Tag Archives: love

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?

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.

    1-1997-daniel-1-heronsbrook-aug-1997

    One…

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

    2-1998-vince-dan-may-1998

    Two…

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

    3-1999-dan-3-model-school-nursery-photo-oct-1999

    Three…

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

    4-2000-dan-4-danny-boy-llansteffan-june-2000

    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.

    5-2001-carreg-cennan-dan-5-oven-august-2001

    Five…

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

    6-2002-dan-6-donkey-june-2002

    Six…

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

    7-36-dan-7-st-davids-march-2003

    Seven…

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

    8-2004-dan-8-cait-4-model-school-photo-oct-2004

    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!

    9-2005-dan-9-army-july-2005

    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!

    11-2007-dan-smile-may-2007

    Eleven…

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

    12-2008-freshwater-dan-12-smile-august-2008

    Twelve…

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

    13-2009-dan-and-cait-firth-of-forth-aug-2009

    Thirteen…

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

    14-2010-dan-14-by-bekah-june-2010

    Fourteen…

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

    15-2011-dan-15-may-2011

    Fifteen…

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

    16-2012-dan-roxy-july-2012

    Sixteen…

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

    17-2013-amazon-zoo-dan-lemur-instagram-april-2013

    Seventeen…

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

    18-2014-dan-giving-blood-instagram-august-2014

    Eighteen…

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

    19-2015-dan-family-dystopian-post-apocalyptic-photo-shoot-instagram-february-2015

    Nineteen…

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

    20-2016-dan-on-skype-may-2016-close-up

    Twenty…

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

    136-dan-skyping-christmas-day-2016-21

    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…

the-words-that-you-write-with-your-heart-lisa-shambrook-the-last-krystallos

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.

kiss-me-lisa-shambrook-25-anniversary-bw-the-last-krystallos

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 ♥

Being Broken and the Kintsukuroi Art of Healing

There are times in my life when I know I’m broken
and I’m okay with that.

Being Broken and the Kintsukuroi Art of Healing - The Last Krystallos
I have scars, scars that run across my skin and scars that run deep through my very being.
Most of us do, from superficial scratches on our surface to deep canyons that reside in dark places. We all have history, and emotional pain stays with you, no matter how much you try to let go.

I’m not talking of forgiveness here; maybe I’ll post on that another day, but even when you can or have let go, the experience, the memory, will always be with you. You can’t erase the things you’ve been through, and it’s good that we can’t.  

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Dawn’s gold rippling through the sky © Lisa Shambrook

I’m a firm believer in the fact that we are not perfect and nor should we worry about trying to be perfect. I want to be good, kind, loving, and harness many other beautiful characteristics, but I don’t need to be perfect. Along with my good qualities, I embrace rebellion, curiosity, cynicism, and other traits, as I believe you can’t know the good without the bad, and after all we are human.

This also means that though I would love to live on a fairly even keel, I am grateful that I don’t.

I’ve known pain. You’ve known pain. And whilst the levels of pain we’ve known may differ, they are powerful and good. The fact that we’ve known pain means we can enhance the joy that we feel too.

There is an exquisite extreme to emotions, sorrow and joy, and to know one you have to truly know the other.

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Broken things still live – Greencastle old oak tree © Lisa Shambrook

I have felt broken, and I have been broken, but I am also mended.

Many things can fix you. Family, love, religion, nature, chocolate, even money – but know that despite being mended your scars still endure.

I used to worry about my scars; they still decorate my skin and remind me constantly of the times that have hurt. Right now they are white, and pink, and narrow and pale. They’ve filled in, healed, mended, but they’re still there. I live with them and I love them, because they are me.

We need to love our brokenness. We need to embrace the scars that have healed us, for they have made us who we are.

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To bathe in sunset gold © Lisa Shambrook

The Japanese have a wonderful procedure called Kintsukuroi (golden repair) or Kintsugi (golden joinery) and they have beautified brokenness.

It is the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.   

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My attempt at Kintsukuroi – though I don’t have gold so it was nail lacquer! © Lisa Shambrook (Check out the real thing on my Pinterest Page)

Is there anything more beautiful than someone who can embrace their flaws and know that they are worth more for what they have been through?

