We are all guilty of this. Guilty of not stopping to take stock. Guilty of not stopping to say 'thank you'.
Life moves so incredibly fast and there are so many trials and pressures on us from so very many areas, that it is understandable that days, weeks, months can sometimes pass without us simply stopping to take a breath.
When periods of time such as this happen it takes a shock to sober us up.
This shock is more often than not something that scares or saddens us, such a a bereavement or tragedy of some kind in the news.
There have been all too many shocking tragedies in the news this year.
Horrific acts of violence and mindless persecution.
What good are they? What are they for?
We can't take them back or save the people who have been brutally massacred, so how can we make their deaths or loss not in vain?
These are naturally pretty deep questions, ones that have troubled philosophical minds for centuries, but we are entitled to our own opinion on these things and I personally think that in order to find a speck of good from these awful events, we have to try and learn from these mistakes as a collective 'we' of humanity.
If nothing bad ever happened I believe we would become a selfish people, desensitised and ungrateful for the good and wonderful gifts in our own lives.
If we went through life never seeing the bad and dreadful things, then I believe our selfish and greedy sides would ingulf our good and grateful nature.
So in honour of those poor people who have lost their lives tragically to the evil of mankind, we must not only try and learn from the mistakes of their persecutors, but we should also try to value everyday of our own lives in tribute and respect to them and show more love and kindness to one another in an attempt to try and offset the evil that is all too prevalent in our world.
Other than the general world horrors that have naturally troubled us all this year, I like so many of you have had my own personal trials to awaken me from my complacent slumber.In July of this year I had everything- everything and more than I had ever wished for.
After years of being told that being a mother would unlikely ever be possible, I was about to celebrate a year of the blissful joy that was being Mummy to my beloved Florrie. I had also just found out that I was expecting another miracle baby.
Garry and I were naturally ecstatic. This was so much more than ever expected and life was amazing.
Then on Florrie's first birthday I miscarried my baby.
Garry and I were naturally deeply saddened, but soon things would take another unexpected twist and challenging twist and our emotional and spiritual strength would be tested.
As the days passed by after the loss of the baby, I became more and more unwell and soon I was being taken back to the hospital.
After many tests I was informed late on a Friday evening that scans had shown I had a blood clot on my brain.
Having thought I was about to be told I was going home, I remember how utterly floored I was by the Dr holding my hand and giving me her heartfelt condolences.
I then went on to spent three days in limbo. Any of you who have had to spend any time in NHS hospitals will know that as wonderful as they are, nothing happens at the weekend.
The staff on my ward were simply wonderful, refusing to send my husband home at the end of visiting hours and moving me into a side room to give me the space to process my news.
And that is exactly what I tried to do, as I woke for observations in the early hours of that Saturday morning, I felt a strange sense of peace as I watched the sunshine paint the walls of my hospital room with an orangey glow, I grabbed my prayer book and poured out what was in my heart.
I toyed with writing my prayer out for you here, but I don't think there is a need to.
My point of sharing this story with you is to show what this scare did to me.
Prior to that day I, like most of us was consumed by deadlines, panic over the long list of correspondence I had to reply to both social and personal admin, and stressed and exasperated over stupid little things. I am a worrier and am forever being told not to stress about things by my husband but to no avail; everything always seems so important and like so many, I was guilty of working into the night before taking the time to eat, let alone sit and reflect on what was really important.
As I looked down the barrel of uncertainty none of that mattered anymore.
All that mattered on an initial level was seeing my baby girl when she was allowed to visit and then of course finding out just what was going on in my brain.
72 long hours later and the consultants returned after meeting with the neuro consultants from Charing Cross hospital. Incredibly the specialists had now decided that the blob on my brain was not a clot but an Arachnoid Granulation or cyst.
More investigation was needed, but it was decided that this could be done with me as an outpatient, so that I could be at home with my family.
I was allowed home, but I was unable to be alone with my baby girl as my symptoms were such that I was still collapsing to the floor and feeling very unwell.
This period of limbo seemed to go on forever- I was home and thankful to be there, as well as incredibly grateful to not have a blood clot on my brain, yet I was still feeling too poorly to do very much at all and I still didn't know what my 'brain blob' was and what it meant.
It was a strange juxtaposition of feelings, one that to some degree I'm still feeling today.
