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All entries tagged with “faith”

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    Thesis writing season - Feb 1st, 2017
    I am entering thesis writing season now and am really looking forward to the stress and excitement that it will bring. I am not sure how long this season will last, and I’m not sure how my well-being will survive it, but I am really looking forward to it. Not because I’m looking forward to experiencing the stress, but because getting through this season is a massive part of getting to the Doctor Ryan bit of these PhD Dreams of mine. [more...]

    2017: The year of doing - Jan 1st, 2017
    Welcome to 2017. This is the year. This is the year that so very many very wonderful things are going to happen. This is the year of greatness. This is the year of doing; of getting things done; of success and joy and everything else wonderful. [more...]

    Bye-bye, 2016; you’ve been wonderful! - Dec 31st, 2016
    It seems that 2016 is a year that has left a lot of bitterness for people across the world—for so many reasons. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard negative sentiments people have shared about the year. And, sadly, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve complained about what an awful year 2016 has been. [more...]

    A Christmas graduation - Dec 23rd, 2016
    It’s Christmas Eve Eve (which means that tomorrow is Christmas Eve) and I am acutely aware that this Christmas is different from all of my previous “post-widowhood” Christmases. I feel, I don’t know. I feel less sad. Not happy; not cheerful and Christmassy. Just, not sad. It’s almost as if I’ve graduated from the deep sadness that comes with a widowed Christmas and I’ve moved into a slightly melancholy, not sad, but not happy, place for the holiday season. [more...]

    Ran a mile in my shoes - Nov 12th, 2016
    (Nearly) sixteen weeks ago, I broke my ankle. And that means I haven’t broken any running goals in nearly four months. In fact, I haven’t been running at all. Until today. And then, I ran a mile. A whole mile. Yay, me! [more...]

    I wobbled - Nov 7th, 2016
    Sometimes in life, you wobble. And no matter how strong and sturdy you thought you were, you begin to sway back and forth; wobbling. That’s what happened to me these past few days: I have started to wobble. [more...]

    The buck stops here - Oct 27th, 2016
    That’s it folks: the buck stops here. Actually, I suppose I should say the pound stops here. Why? Because my last PhD stipend payment was today, and that means I have no more money coming into my bank accounts—bucks, bobs, quids, or otherwise—until I am finished with my PhD and I get a job. [more...]

    Finding calm - Oct 10th, 2016
    My time at Serenity Lodge is coming to an end, and I am finding that the calming serenity I found here is starting to fade away, too. Not because this has become a less calming place, but rather because I know that the calm will (mostly) end when I re-enter my reality later tomorrow. [more...]

    Zadar: A Catholic girl’s paradise - Sep 30th, 2016
    I spent last week in Zadar, Croatia, for an academic conference. But the timing of flights meant that I had a free day to explore the city on either side of the conference. (Yay!) When the trip was first planned, I knew I would spend my days exploring the various churches, monasteries, and convents. Unfortunately, a broken (but healing!) ankle slowed me down a bit so I wasn’t able to see everything I wanted to see. Still, I managed most of the highlights. (But there was no climbing up bell towers, sadly.) [more...]

    Third passport firsts - Aug 27th, 2016
    I received my new American passport yesterday. But despite this being my third passport, it will also mark several passport firsts in my life. But then, each of my passports have marked important “firsts” in my life! [more...]

    Fostering love - Aug 14th, 2016
    My life was forever changed six years ago, when I opened up my home—and my heart—to a young girl who needed me. The year that followed was filled with the ups and downs of foster parenting, all while still adjusting to my life as a widow. [more...]

    Only the lonely - Jul 10th, 2016
    When you live your life without a partner, it can be lonely. Even if you fill your days with friends and acquaintance, it can be lonely. Even if you enjoy a bit of solitude and are generally happy with your being, it can be lonely. Even if you are never alone, it can be lonely. It’s a loneliness that seeps into your soul; a loneliness that only the truly lonely can understand. That loneliness lives inside of me; it follows me around even when I’m happy. [more...]

    Thesis summer - Jul 1st, 2016
    This summer is Thesis Summer for me. It’s the summer when I must, without excuses, get my head down and write, write, write! Luckily, July and August are two months devoid of conferences, training events, seminars, and other activities that take me away from my focus. So I’ve decided that I will devote them to my thesis; I will devote them to my PhD dreams. [more...]

    Representations of me - Jun 22nd, 2016
    I attended a PhD workshop the other week. It was one of those touchy-feely things where they wanted to talk about coping strategies for balancing life and a PhD. About half-way through the day, we were all handed a lump of grey clay and asked to make a representation of ourselves out of it. And that’s when I realised I really didn’t want to be in this workshop! But I was there, so I had to play along. [more...]

    Conquering the law - Feb 21st, 2016
    I arrived in North Berwick yesterday for my birthday weekend, with a plan to conquer The Law as part of my visit. And since yesterday was spent exploring Tantallon Castle and the coast, today was the day to climb the hill! [more...]