We are all broken, in a way, we all have scars, some more visible than others. And even when you are healed, those scars, those things you’ve been through have made you stronger. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, to be flawed, and to be broken.

My heart is made of stronger stuff than glass - Patrick Rothfuss - lisa shambrook

My heart is made of stronger stuff than glass – Patrick Rothfuss © Lisa Shambrook

We don’t have glass hearts that can shatter beyond repair, we don’t have crystal spirits that can splinter beyond hope, we are made of stronger stuff, and even if we need repairing at times, we are all the more beautiful for it.  

The Most Valuable Way to a Happy and Successful Relationship

Kindness is the recipe for keeping a relationship alive. 

The most valuable way to a happy and successful relationship, the last krystallos, relationships, love and marriage, better relationships,

When an article, featuring research from The Gottman Institute about how to make a relationship work, recently popped up on my newsfeed it made me think.

You can read the article, but in a nutshell, couples were interviewed and studied as they interacted with each other, and then re-interviewed six years later. From their research Gottman separated them into two groups: the ones whose relationships fell apart or who were chronically unhappy together – the Disasters, and the ones who were still together and happy – the Masters.

Unexpected kindness is the most powerful...agent of human change Bob Kerrey, Bob Kerrey quote, kindness, kindness quote, the last krystallos,

©Lisa Shambrook

Their analysis showed that those who were defensive in their relationships suffered and those relaxed and comfortable maintained happy bonds.

He followed his study in 1990 with a retreat in which he invited 130 newlywed couples to relax together while he watched how they interacted.

Quoting from the article: Throughout the day, partners would make requests for connection, what Gottman calls “bids.” For example, say that the husband is a bird enthusiast and notices a goldfinch fly across the yard. He might say to his wife, “Look at that beautiful bird outside!” He’s not just commenting on the bird here: he’s requesting a response from his wife — a sign of interest or support — hoping they’ll connect, however momentarily, over the bird.

The wife now has a choice. She can respond by either turning toward or turning away from her husband, as Gottman puts it. Though the bird-bid might seem minor and silly, it can actually reveal a lot about the health of the relationship. The husband thought the bird was important enough to bring it up in conversation and the question is whether his wife recognizes and respects that.

People who turned toward their partners in the study responded by engaging the bidder, showing interest and support in the bid. Those who didn’t — those who turned away — would not respond or respond minimally and continue doing whatever they were doing, like watching TV or reading the paper. Sometimes they would respond with overt hostility, saying something like, “Stop interrupting me, I’m reading.”

Kindness is more than deeds it is an attitude expression look touch anything that lifts another person, C Neil Strait, the last krystallos, kindness quote,

©Lisa Shambrook

Again this made me think and consider my own relationship. How do I respond to my husband’s bids for my attention? How does he respond to mine? This reaches further than just marriage too, how do I listen to my children, who tend to bid for my attention even more than my partner?

Gottman found that: Couples who had divorced after a six-year follow up had turn-toward bids 33% of the time. Only three in ten of their bids for emotional connection were met with intimacy. The couples who were still together after six years had turn-toward bids 87% of the time. Nine times out of ten, they were meeting their partner’s emotional needs.

Do we meet our family’s needs?

Kindness has a beautiful way of reaching down into a weary heart and making it shine like the rising sun, kindness quote, the last krystallos,

©Lisa Shambrook

Our society has become very secular and families find it more difficult than ever to interact with each other. We may be overwhelmed with work commitments, exhaustion, social media, hobbies or just plain disinterest. I was shocked one day when my child attempted to get my attention when I was online. I parried her constant efforts with “Wait a minute, I’m busy right now…” and ignored her protestations against my lack of interest. What was I doing? I was reading online articles, none of which were going anywhere, and none that I couldn’t return to when I had more time. A glance at my daughter made me stop. I closed the laptop and turned to her. Her particular needs weren’t imperative at that moment, but I knew that if I kept ignoring her, or turning away, then she would stop coming to me, which would be heartbreaking. If I ignored the simple things then I’d never get to hear the big things.