Fast forward five months and there have been many consultations, scans and investigations but still no concrete answers.
On a day to day level I am much, much better than I was and thankfully able to be alone with my baby again, but the question marks still stand as the investigations have brought to the surface some other issues that may or may not be related.
Despite the natural concern of these investigations, there is so much good that has come from these events- The biggest being a change in me personally, that the complacency I once had has gone and been replaced by a desire to value each day I have and this has to be a good thing.
I have always believed that good has to be found in bad or tricky situations, however difficult it may seem to find it at the time.
There have obviously been events in my life before this that have made me evaluate and reassess things for the better, but this time of celebration that turned to sadness and then uncertainty really hit me hard, but ultimately for the better I believe.
Like everyone, I was guilty of wishing time away, like those last hours leading up to bedtime when Florrie would be particularly exhausting and my pain especially hard to deal with, particularly if Garry was away, and of course we're all guilty of becoming frustrated with or wishing away the time spent stuck in traffic or in a waiting room or boring work situation.
I now savour the seconds. I try to spin the frustrations of being stuck on a journey into an opportunity to have some child free minutes to say a prayer or be thankful or to just listen to the silence.
Good has come from bad as my happiness and appreciation for life is so much more intense. More than ever thought to be possible.
On this the last day of 2014 I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of my friends and family for being in my life, for making me smile and for helping me achieve my dreams of being a mummy and helping others with Get a Life! Foundation.
After two years of wading through the obstacles of setting up a charity from scratch with no financial backing, we are finally beginning to get somewhere thanks to the amazing efforts of family and friends.
In March, some incredible guys and gals from 32 (The Royal) Sqn of RAF Northolt cycled 90miles around London for our charity, in October the Phoenix Choir, I.W. sung their hearts out for us and throughout the year my good friend and the wonderful soul that is Eltjo De Vries has been raising money for us by donating the proceeds of his wonderful storytelling evenings at Isle of Wight libraries.
Probably the most heartwarming of all of the fundraising efforts has come from the innocence of children, when Eltjo's children Eltjo Kaelin De Vries and Alura Rose De Vries along with their school friends Sophie, Isobel and Sam, took it upon themselves to make bracelets and cakes to sell to their friends and school, completely off their own backs. They raised £43 for Get a Life! Foundation and made me cry with their kindness in the process.
There have been so many other kind donors of raffles prizes and sponsorship over the last year that this blog post would take you until next year to read if I took the time to name them all personally so please know how thankful I and the other Get a Life! trustees are to you all.
At a time when we are all looking at pledging to do things differently in our lives for the coming year, I instead am going to pledge something a little different.
I am going to stick by the lessons I learnt from my challenges of 2014 and keep doing what I've been doing for the latter half of this year- that being, however tired I am at the end of the day, however much pain I am in that I want to be rescued by the sanctuary of sleep- I am going to continue taking the time to reflect on my day and say 'thank you'.
To me as a Christian my 'thank you' is said to God and Jesus, but the point is that it is a 'thank you' that you simply take the time to say, it doesn't have to be to anyone, it may just be a time spent reflecting on what is important. I personally feel that by taking the time to do this since writing that earnest prayer of desperate hope in that hospital bed on 7th August has made me a better and more grateful person ans subsequently made my life richer.
The principle of taking time to give thanks and gratitude also comes from the teachings of Rhonda Byrne's The Secret which I have credited previously for helping me through difficult times.
I have used this book again to keep me strong recently along with 'Diamonds in The Dust' by Joni Eareckson Tada.
Joni has lived the most incredible life after being paralysed after a diving accident as a teenager.
She has been my inspiration for many years and her book of daily deviations and reflections has helped me through many a dark or lost day.
We are human and I am by no means perfect so I know that I am going to disappoint myself at times and revert to being angry or frustrated by the world, but my goal after learning the lessons from my challenges of 2014 is to try to be grateful for all that I have and make the time each evening and/or morning if I can to say 'thanks' because I have so much, not least amazing family and friends and readers of this blog who continue to surprise me with not just your presence, but also your wonderful support with all of your emails and comments on the blog.
I say 'thank you' to you and for you and I wish you all a 2015 blessed with good health and happiness and a presence of mind to stop and take stock of all that you have.
God bless you all.
Have a good one tonight and make some amazing memories with friends and family.
Love and thanks always,