returnee…

Dear friends 

I’ve returned to my blog – it’s been a while, I know.  After the surgery I was signed off work until Christmas Eve and then I already had annual leave booked for the last week in 2016.  Then a wait for the biopsy results – all OK for which I am grateful to Father 🙂  So, unexpectedly, I was not at work for the whole of December 2016.

I returned to work on 3 January 2017, as many people.  And due to the transfer of the property business, I returned to my former and first ever employer, the city council.

I returned to my desk, with various trade literature and unopened post – after two days it’s still in my in box, unopened.

I returned to my projects – a little model completed for the feasibility study and several outstanding technical queries on the construction project (with a contractor stating the delay is due to ‘us’).

I returned to discover that such was the concern for me that they had approached a local company for costs to deliver the feasibility study!  I’ve had several colleagues welcome me back.  Since they are all predominantly male colleagues my stock answer is I’m fine – no point getting into a conversation about recovery after laparascopic surgery of a gynaecological nature! – and I swiftly move the conversation on to QS resources, retaining walls or the return to local government.

Back in the home, we’ve also been looking into returnees to Africa.  There’s lots on YouTube.  As the house in Africa is becomes bigger and our mortgage here becomes smaller (can something grow smaller?…) the prospect of going to Africa long term becomes more real.  It will be an adventure for me; it will be returning home for my dear husband. Some would say for me too, clearly, as my ancestry will include slaves taken from Africa to the plantations of the Caribbean islands.  I have many deeper thoughts on this.  I am grateful to Father to know that somewhere in my family, ancestors survived the ridiculous barbaric cruelty of slavery to have offspring and become free.  Free to grow and return. 

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time for posts

Dear friends

This is a little unusual.  The house, apart from me, is empty.  My dear husband and dear children all have some activity at church this evening and since our small car broke down today (I’ll explain in another post but I don’t want to complain… let’s simply say, I’m glad it didn’t happen on my shift!), they’ve all headed out in the big 7-seater – and I’m home alone!  This is a rare thing.  I also, do not have any paid work to do – I worked a full day in the office (being dropped off by dear husband with our dear daughters at about 0815h – Son1 did the school run for Son2 today) and I finished assessing last Saturday all the log books which I’ve received to date (that’s my second home work job for a local university).

So, I can indulge myself in Wordpress, blogging, reading posts, you and me, at least for another hour or so until Son2 is dropped back home.  Rice is steaming, ready to accompany wonderful African sauces, including egusi prepared by my dear husband yesterday evening – yummy!  This moment is bliss.  I’m even on the laptop which means I can type faster than when I post from my tablet.  🙂  I’ve prepared a quick list of topics in my hard journal which have been mulling around my head the last few days – storm naming (Storm Imogen reached us Sunday night – what a noise!!), US presidential election (I’m fascinated with watching this from over here but I’m guessing for my US readers it’s either starting to get tiresome or interesting?), LDS women (there’s a few conferences and things that we’ve been invited to, I won’t go to all of them but I’ve some thoughts about being a (?an) LDS woman, a 2.3 mile run yesterday morning (yes, 2.3 miles, rather than 2.3km!), but I’m going to start with a work related topic, a design team meeting…

blogging… et al

Dear friends

I’ve been having a bit of a blog designing session – and it’s all left me feeling exhausted.  It began yesterday with Daur1 designing a blog logo/ banner and has ended with me trying on and off various themes to find one that I feel portrays me!  For a designer of buildings, I’ve found it difficult to get my head round why certain themes don’t do certain things and although there’s probably some add-on/ plug-in that can be done, I’m not into the technological aspects that badly.  I simply want it to be attractive, easy to read and navigate, and reflect a part of me. What do you think?

I return to work tomorrow after two weeks on leave so that is probably adding to the exhausted and stressed feelings.  Although, it is all change in a few weeks; the assistants will go back to university and we will have at least one new one.  And a couple of the projects were at feasibility and concept design stage so it will be good to work a little more conceptually while others are still on holiday.  Despite my moans about work, I do enjoy being an architect!

I’ve had quite a few thoughts about what I want to write about – there’s clearly the whole death of a lion issue versus death of a negro; I’ve been doing family history and have been thinking on how I bear the signs of yesteryear; a new shopping centre has received planning permission and it looks like another ship (I need to do a blog on how many buildings in our town look like ships).

I think I’ve shared this scripture before but it does seem very appropriate for all the eclectic thoughts going round my mind, from Mosiah chapter 4, verse 27, King Benjamin’s words:

And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.

time for yourself – a poem

Dear friends,

I mentioned how a few weeks ago we cleared out the garage.  Well, I came across one of my old sketchbooks from university days, 1990-1991 and in the back was a poem I wrote for a project.  I think every RIBA School of Architecture does a ‘design a retreat’ project – no-one can claim that RIBA validated architecture courses are anything other than creative – I sketched the section of an onion, wrote poems and drew an androgynous figure!  Anyhow, I thought you might enjoy reading the poem – I’m not a poet, I’m an architect, so I’m sure the more literary among you will see room for improvement 🙂

time for myself

Time for myself and not for the world

of strife & malice …

and competition

to succeed, to win.

Why never to be yourself?

But here’s the chance

with a time of its own,

and still enough time for me.

So that I can grow,

in the world

but not of it.

A chance to dream, or rather ponder

without worry of waking,

work, food, work.

Here, at one with nature –

for are we not nature ourselves? –

we can be honest,

with nature,

with ourselves.

Having honesty enough not to hide

– we can hide but a short time in our dreams

from the world –

but if we are true to ourselves,

we need no dreams to hide in,

for we have nothing to fear.