The same thing works within marriages and turning toward and recognising the worth of your partner’s need to be heard and loved is imperative.  Read my article How to Feel Loved to learn about your and partner’s Love Strategy, and discover how  we feel loved.

True love a matter of anxious concern for ones companion, Gordon B Hinckley quote, love quote, the last krystallos,

©Lisa Shambrook

Gottman declared that: contempt is the number one factor that tears couples apart, and Kindness, on the other hand, glues couples together.

Kindness, validating, and loving each other is what keeps couples close and intimate. It builds trust and loyalty. Kindness grows. What you give you receive back, and like a muscle it expands and flourishes the more you use and show it.

love is when the other person's happiness is more important than your own, H. Jackson Brown Jr, love quote, the last krystallos,

©Lisa Shambrook

I’m lucky I have a partner who has always spent time concerned for my feelings. He has an intuition I didn’t appreciate when I was young, that doesn’t mean he always gets it right, but the intention is there and that’s a winner. When we first married I was a very introverted people-pleaser with very low self-esteem and I often felt I’d cheated him by marrying him. I was suffering CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and was ill for the first six or seven years of marriage. Add to that, he had no idea of my battle with depression, anxiety and panic and I spent much of the first decade of our marriage trying to make up for not being what I thought he deserved!

I made sure Vince’s needs were met, I insisted he completed his dream of passing his motorbike test and owning a motorbike, and he gained many employment qualifications on courses, some we paid for and some subsidised, whilst I ignored my needs. I refused to buy new shoes when mine had holes in and I couldn’t see that I was creating an unbalanced relationship. It wasn’t until I sought help for my conditions that I finally allowed my husband’s help in reaching for my own dreams. I had no idea that it hurt my husband when I put myself last, effectively turning away, and I had to re-evaluate my priorities.

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1991, 2001 and 2015 Vince and I ©Lisa Shambrook

Creating balance improved our relationship and helped our love grow deeper and stronger.

Again, this is vitally important in all our relationships, not just our romantic ones, but healthy partnerships help strengthen homes.

my bounty is as boundless as the sea, Juliet, Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet, the last krystallos,

©Lisa Shambrook

Shakespeare’s Juliet proclaimed infinite love – maybe we can do the same in all our relationships.
Hubby and I will reach twenty-five years on our wedding anniversary in October this year. I can testify that love and relationships aren’t child’s play, or maybe they are – children are more unconditional?

Relationships require work and trust, depth and compassion, kindness and validation, honesty and love.

If we try – where love is reciprocated – then we can turn toward and meet each other’s needs and live within happy and fulfilling relationships.

Here are the Gottman’s Top 7 Ways To Improve Your Marriage

How do you keep your relationship alive?
What’s the most important ingredient to you for
a successful marriage and/or partnership?

 

Love Bites 2016 – Arctic Chill

As one of the hosts for Love Bites 2016, my entry is inadmissible but I’m still compelled to write about the chill of betrayal:

Love Bites 2016 Arctic Chill - Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

Arctic Chill

He shivered, violently, but the chill still seeped through every pore. Her voice tickled his ear and he tried to open his eyes, but his eyeballs wouldn’t keep still and his eyelids failed to listen. Her soft, smooth tones swam through his head and for a moment he was content to drown amid their cadence, and her undulating words held no sense. If he were to drown it would be preferable to the hell he shook within.

As his freezing body shuddered again, her fingers grazed his hairy cheek, stroking the crystalline frost from his beard. His eyes still refused to open and her cheek suddenly rested against his temple, her hair draped across his forehead, her lips touched his, but it barely ignited his senses. Arms snaked about his shoulders and she slipped down against him, uttering nonsensical words that slowly began to pierce his brain.

“Wake up…” the words reeled and lurched and stumbled, but had no meaning. Her voice swathed his consciousness like melted chocolate smothering a truffle. Chocolate leached through his mind, flashing up a vague memory of exotic pralines and dark lips – and the kisses that followed as sultry as the chocolates themselves… Those kisses now moved across his face, and touched lightly on his errant eyelids as he struggled to open them.