    Dilapidated beauty - Feb 17th, 2016
    With my birthday just around the corner, I am more aware than normal that I am getting older. I am ageing; I am becoming more and more dilapidated as time goes by. I’m not upset about it, I’m just more aware. And, I suppose, I’m a bit wistful. [more...]

    Defining happiness - Feb 16th, 2016
    As I (slowly) make my way through Tal Ben-Shahar’s book “Happier”, I am faced with questions of just what happiness is. I know that I want happiness; I hope for happiness; I pray for happiness. But what is happiness? Is it as simple as being happy for a moment in time? Is it a long-term state of happy emotion? Or is it something else altogether? [more...]

    Happy milestones [or not] - Jan 21st, 2016
    I have decided to finally read “Happier” by Tal Ben-Shahar. It’s a book I acquired nearly two years ago, but I’ve never quite got around to really reading it. Instead, I’ve just flipped through the pages from time-to-time. I think the reason I’ve never really read it is that I have always felt odd passing by the self-evaluations (called “time-ins”) and personal exercises. [more...]

    Hopeful butterflies - Jan 10th, 2016
    I want to fly. I want to soar into the sky and touch the Heavens. I want to reach all of my goals; I want to succeed! I know I have it in me, but I often allow myself to let my fears and insecurities take over, preventing me from spreading my wings; preventing me from realising success. [more...]

    2016 half goals - Jan 2nd, 2016
    Right. It’s a New Year and therefore time to state my new running goal. And for the first time in a long time, my goal doesn’t include a full marathon. It’s hard to say that, but I know it’s the right decision at this point in time. Especially because training for a full marathon really impedes my ability to hit my half marathon goals. [more...]

    Starting 2016 - Jan 1st, 2016
    I woke up this morning ready to start the New Year with hope and faith for a good 2016. Not with the naive notion that this will be the best year I’ve ever had, nor with the belief that it will be a year of nothing but joy and happiness. No, I don’t dream of a perfect year, as I know perfection is a myth. Instead, I simply dream of a year where I am more happy than sad; more healthy than ill; more productive than lazy; more optimistic than bleak. I pray for a year that starts and ends with laughter and friendship. [more...]

    Wrapping up 2015 - Dec 31st, 2015
    With 2015 quickly coming to an end, it’s time for a bit of reflection. And as I look back at my hopes for the year, I am pleased to say that I’ve succeed in all but one of my hopes—the desire to learn how to sew a skirt. But I didn’t even attempt that one, as I realised it isn’t a truly important goal for me. And so, I’m calling the year a success! [more...]

    A selfie Christmas - Dec 25th, 2015
    Hello and merry Christmas to you all! As I mentioned the other day, I am spending my Christmas (mostly) alone—but I am doing so with new and old traditions to keep me company! [more...]

    The holiday hush - Dec 23rd, 2015
    The holidays are here again, and that means I’m facing an extended period of holiday hush. “Hush” because, like most years, I will be spending Christmas and New Year alone again*. Only this year, I’m going to work really hard at not being too hushed. [more...]

    Gastropod grief - Dec 17th, 2015
    It started a little over a year ago. Every few days, I would wake up and there would be faint, shimmering lines on the carpet in my bedroom—always along the path of my laptop’s power cord. My first thought was that maybe there had been an electromagnetic something-or-other that interacted with the man-made fibres in the carpets. I didn’t really give it much thought, especially as it wasn’t a daily occurrence. [more...]

    A quick hello - Dec 9th, 2015
    Hello, dear Just Frances readers! It’s been a while since I’ve shared a post so I thought I’d pop in and let everyone know I’m alive. And let you know that I’m struggling a bit… Not about anything “serious”, but rather about what to share. [more...]

    Another year closer - Nov 16th, 2015
    Yesterday marked two years since I began my PhD studies. And that means I am another year closer to being Doctor Ryan. It’s a title I’ve longed for since I first began my bachelor’s degree all those years ago, and being this close to actually having it is pretty exciting! [more...]

    Saving the best for last! - Sep 28th, 2015
    I ran my last Loch Ness Marathon yesterday. (Maybe.) And I accomplished a PB whilst doing it—which was totally unexpected. Even better, I am nowhere near as sore as I was the day after my first (and slowest) Loch Ness back in 2011. [more...]

    Balancing lonely and love - Aug 15th, 2015
    Some days, I think about how lonely I am, and about how I want to find someone to share my life with. I think about how I want to find someone I can love, and who will love me back; about how I want to find someone who makes my heart sing with a joy so loud that it drowns out the loneliness. Only it’s not all that easy to find that person. If it were, I wouldn’t still be alone after more than six years of widowhood. [more...]

    Certifiably sane - Jul 3rd, 2015
    For nearly two years now, I’ve been experiencing an extreme amount of stress. Some days and weeks have been harder than others, but there hasn’t really been a period of un-stressed time. And a few months ago, the stress got so bad that I was struggling to function. [more...]

