Giving & Gratitude

When it comes to kindness, there is absolutely no need to discriminate against any identifiable means because it is about humanity in general and acts of giving without any expectations of receiving in return.

For so long there has been a frustration of sorts building within me seeing the simplest things in life being taken for granted. Be it the roof over your heads, certain (branded) clothes being worn, the hot meals and comfy mattresses you lay upon, the NHS and free medicine being provided for us – the list is endless. The extremely close shave I experienced a couple of years ago taught me to take nothing for granted, now cherishing every little thing and being all around me.

“Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle” – Plato

For this reason, I am now trying my very best to spare a moment to remember those who may have been left outdoors, especially during those cold winter nights. Recently I, via the Tree House, have been able to appease that frustration of helplessness. In true spirit of the Tree House, this has meant this is now starting to catch on with other dwellers through their acts of kindness. So far, we have saved numerous left over meals and received donations of various kinds of cakes with which we approached homeless people and gave.

“Thank you” they gratefully say. And if they have a pet with them, they are more than happy to share with their “best friend” – Without a question.

Nigel and his best friend who enjoyed the leftovers from our Chinese meal.

There are those who had everything and lost it all and there are those who dedicate every minute of their remaining lives to make sure the homeless has a hot drink at least. They are among the unsung heroes of today’s societies. They are trying their very best in being the change they wish to see in the world.

So let us organise café meet ups with CAKE(!) donating to a charity of your choice, perhaps asking cafés to participate in “Suspended Coffee” schemes too. When you have a meal, please save your leftovers and seek out the homeless in order to make their day. Maybe even nominate/challenge your friends to pay it forwards too. Please?

One can only hope this act of compassion and kindness will help to keep them going, to keep the faith and to have hope. That not everyone has a stone cold heart, that they are not oblivious to everyday people. They are still someone’s child who were brought into this world for a reason.

A drop of kindness goes a very long way, much more than you realise.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” ― Leo Buscaglia

Carpe Diem – every day by being true to yourselves.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Our Top Fifteen Pet Hates.

Quite a few people detest hearing the chalk scrape on the blackboard, my son really dislikes the sound polystyrene makes and just how it feels to the touch. Here, during a supposedly full moon which explains why some of the Tree House dwellers were stirring, listed are some of our pet hates.

1, First and foremost: Tinnitus – this is extremely draining and in some cases debilitating.

2, Negative body language – Keep your chins up luv.

3, People relentlessly tapping on our arms or shoulders – Surely once is enough?!

Do's and Don'ts by Matt Daigle
Do’s and Don’ts by Matt Daigle

4, Regional signs such as “middle fingers stirring the sky” which could mean “available” or “holiday” to others. Some deaf people think this is only deemed rude by the hearing while some deaf people also find this sign offending – Each to their own.

5, The sound of “Applause” apparently tends to drive some deaf people nuts. *Hands waving*

6, Static shocks – There are those who are full of static shocks but take pleasure in shocking others (!)

Comic Strip by Jim Davis
Comic Strip – Garfield.

7, Visual noises i.e. Feet twitching in the corner of our eyes whilst trying to watch a film or read something.

8, People adamantly tapping on the table which is ultra-loud to a deaf person due to our other senses being enhanced.

9, We might not be able to hear them but we can still smell them – Trumping and in some cases flapping!

10, The wind noise from within our cars due to the rear car window being open whilst driving as the wind vibrates on our hearing aid microphones. Who seconds wind noises?

SJ: I was once travelling back down south by coach with the kids and in the distant we spied a wind farm. My daughter seemed puzzled and asked me what they were, I explained it was a wind farm. She then asked why there was one? To which I answered most innocently “because too many people keep eating beans.” A moment later the penny dropped. The most priceless grin – ever!

Wind Recycling.
Wind Recycling.

11, The feeling of catching our fingernails, the vibrations via the blackboard or garage doors only for the paint flake off and get wedged inside our nails.

12, Not being able to cut our nails when we have broken it – which is why I now carry a nail clipper on my set of keys. Light-bulb moment.

13, The touch of the newspaper or magazine due to its texture is enough to make some deaf people break out into goose pimples and make their hands shake!

14, Wooden ice lolly and ice cream sticks. The texture and how we have to be careful not to bite on it or scrape it against our teeth to avoid the feeling, the noise it makes, the taste and the risk of splinters. The worst has to be the ones the doctors uses to look down our throats which terribly dries out our mouths.

Wooden sticks.
Wooden sticks

15, Sudden police sirens which our hearing aids amplify – Try living in Central London?!

Compiled by SJ (Sara Jae)

Will My Child Be Okay?

