Reblog: People’s Word of 2018: Cast your vote!

About Words - Cambridge Dictionaries Online blog

The team at Cambridge Dictionary have shortlisted four words that were added to the dictionary this year, and we would like YOU to tell us which of these words best sums up 2018.

There are over 100,000 words and meanings in the Cambridge Dictionary, but we are constantly adding to these, with almost 2,000 new words and updated definitions every year.

The four words we have shortlisted for the People’s Word of 2018 are:

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Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

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We’ve had an eventful couple of days. Fluff had fallen asleep with her main light on on Saturday night. Frank and I had gone to bed. She got up to turn the switch off and tripped on her way back to bed, falling face-first into the side rail. This caused an immediate massive nosebleed so she took herself to the bathroom, which is thankfully next to her bedroom, and promptly passed out. When she came to – which may have been as much as 30 minutes later – she called her sister and Chip ran downstairs to get me.

I dashed upstairs into a scene from a horror movie. There was blood everywhere. Fluff had begun to go into shock and was standing in the middle of the bedroom looking dazed and shivering, so I grabbed a blanket and wrapped her up in it, then made her climb into bed with her duvet tucked around her. Seeing a protuberation on the side of her nose I checked to see if it was in fact bone sticking out of her face – it wasn’t (at least, it had not broken the skin), but that and the bloody gash made me concerned. I told Chip to stay with her, warning her to call for me immediately if Fluff changed in any way, and made my way downstairs to the telephone. I dialled 999 and requested an ambulance.

Meanwhile, I used another phone to call my dear sister, the consultant paediatrician. I would advise anyone with children to have a consultant paediatrician for a sister. Very handy. She instructed me to give Fluff a cup of tea with sugar in it, so I sent Chip – suddenly turned remarkably helpful – off to put the kettle on. It’s true – the English response to any emergency is a cup of tea and I can confirm that this is endorsed by the medical community* (or at least, my sister). While we were waiting for Chip to return I prayed with Fluff.

By the time the ambulance arrived, poor Fluff was still shivering and looking dazed. On seeing the trail of blood, and the blood all down her legs, the paramedic – in his dry, Northern manner – commented that it was just in time for Hallowe’en.

Fluff managed to walk to the waiting ambulance and Frank went with her. I drove behind with Prince and Chip. It was a long night. A&E on Saturday night was busier than usual, including several individuals who were rather the worse for wear, but we all sat patiently in the waiting room, as we English do, the rough and the not-so-rough together. The police brought someone in and they too behaved as calmly as if they were just off to walk the dog. Gotta love the police.

Two young women – we’ll call them May and June – around the age of 20 brought their friend in – we’ll call her Sally – who had drunk too much, fallen and hit her face. May called Sally’s parents and calmly explained what had happened while Sally loudly informed the receptionist of her name, date of birth and address, so that everyone in the waiting room overheard. June held Sally’s head and her sick bowl and gave continual reassurance. That right there, I thought, is what it means to be a friend. I whispered this to a wide-eyed Chip, who was watching them with fascination adding, “Note how the other two are completely sober… You can have fun without getting drunk – and it’s safer.”

At just after 4am, as we were leaving the hospital, Sally was still there, and with a sheepish expression explaining herself to her bemused-looking father. She was much more alert. I reckon the only lasting damage was a bruised ego, poor girl. Sally’s situation was, I feel, quite an important thing for an impressionable 13-year-old to witness. Funny how things happen.

Fluff was admitted at 3am and subjected to a series of tests. It’s a forty minute drive to and from the hospital but I was back with her by 11am. She apparently had no memory of the night before, and had woken up in the hospital bed wondering what had happened to her bedroom, though she did remember falling. She kept asking to go home, insisting she was completely fine (she has an extremely stubborn tendency to stoicism). And eventually, after having seen the maxillofacial surgeon and having an ECG, deemed fit to leave, only now she was disappointed because she wouldn’t be getting the meal she had ordered for tea!

Throughout everything that happened, I remained calm. I was, however, concerned that the staff took Fluff’s symptoms seriously. This is the same hospital that missed symptoms of an aneurysm in my very dear friend last year which led to her death hours later, at the age of 38, after they sent her home. That was, as you can imagine, utterly devastating not least because she was such a vibrant person, so I kept reiterating the pertinent points about Fluff and her fall, probably tiresomely, to all the doctors and nurses.

Fluff is fine. She has a black eye and looks like she did a round in a tent with a feral cat but she and her brother are now happily playing with their guinea pigs and eating ice cream. I am cream crackered and resting, but fine. What I want to know is this: how come attending a theatre group prompted the PTSD blitz, yet going to the hospital with my bloodied daughter, in the same place my dear friend’s fatal illness was missed, prompted a self-assured, calm competence? What the flip is wrong with my head? How come the EMDR and BWRT have worked in some areas but not completely?

Meh. It’s all a journey. I’m just glad Fluff is ok.

*Please note that any reference to the consumption of tea as the true English cure-all is not intended to act as a substitute for proper medical advice…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Summer (and the End of EMDR)

We had a lovely summer. We’ve spent time together as a family and although three of us caught the dreaded lurgy and had to come home from our camping trip early, we had some moments that we will treasure. We explored the English countryside and rediscovered our ‘green and pleasant land’. Most of all (for me, at least) these few months since I finished EMDR have been a time of continued renewal and healing. Everyone says how well I look and those who know me well have commented on how I am interacting with people better. I’ve even been horse riding, which I don’t think I would have if it hadn’t been for EMDR. I’ve been so much more able to give of myself to my family, too. A great burden has been lifted that I’d been hefting for years. I can’t tell you how wonderful that is. I am so, so thankful!