    Adventuresome - Jun 29th, 2015
    I want to have adventures. Ideally, I want to have some of those adventures with someone I love. Or at least I’d like to have some of those more of those adventures with friends. But since I’ve managed to be an absolute failure in finding new love, and the vast majority of my adventure-having friends are loved-up (or have children or are very busy or all of the above), I only have two choices: Skip the adventures or go on adventures alone. [more...]

    I laughed - May 21st, 2015
    Ten years ago today, I became Mrs Ryan. I stood there at the altar in front of God, family, and friends—with my beloved Paul beside me—and I laughed. Oh, how I laughed. [more...]

    Between sleep and awake - Apr 25th, 2015
    I rolled over this morning in a sleepy haze to snuggle up to Paul, sure he would be there lying next to me. But he wasn’t there—I was merely fooled by that moment in between sleep and awake; that moment when your realities merge into a peaceful memory of what once was. [more...]

    Resetting routines - Apr 13th, 2015
    I spoke the other day about the higher-than-normal levels of personal stress I’m experiencing, and that I feel I need a break from my current way of life to re-set my soul. Part of the problem is that I’ve been unable (unwilling? unmotivated?) to create a routine over the past 18 months. [more...]

    Breaking points - Apr 9th, 2015
    Life is hard these days and sometimes I wonder what my limits are. Sometimes I wonder how many more disappointments and frustrations I can manage before I reach my breaking point. And, to be completely honest, I’ve felt very close to finding out in recent weeks and months. [more...]

    An Easter treasure hunt - Apr 5th, 2015
    As the Easter Bunny didn’t leave me any eggs to find at home today, I had to arrange for a wee treasure hunt of my own. And I did it in the way of a geocache near where I live. [more...]

    A widow dating rant - Mar 28th, 2015
    I think one of the hardest things about dating as a widow(er) is the guilt that comes along with it. Worse is that some of the guilt comes from other people—and is sometimes laced with a bit of shame for good measure. And it means that the already emotionally charged act of dating is complicated by the confluence of so many negative and frightening emotions. [more...]

    My PKD story - Mar 11th, 2015
    As part of World Kidney Day and National Kidney Month, the PKD Foundation has asked people to share their PKD story. This is mine. [more...]

    Looking for love - Mar 4th, 2015
    Dating is hard. Dating in your late 30s and early 40s is hard. Dating as a widow is hard. And trying to do all three at once is a massive challenge! (I imagine that had I been blessed with children, dating would be nearly impossible!) [more...]

    Just a widow burden - Mar 1st, 2015
    From time-to-time, I get emails from people reading my blog. And today was one of those days. It seems that a relatively new widow, Lucy, found Just Frances last week and has spent several days scouring old posts about widowhood—as well as posts from my old widowhood blog. [more...]

    Lenten rice - Feb 18th, 2015
    Today is the first day of Lent, and also a fasting day in the Catholic Church. I’ve decided to observe several fasting days over the Lenten period and I’m oddly looking forward to it. [more...]

    Focused in February - Feb 1st, 2015
    I’ve decided to dedicate February to getting back into a good, healthy routine. The idea is this: If I can re-focus enough of my energies, I can spend more of my days feeling accomplished and less of them feeling scattered and lost. [more...]

    Life laughs - Jan 19th, 2015
    Sometimes I feel like the world is laughing at me; like life is laughing at me. Sometimes I feel like my entire life has been one failed attempt at happiness after another—though with short bursts of joy before tragedy strikes! [more...]

    Every penny counts - Jan 7th, 2015
    What’s a penny worth to you? Is it worth stopping what you’re doing so that you can bend over and pick it up? What if I told you that one penny could make a real difference in someone’s life? [more...]

    A hope-filled start - Jan 1st, 2015
    Welcome to 2015! It’s a new day; a new year; a new opportunity for happiness and joy! And as always, I’m choosing to start the year off with hope! [more...]

    Reflections of 2014 - Dec 31st, 2014
    The end of a year can only mean one thing: An obligatory end-of-the-year reflections post! At the start of the year, I had grand visions of joy and laughter. Things were going rather well and I felt confident that it would be a year of mostly good and happy things. [more...]

    Christmas wishes - Dec 25th, 2014
    Christmas is a special time in my world, because it is the celebration of my saviour’s birth. And as it’s a birthday celebration, birthday wishes are a must! So these are my Christmas wishes for you, for me, and for humankind. [more...]

    A year of PhD dreams - Nov 16th, 2014
    Yesterday marked one calendar year since I matriculated as a research student in the Institute for Informatics and Digital Innovation at Edinburgh Napier University. It’s hard to believe that more than 15 years after first thinking about a PhD, I’m finally making progress on one! [more...]

    I am; I want - Oct 26th, 2014
    Yesterday’s writing prompt was to write “I am” ten times, then fill in the rest of the sentence. Today’s was to write “I want” ten times, then again returning to fill in the rest of the sentence. I decided to combine the two prompts into one post, as they are ever-so-slightly related. [more...]

    A flourish of hate - Oct 12th, 2014
    Today’s creative writing prompt was simple: Craft a story or a poem based on the metaphor “A flourish of hate”. Only it wasn’t actually simple at all. In fact, it was pretty harrowing. [more...]

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