As any mother would naturally anticipate and share the same relative concerns of “Will my child be okay?” Yet when it comes to that precise moment upon finding out a child may have a form of a challenging disability, we all take a moment to reflect on it.

One rather anxious mother’s question of the like was asked of Coordown when it was confirmed after agreeing to undergo tests for Down’s Syndrome; her unborn baby would have this genetic condition.

Here is an extremely heart-warming video response they (15 people from around the World) made for her which I am sure gave her goose pimples as it did me and I shall take my hat off to Coordown Group for one of the most reassuring letters.

Enjoy…

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

A Few of My Favourite Things.

Writing from the bottom of my heart, I have never experienced such indescribable heartache like I did before. I could never, ever wish the same ill feelings upon another, yet when I recognise someone is in a similar place, there beholds a potential trigger. A form of darkness has taken hold and will almost certainly spiral out of control if not attended to in time. As they say, “It takes one to know one”. Familiar symptoms and cries for help in the sense of “I’ve had enough” or “It’s too much” are more than often the very first tell-tale signs.

Depression, when misunderstood, not listened to, unsupported, not considered or unappreciated is inevitably an extremely isolating and harrowing place to be, but also very revealing because, these are the precise crucial moments when we realise who our real friends are and who loves us. Who wants to be there for us, be it through thick or thin. They are the ones who would not dream of looking down at someone unless they were helping them up.

There are those who will misinterpret or manipulate the situation to their own understanding, experience and liking. So much so that I once asked a friend in frustration “Why do people listen to rumours or what someone else has said when they haven’t seen the evidence for themselves? And why do people let their personal feelings get in the way of their public service work?” No response was given, which did not bother me because my conscience was and is clear.

However, life has to go on. There have been times when I have had to drag myself out of bed, dreading another day on the same rollercoaster of emotions and thoughts. “My kids need me” I would drum into myself and kept trying to remain strong, although I felt I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I had to keep on going somehow, one foot at a time until one day, I was hurting far too much – I had been kicked while I was down, which broke my heart and then to add insult to injury, kicked in the teeth by “friends” all of whom became the catalyst. I had been strong for everyone else up until this point but now I needed strength, from somewhere, someone too. There were times when I contemplated “giving up” but I told myself otherwise. I knew my kids would miss me too much and this would be the ultimate sin. I also understood, remembering friends who had tried in the past, that this was not the answer.

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviour. Keep your behaviour positive because your behaviour becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”  – Mahatma Ghandi.

It was now time for me to start making some major positive changes.

One of the best things I ever did was to start removing myself from destructive situations caused by negative people. I no longer have any time or patience for those who did not deserve it. Granted, they deserve a little bit of lee-way to test the water with, but once their true colours have been shown and confirmed by abusing their right to free speech with disrespect, they can simply “do one”. If not physically, then at least mentally. I also stopped being friendly with those who only wanted to benefit from my help. In starting to take back control, this gave me the confidence to stand up and put people in their rightful places where necessary.

I remember a day out as a young girl with my grandparents, who were driving across the moors. Dark clouds were visible all around us with sparse patches of sunlight bravely bursting through. I asked my grandmother “Why are there dark clouds all around but the sunlight is on us?” She replied reassuringly, “The sun shines on the righteous.” I learnt right there and then how we should always stay on the righteous side.

A few of my favourite things.

One other poignant memory is how my grandmother would write out the lyrics from any musicals we watched so I could follow, often feeling warmth from watching my sister and grandmother singing their hearts out. One of the most memorable songs has to be “A few of my favourite things” from the ‘Sound of Music’. The lyrics literally came alive and held so much meaning, through my grandmother’s joy in remembering her favourite things, and her family being around her.

Warm chocolate cake, seeing people smile, hearing them laugh, feeling the warm embrace of the sun, the beauty of Mother Nature and going out into the refreshing pouring rain, are just a few of my favourite things. I decided to heal myself from within, so I no longer felt so bad.

So be around those who bring light to your life, not stress. Take comfort in your loved ones as they will always be there for you no matter what because they don’t mind who you are. Stay strong for you are not alone. Those who make others smile, laugh, hug them which helps to heal, show respect and kindness – regardless, you will have unknowingly helped more than you realise.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”

– Leo Buscaglia.

I felt compelled to write this, albeit very personal post, in the hope that it will benefit another from reading it, providing them confidence and inspiration. Please, keep on smiling because the best things in life is free and does wonders.

Have faith and “Carpe Diem” – Everyday. Positivity rules x

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

(In memory of my beloved grandmother)

 

The Light From Within – The Official Logo.