A few highlights: Fluff won an award at school for attainment. There were 11 of these awards handed out to a year group of 130, so she was thrilled. This is the same little girl whom I was once told was below average. I always knew she wasn’t – it was just everything that she’d been through, and we’d been through. Frank and I have fought hard for her to have the best education, and to support her in all her learning. Little Chipmunk did her first ever dance exams and gained a Merit and a Highly Commended. Yay, Chip! My girls and I have taken up horse riding, and I have fallen in love with a beautiful gelding called Balthazar ❤  I’ve also taken up Pilates, which is far more difficult than I’d anticipated. Muscles ache the day after in places you never expected to even have them… Praise the Lord for ibuprofen!

We’ve been blackberrying and made jam for the first time ever. We’ve enjoyed picnics and walks in the woods. We visited:

 

FLAG FEN

3,500 years old!

a 3,500 year old archaeological site,

The castle had a bread oven. On the roof. As you do...

The castle had a bread oven. On the roof. 

an 800 year old castle and a 600 year old manor house. On visiting the castle and learning its age, Prince commented, “This place makes our house seem quite young, Mummy…” Quite so!

 

Enormous slices of Bakewell tart for Daddy and Prince

Enormous slices of Bakewell tart for Daddy & Prince

GRAFFITI

Century old graffiti in the castle

Our little archaeologist

Our little archaeologist

A green spider on the train one day

Fluff insisted on taking a photo of this green spider on the train. Wonder where he was going?

GIRL GARDEN

Little girl explores an English country garden…

Little girl let loose with a camera in the English country garden:

 

 

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So how about you? Have you anything to be especially thankful for? Have you done anything special over the summer (or winter, if you’re in the southern hemisphere)?

Quiet Sunday in the Rain: A Little Bit of Heaven

Despite the rain, we have had an enjoyable family weekend. We took Grandma out for lunch at a lovely English country pub with home-cooked food. Afterwards, we drove through little villages filled with chocolate box cottages, past fields whose edges were scattered with perky daisies and nodding poppies. I couldn’t help but marvel, even in all the rain, even under the greyest of grey English skies, how incredibly beautiful the landscape is. It feels more like home than anywhere else. I don’t mean that any particular stretch of countryside, or any particular place feels like home, I just mean the act of being in the wandering lanes feels like home, especially in the rain, passing fields and hedgerows and elegant cypresses. The grey skies and the rain seem to make the green even greener; even the air is scented with a fresh, full-bodied scent that one can only find on an English summer’s afternoon in the rain. It’s the type of smell that makes me think of scones and jam and teapots and camping and gentle chatter and… well, home. I wonder if heaven will be a little bit like that? I hope so.

Rain, Steam and Speed by J.M.W. Turner, 1844 (wonderful painting – so ahead of its time!)

Anyway, now we’re home. Grandma is back at the care home. My dear MIL becomes distressed and very confused if she’s still out by late afternoon so nowadays we make sure she’s back in time for tea. She was tiring by the end anyway. Fluff and Chip are at their swimming lesson and I’m about to pop a cake in the oven for tea. What could be better than this?

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have everything I need.
He lets me rest in fields of green grass
    and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water.
He gives me new strength.
He guides me in the right paths,
    as he has promised.
Even if I go through the deepest darkness,
    I will not be afraid, Lord,
    for you are with me.
Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.

You prepare a banquet for me,
    where all my enemies can see me;
you welcome me as an honoured guest
    and fill my cup to the brim.
I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life;
    and your house will be my home as long as I live.

Psalm 23 (GNT).

I couldn’t have said it better myself. A perfect psalm for today. Thank you, Jesus.

Celtic Blessings 2

I love learning about Celtic Christianity. To learn the stories of the courageous, spirit-led men and women who first brought God’s breath to these murky shores. Their stories are in some ways so alien, as they are many centuries removed, yet so human, so filled with the God of grace that one can’t help but be fascinated by the stories of Columba, Aidan, Cuthbert and Hilda. And then later we have the same spirit working through Lady Julian, John Bunyan. Later still the Wesleys, William Wilberforce, the Booths… Truly amazing. What a rich spritual heritage we enjoy! Frank and I have been through a year of Celtic Daily Prayer and have now begun Celtic Daily Light (whose author lives on Lindisfarne, apparently). I look forward to learning more. Frank has been to Iona and Lindisfarne. I would so love to go. Maybe we will, now that the children are a little older.

A Pastor's Thoughts

I am the wind that breathes upon the sea,celtic_cross.jpg

I am the wave on the ocean,

I am the murmur of leaves rustling,

I am the rays of the sun,

I am the beam of the moon and stars,

I am the power of trees growing,

I am the bud breaking into blossom,

I am the movement of the salmon swimming,

I am the courage of the wild boar fighting,

I am the speed of the stage running,

I am the strength of the ox pulling the plough,

I am the size of the mighty oak tree,

And I am the thoughts of all people Who praise my beauty and grace.

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I saw a stranger last night.

I put food in the eating place,

Drink in the drinking place,

Music in the listening place,

And in the Name of the Triune God,

He blessed myself and my cattle and…

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