Body warmth surged as she straddled him sinking down into his lap, but frostbite curtailed any desire that quivered. His body trembled beneath her fingers and he finally looked into her eyes. His body tingled and convulsed and his eyes rolled, but he caught her gaze and it sent shivers of ice down his spine like quarry bolting from a rat. The warmth that teased his body radiated from her fingers, her arms, her legs and her body, but her eyes shone like an arctic ice-flow, blue and cold and frozen.

Deep within his recollection she evoked a stirring of love, an emotion now so void of worth, his brain couldn’t comprehend the feelings that fell like soft rain in his head. Memories surfaced, like drug-induced hallucinations and her velvet voice caressed his mind as soft as fresh snowflakes. Memories flooded his confusion, but he remembered her coy glance across the dancefloor, his arms pulling her into a tight embrace, her kisses, and her pleasure. He saw halcyon days beneath sun-drenched skies, beneath umbrellas and beneath the sheets. He saw devotion and love and – betrayal. His body recoiled at the memory. It was no longer her dark hair, her dark lips, her tropical beauty, but pale skin and fair hair that draped over his body beneath the bed-sheets.

He recalled her ice-chip eyes as they bore holes in the crisp white sheets as he lie beneath the blonde. Pain and guilt mingled in the frigid air amid the pleasure that writhed upon him. And his lover’s moan of disappointment before she fell across him amongst shattered glass and ruby beads of blood.

Now he sat, naked, chained and exposed in every way possible in a shed on a mountainside, and her eyes stared with cold indifference.

“You remember?” She kissed his ear and it stung with frostbite and shame.

He couldn’t respond; his body was too far gone to elicit any reply. The sores on his wrists from the chains seeped pus and black ichor, and his brain felt the same. She gently lifted herself from him and blew a kiss, then winter’s wind whipped around the barn and his heart shuddered as the bolt clanged back into place.

Memories faded along with his cohesion, and as she sat at another man’s table, and slept in another man’s bed, he faded from existence entirely.

(612 Words)

Love Bites 2016 - Arctic Chill

Today is our closing day…so you have a few more hours to get your entry in…go write about love gone wrong…and link up with the other fantastic entries

And if you loved this here are my previous year’s Love Bites pieces: 2013: Pillow Talk and 2014: No More.

And one of my fellow hosts’ piece: Ruth Long – Loveline and Fisticuffs.

When You Stop Running…

There are many reasons why people run away.
It’s important to have someone to come back to.

when-you-stop-running-the-last-krystallos-titleThe UK police receive more than 100,000 missing adults reports a year. Up to 80 per cent of these adults have mental health issues, and a significant number have experience of domestic violence, financial problems, family conflict, or alcohol problems. It is difficult to find statistics of those who return, but missingpeople.org.uk say few of them receive support to tackle the problems that caused them to go missing in the first place. The police are responsible for undertaking a “Safe and Well Check” soon after a missing person returns to find out where they have been, if they suffered harm, and to provide an opportunity to disclose any offending by or against them. However, following a Safe and Well Check, most adults do not get offered a proper assessment of their health and support needs, or help to get their life back on track, and consequently many go missing again.

© Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

It’s important to have someone to come back to, someone who will offer support and any help that is necessary. I’ve written about Running Away and how important it is to have someone to come back to…so maybe I should illuminate how I discovered this during a major depressive episode:

I woke empty. My tears were dry though my heart drowned and I moved through the early hours in automaton. I dropped the children at school then returned home. I pulled clothes from my cupboards and zipped up my bag. My heart thumped within the restrictive bounds of my chest, but I refused to allow emotions to surface. My hands shook as I drove. My eyes flicked to and fro like a frightened rabbit and blood pounded through my veins.

I drove. I drove miles and miles…and then kept driving. My hands gripped the wheel and my mind, still empty, focussed on nothing but the road.

I had no idea how far I drove, I just hit the motorway and kept going. Almost two hours later, about to cross the Severn Bridge and a single thought invaded, I had no money and if I crossed the bridge I wouldn’t be able to pay the toll to return.