Ever since The Tree House started, which was inspired and supported by friends who have since become my rock, I started to sense it was now time, we had an official logo. Something we could be proud of and reflected who we are.

Upon expressing my wishes to my husband (who set out to try and initially surprise me) His first logo for me, us, was extremely hippy themed. I liked it so but it wasn’t “Us”. Taking ample time before showing it to the rest of the admin team for their opinions which were more or less the same of mine.

Finally I plucked up the courage and asked him for his help in designing a new logo but with me. Fresher, simpler and more like “Us”.

We started right from scratch. keeping the outline of the hands signing “Tree”.

I requested simple leaves, no lines but shaded, placed flowingly yet well arranged. Poor hubby was ever so patient – “Turn this leaf this way up a bit more, this one over there” and so on.

Work in progress was being realised.

For some reason, I did not want a house on it as I felt that would interrupt the peaceful flow, making it less unique, less original and less modern. I hesitantly made one more last request, an internal light coming from within the tree symbolising the warmth of its members within the Tree House. This became the final piece of the jigsaw and suddenly before me, was our logo – a work of art.

© The Tree House 2014
© The Tree House 2014

I could now, feel the warmth from the artwork my husband (very patiently!) conjured up for me. Every time I peek at our new official logo, I beam that little bit more, with warmth, hope and respect for everyone who has been a part of the Tree House since day one, at present and in anticipation.

Feeling mischievously spontaneous at all hours of the morning, I decided to seize the day by posting the logo onto our FB group, wondering how it would be received and duly retired to bed – my pillow had been missing me. 😉

Much to my relief as I woke, it proved very popular and was admired. A few suggested there was no need for the second arm to which I pointed out, those who do not know the sign for “Tree”, the second arm looked like its shadow while a friend commented saying “the other hand symbolises the roots and stability as the tree continues to flourish and grow.” Spot on.

I am not one to take pride in anything because pride to me, is not a good attribute to have yet seeing how Tree House has been, is being nurtured, continuing to bloom and grow by the people making it what it is – I cannot help but be in awe of everyone.

The Tree House has saved me, my life from darkness and influence that was fast swallowing me up.

My husband and newfound circle of friends who have been there for me without fail, without judging me, without realising it so – I hereby dedicate this post, and our official logo which is original and unique – the only one of its kind. To each and every one of you, for being the light from within.

Thank you ever so, for being you – I am honoured to be graced with the pleasure of your company.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)

Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia!

Cioccolata calda.
Cioccolata calda.

Ca’pucino’s signature whipped hot chocolate prepared the Italian way… Mamma mia indeed!

Come la ‘dolce vita’.

Cogli l’attimo….

Once upon a time in an Arabian café somewhere in London, a patient waiter met me.

Waiter: what would you like to drink?
Me: Hot chocolate please.
Waiter: We don’t serve hot chocolate anymore.
Me thinking (What?! are you joking?! This is a cold country for about 9 months of the year and you don’t serve hot chocolates?!): Oh, ok…
Waiter: What would you like to drink?
Me (beaming with a kind smile): Hot chocolate please…
Waiter now smiling…: For you, I will make one.
Me: \O.O/// Thank you!
Moral of the short story: If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Spoilt for choice.
Spoilt for choice.

“I used to be indecisive but now I am not quite sure”

Tommy Cooper.

Heart melting.
Heart melting.

“Language is for non-lovers, those who are not in love. For lovers, silence is enough language. Without saying anything, they go on speaking.”

Osho.

Some eye candy – just for you:

Simply divine.
Divine by name and divine by nature.

“A sense of humour is the only divine quality of man” 

―  Arthur Schopenhauer.

Chocolate brownie and hot chocolate
Truly scrumptious.

“Mamma mia, here I go again

My my, how can I resist you?

Mamma mia, does it show again?

My my, just how much I’ve missed you”

Abba.

Hello truly scrumptious…..

Mouth watering.
This cat got the cream….

“Life is mostly froth and bubble,

Two things stand like stone.

Kindness in another’s trouble,

Courage in your own.”

Adam Lindsay Gordon.

A 99 with a flake impersonation.
A 99 with a flake impersonation.

“Teasing’s part of the fun that comes before kissing”

Lois Lowry.

chocolateunderstands

Sara Jae
Sara Jae

“Happiness is not a goal…it’s a by-product of a life well lived.”

Eleanor Roosevelt.

“So much chocolate!” I hear one remark… to which I shall respond with “Tis a girl’s prerogative” 😉

May your day be special, with treats galore.

~ SJ (Sara Jae)