

    Eighteen…

  19. You are growing into your beauty and can recognise it yourself, never lose that!

    19. Bekah 19, june 2012

    Nineteen…

  20. You know your worth, a daughter of grace and spirit, our daughter…

    20. Bekah 20, sept 2013

    Twenty…

  21. The world is at your feet…it’s yours…
    21. Bekah 20, April 2014

    Twenty-one…

    *Note: All photographs within this post are copyright to Rebekah or Lisa and are not to be reproduced or copied in any way.