For a few wild moments I toyed with continuing to drive, but my hands ignored me and pulled into the services. There, in a far corner of the car park, I let the tears fall and they fell until there was nothing left and emptiness filled my heart again.

© Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

I sat in my car for hours unable and unwilling to allow rational thought inside my head, until an alarm sounded. I automatically checked my phone but it was quiet. I tended to get caught up in writing at home and had an alarm that gave me fifteen minutes grace before leaving to collect the children from school.

No alarm had gone off, except the natural alarm within my head. Now thoughts of my children waiting for me at school, waiting for a mother who failed to return filled my mind. Those thoughts swarmed and turned to my husband and I imagined the school trying to contact him when I didn’t turn up. He would find calls queueing on his phone and worry. He would hurry to collect the children with thoughts of his errant wife in the back of his head…or maybe the fore front of his mind.

He’d return with the children to an empty home.

My mind played out the entire week and finally a flicker in my heart lit and fear ignited. The fear of leaving, the fear of being permanently lost overwhelmed me. Now the only thought in my head was home.

I drove those one hundred miles with a hammering heart and a depth I didn’t know I had.

My fifteen minute alarm went off half an hour from home. I was late picking up my children. Reality kicked back in as I got home. My children never noticed the extra bag I carried as they took their own school bags inside and they didn’t see my red eyes, and my empty heart kept well hidden.

Nobody knew about my bid for escape. Nobody knew for a long time.

try not to run away from those you nee let them be there for you, try not to run away, those who care, running away, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

I ran more than once. I ran in different directions. Sometimes I walked out of an empty home, sometimes I left people behind. But, and it’s an important but, when I walked away from family, they kept calling, they left messages, they texted…and when I was ready I returned.

There was always someone there who cared. There was always someone to go home to.

It doesn’t always work out, I know sometimes people run and they don’t come back, but sometimes they do.

And sometimes they don’t run too far or too long. I’m lucky that there is always someone to return to, and that they care enough to support and offer help when I need it.

In Beneath the Old Oak Meg’s mother goes missing due to mental health issues. Meg and her father go through the process of reporting a missing person and the stress, strain and heartbreak that goes with it. The important thing is, no matter what happens to Meg’s mother, her family remain hopeful.

missing persons, missing people, runaways, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

I cannot imagine the heartbreak of having someone you love go missing. If you run, please consider letting your family know you’re okay. The police have a duty of care and will be able to pass on a message and allow you to stay missing if that’s what you want. If you want to return home, again the police and charities they work with can help facilitate and get you home again.

116 000 is the number to call or text for a free and confidential 24 hour service from missingpeople.org.uk or contact your local police station. These links can help to report a missing person: missingpeople.org.uk and gov.uk.

Try not to run, but if you do, always remember those you can trust,
those who love you, those who need you.

Thank goodness for those you can come back to.

BeneathOldOak_Cover_Amazon-(1)-Low-Res-245kbTo read more of running away in ‘Beneath the Old Oak’ the book 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.

Dreams and how to be Happier

Have you ever wished you could be happier?
Life can be tough, but it’s important to find sunshine even on rainy days.

dreams-and-how-to-be-happy-the-last-krystallos-titleMy bishop spoke on being happy just the other week and, having recently gone to an Emotional and Mental Health Training Day organised by the church I attend, and currently battling depression, I listened with great interest.  What he said made a lot of sense and he later introduced me to the site www.actionforhappiness.org. Action for Happiness has no religious, political or commercial affliations, and welcomes anyone committed to building a happier and more caring society.
Today I’d love to share their GREAT DREAM poster with you:

greatdream_full_400 actionforhappiness.orgSo here we are: Ten Keys to happier living:

1. giving-dan-giving-blood-the-last-krystallos

Dan giving blood… © Lisa Shambrook

GIVING Do things for others – They say the best way to forget your own troubles is to help others and give service. There’s an old Hindu proverb: Help thy brother’s boat across, and lo! Thine own has reached the shore.

© Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

RELATING Connect with people – I’m a known loner, a typical INFJ, but when you are part of my life, it’ll be forever. I find socialising very difficult, so Facebook has become a life saver, quite literally, the place where I discovered my people. Without this connection, though I love my own company, I’d be lost.