The world can not harm us,

it can not touch us if we are honest,

showing integrity

being ourselves.

and then we can go back,

knowing that we’ve lived,

to our fullest potential,

And,

knowing that we had time for ourselves & not for the world,

living for that one dream, above all,

To return.

 

Wednesday calm…

Dear friends

You might notice a trend with my posts – I tend to write more on a Wednesday because all are out (youth activities), except our youngest and I can spend time cooking dinner.  Why is Wednesdays child full of woe? I love Wednesdays!!

I’ve spent some time checking the latest blogs from those I follow – there are some great thoughts, images, buildings and blogs out there. Thank you all for sharing a piece of yourself.

I’m feeling more miserable about work than usual; I checked out some job adverts and saw a part time one (in academia) and thought how that would give me the chance to explore some things that I want to.  Although my dear husband sees my misery it’s hard for him to encourage me to change the status quo.  Something is going to have to change!!  I’m not going into detail now but it’s not a happy place to work = 😦

Thankfully back home is a refuge, a busy one, but a refuge. We’ve all got new passports now – that’s an investment in itself – and making plans for our holiday on the continent at the end of July.  A dear neighbour has said we can stay in their second house for a week. We’re all excited – the two youngest have not left these shores!

I feel blessed to find calm and solace in troubled times.  I know work will still be there tomorrow but sometimes you’ve got to let tomorrow take care of itself. Today is now and I want to enjoy the rest of today. The past is done. All I can change is the future and that hasn’t yet happened 🙂

memories

Dear friends, what triggers memories for you?  The strongest memory trigger for me is music. I hear a piece of music, a song, and I am instantly taken back to a time and place far from my present circumstances. Allow me to share a few.

Van Morrison ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ – it came on the radio as a dear friend drove us to the temple in a Range Rover (that’s important because it’s one of my favourite cars and she’d managed to borrow one for the day 🙂 ) to be sealed, that means married not till ‘death do us part’ but, potentially (depending on our faithfulness) for eternity. Our friend made a comment that it was for my new husband, for us.

Kool & the Gang ‘Celebration’ – will always take me back to youth dances, in the first year after I was baptised.  I was 17 and loved the activities and dances but they were also awkward because I was the new girl, everyone had been friends for ever (it seemed) and I had little in common with my peers.  I spent most of the dances with the adult leaders who did speak with me and encouraged me.

Elton John ‘I’m Still Standing’ – I’m 14 or 15 years old and ready to face the world.  I loved the summer of this song – not for anything I did, I’m sure we would have done nothing spectacular as we never went on holidays.  But I must have been in upper secondary school,  I’d chosen my subjects, which included Engineering Drawing and I’d abandoned Biology 🙂 I knew what I was doing, what I wanted to be, how to get there and I knew I could get there. I was quietly very confident of my course in life, more than many in my friendship group.

I understand the role the Comforter has in helping us remember, John 14 v 26

… the Holy Ghost … shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance …

This is primarily referring, I think, to learning our Saviour’s teachings but I feel we need to remember events in our personal lives, they can give us courage and hope.

The point of all this is that I’m thinking of introducing a regular memory slot.  This will help me in my goal for ‘The Quiet Ones’ – if you don’t know what I’m talking about you need to read my ‘writing it down’ post from last week.

writing it down

Dear friends, many years ago, before marriage and children, I decided I wanted to write a book.  I mentioned this to someone who stated, with a hint of cynicism, “everyone has a book inside them.”  I was a little put off by this but I had a title The Quiet Ones and a topic, my life 🙂 which I felt was pretty special.  
My dear husband has always encouraged me to pursue this desire but there’s always been other priorities that demanded my time and attention.

So writing my blog is a small way of sharing the topic of my life, which I still feel is special. In fact, I feel everyone’s life is special and to be shared with all those in their sphere of influence. (Which reminds me – did you know that a rolling sphere theory is used to work out requirements for lightning protection on buildings? I digress but I’ll come back to spheres one day!)

So, writing it down means that sphere has a chance to roll through time, as well as space!! From a Garrison Keillor book “you can’t pick up a telephone to reach the past. You’ve got to pick up a piece of paper” (or similar phrase), I think it’s from We Are Still Married. I’ve always remembered that idea.
On the radio this week was the story of how a building was being refurbished and a child’s note to an older brother was discovered fallen behind a radiator 70 years ago and he was traced.
There is a whole load of quotes from LDS leaders as to the importance of journal keeping. I’m only going to quote one, Spencer W Kimball, Ensign, December 1980.

Each of us is important to those who are near and dear to us – and as our posterity read of our life’s experiences, they, too, will come to know and love us. And in that glorious day when our families are together in the eternities, we will already be acquainted.”

So, writing it down, my unique life, your unique life, our unique lives, is of great importance to you and yours. It doesn’t matter how long or short we live – each life matters. There are many that can write far more eloquently than me on matters of writing. For me, it gives me the chance to reflect; for you, well, I hope you can find inspiration and a knowledge that you are never alone.

when I miss a day …

Dear friends

When I miss a day or two,  I hope you’ll be patient, forgive and not be disappointed with me.  I write in moments when I can, I write and share because it brings me, and hopefully you, joy and peace.

When I miss a day or two,  I hope you will remember that I am not a ‘professional’ blogger – which is why I love seeing your sites and and what you have written,  designed and shared.

When I miss a day or two,  dear friend,  know that I have dear family (as I’m sure you do) who need my attention as wife, mother, daughter, they are truly precious and dear to me.

When I miss a day or two, take a look at lds.org and my profile – http://www.mormon.org/me/CWCP/Vanessa – these will give you understanding of the perspective I have on life.

And finally, when I miss a day or two,  read this blog again,  read my other ones, and know that the Lord’s “grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me,  then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12 v27).