Walking the dog © Lisa Shambrook

Walking the dog © Lisa Shambrook

EXERCISING Take care of your body – This has become more important to me as I’ve begun to understand how much exercise deflates depression. Your general health has a lot to do with how you feel, so look after yourself. I love walking Roxy, our german shepherd, and daily walks allow me to exercise and enjoy the outdoors. Last year, as a family, we learned how important exercise was. We used MyFitnessPal and lost a combined eight stone between us. Never have we felt fitter and better!

Appreciating beauty © Lisa Shambrook

Appreciating beauty © Lisa Shambrook

APPRECIATING Notice the world around – This matches exercise, get out and see what lives around you! I have so many posts on this blog about the wonder of nature, which you can find in the menu at the top under Articles in Simply Nature. I love wading through the ocean and rivers, wandering through woodland glens, climbing mountains and exploring the great outdoors. When I feel down, I need to be reinvigorated by nature, it makes me happy!

Learn more © Lisa Shambrook

Learn more © Lisa Shambrook

TRYING OUT Keep learning new things – Knowledge, you should never stop learning. There’s always something new out there, whether it’s keeping up with technology and the children or learning a new skill just for yourself. Just because our school days are gone, it doesn’t mean we should rest on our laurels, get out there and learn new things, have fun!

Set goals, dream big © Lisa Shambrook

Set goals, dream big © Lisa Shambrook

DIRECTION Have goals to look forward to – I once wrote this as a reply on someone else’s blog about achieving their dreams: I began life as a contemplative dreamer…a quiet, shy child with an imagination that spanned so many ideas. It took until I was thirty to turn those gossamer dreams into concrete goals, but I did and now I’m working hard to keep those dreams-turned-goals alive!

(There’s a)… difference hence my gossamer dreams and concrete goals. Putting something in writing, or into action changes the aspect of a dream into something solid.

Dreams have meant so much to me that my (first) book ended up with the tag line ‘it’s those silly dreams that keep us alive’…we need dreams to inspire us and we need to turn some of them into reality to make us grow. Goals are a way of growing and making things happen, but sometimes we just need those airy fairy dreams to give us hope and inspiration!

Bounce back © Lisa Shambrook

Bounce back © Lisa Shambrook

RESILIENCE Find ways to bounce back – Life wasn’t meant to be easy. If we didn’t know the sour we wouldn’t know the sweet. We need the bad to love the good. Opposition in all things is the way of life, don’t let it get you down, let it build you up instead. Be resilient. Be a cat. You know when a cat slips, or makes a mistake? They right themselves immediately and look at you like it never happened… be a cat.

Love life © Lisa Shambrook

Love life © Lisa Shambrook

EMOTION Take a positive approach – Life has negative and positive people. Be someone who people want in their lives. We all suffer at times, and it’s important to be there for each other through the tough times, but as with resilience, we need to embrace the difficult and allow it to strengthen us. The process of refining silver includes being blasted with fire…a lot, but the finished piece is beautiful and brilliant. Let’s concentrate on the good, the positive and embrace the sunshine in our lives.

Be yourself! © Lisa Shambrook

Be yourself! © Lisa Shambrook

ACCEPTANCE Be comfortable with who you are – Love yourself. It’s as simple as that. Whatever your beliefs as to where we come from, we’re all wonderful human beings, with amazing miraculous bodies. I love the Marianne Williamson quote, from ‘A Return to Love’: ‘…We ask ourselves “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually who are you not to be?’

Our deepest Fear... Marianne Williamson quote © Lisa Shambrook

Our Deepest Fear… Marianne Williamson quote © Lisa Shambrook

MEANING Be part of something bigger – My bishop spoke of our faith being something bigger and I took comfort from that. My faith to me is something that encompasses my entire life, my reasons for living and being. You may find something different. There are plenty of things in my life that give me reason to be, from my faith to my family, to my writing and many more wonderful things…embrace them and live happily!

Be part of something meaningful © Lisa Shambrook

Be part of something meaningful © Lisa Shambrook

Do you agree with these points
or do you have any more ideas on how to live happier?