When I tell you that I love you. A love letter to my husband on our anniversary.

When I tell you that I love you I mean I love you for you, that funny,irrepressible you that hides sometimes behind layers of flippancy or Dad jokes.

I don’t just love you for the way you look, although of course that’s always been a part of it, that cute smile that drew you to my gaze.

I don’t just love you for what you can do for me although you do countless things for me every day and every week, month in and month out. Some things I take notice of and some I regret to say I probably take for granted.

I love you because you’re kind, to me and to other people. I love the way you go out of your way to help others sometimes. I love the way you father our children, the way you make them laugh or teach them to swim or read them Lord of the Rings endlessly.

You are a good man. You have been a good husband and I am proud to be your wife.

When we first began, even when we first married I was full of fear because I knew from childhood experience that love is not always enough to keep people together.

I came from a broken home. You did not. At times I worried for us. Who would teach us to navigate the difficult areas of life?

When we would first argue I would fall back on old habits and tell you to go. You would clear your head but resolutely stick by me.

We have weathered our storms. No more and no less than others perhaps but the things that might have broken us have not.

We have 5 wonderful children. It’s just that one lives in Heaven for now. And I want to tell you honestly despite our hard times I have always been glad you are mine.

I am so proud of you and the man you are, have been and are becoming.

I pray that God will continue to knit our married lives together because I have to say you are still my favourite person to be with and spend time with.

I love you honeybun.

Suzi xoxo


Remind me again that I’m blessed Lord.

Remind me again that I’m blessed Lord
when the wash bin is overflowing
when my house is a mess
and all of the stress means
my nasty temper is showing.

Remind me again that I’m blessed Lord
when my ego is out of control
when those airbrushed chicks
with their retouched pics
devour the peace in my soul.

Remind me again that I’m blessed Lord
when I feel like I’m losing the fight
when the only romance
happens by chance
and my husband goes out like a light.

Remind me again that I’m blessed Lord
when my family with affection I see
when the joy in my heart
comes from knowing in part
that they have to put up with me!

Suzanne Rollinson

Why I’ve given up being jealous (Almost)

In my younger years I was a very jealous person, I suppose I could laugh about it and say that’s why God gave me green eyes. I definitely suffered from the Green Eyed Monster. I use the term suffer because that’s how it felt. It was painful and all-consuming and made me bitterly unhappy. I assume it stemmed from low self-esteem and insecurity and parents who from time to time would comment on my weight in such a way that made me feel their love was conditional based on my size. Ironically I was a normal size then. Now I am bigger than I would like but am slowly making my way down again.

When my husband and I were first married I put him through an awful time due to my jealousy, although I feel this was heightened by being on the pill which seemed to magnify my emotions. I could not cope with him being with other girls, talking to them, laughing with them. I was convinced there was a hidden agenda. He never, ever gave me a reason not to trust him but I still could not. I recall one particularly embarrassing time we ended up having an argument in church over this matter and I stormed out. How immature I think now. Do you ever look back at moments in your life and just cringe? Jealousy was like a demon sitting on my shoulder whispering malevolent tales into my ear. It made me question everything and doubt his love for me. It was a sorry time for both of us.

Even though we were married and I had so to speak won and  he had chosen me, it was not enough. I was convinced he would leave me if a better option came along. This may be rooted in my own Father’s adultery and my parents subsequent divorce. Anyway he could not do right whatever he did.

I knew , really, that he loved me and I was being irrational but couldn’t seem to see a way out of it. There was no magic formula for us. It took great patience on his part combined with huge doses of reassurance and if I’m honest the stability of many years for it to dwindle to a manageable level.

For anyone reading this, hoping for a quick fix, I’m sorry, in my case there wasn’t one. I have given you one example of how jealousy undermined my marriage but before I met my husband and married him, jealousy was a prominent feature in my life. I was jealous of my friends for a myriad of reasons, not just that they might have been prettier or skinnier than me. If they seemed more popular amongst our circle of friends I was jealous. If they got selected over me to sing a certain song at church I was jealous, never mind that their voice may have been better suited for it. I was jealous as well when my friends were friends with other people.

If you’re reading this thinking well you can’t have been very nice company you should know that most times I hid it very well. I knew it was wrong. I tried not to let it take possession of me. A friend of mine once told me when I was broken-hearted over a certain boy dating someone else “Just smile and put a brave face on it and one day you’ll be able to do it for real”. Sage advice I still employ.

It may always be part of my nature to tend to insecurity and jealousy, to feed the old man, as the Bible says. I don’t however have to encourage it.

My title is Why I’ve given up being jealous (almost) and my reason is because I choose not to live that way. I choose not to let it have dominion over me. It’s no way to live.

Other than the worry of wrinkles, growing older is freeing in a way. I realise now there will always be people prettier and thinner than me, more gifted at singing and writing, more talented at life generally. But with age comes wisdom and now I know that other people’s gifts do not come at the expense of my own. I am not worthless. I still count.

Yes, it is an ongoing battle. I still suffer a momentary pang when my friends look better put together than me, I still worry when they spend time with others sometimes but to a far lesser degree.

I realise there is enough of my friends and my husband and my family to go around.

Please don’t allow yourself to be crippled by jealousy like I was. Please don’t sit in a corner feeling insecure and worthless and unliked. Those feelings are lies. You are not worthless, you do matter. You have to make the decision to not allow those feelings heart room. To nip those jealous thoughts in the bud before you are hopelessly green with envy.

Please don’t let jealousy and comparison of self with others steal your joy.

Till next time.

1 in 7….

Before you read on this post is about miscarriage and baby loss so if that is not what you want to read about on a dismal Friday afternoon please don’t continue.

It has been said that at some time in their lives 1 in 7 women will suffer a miscarriage, possibly even fewer, perhaps 1 in every 3 pregnancies. This subject has been refreshed in my mind because 15th October was Pregnancy and Infant Loss remembrance day. And because I suffered a miscarriage also. The date is still fresh in my memory, 31st January 2001. I was 30. I already had a little girl and was expecting this baby in August of 2001. I was ignorant of the high risks of miscarriage and assumed because I had already had a successful pregnancy and birth everything would go as smoothly the second time.

I was about 10 weeks pregnant when I noticed I wasn’t feeling the same as with my first pregnancy. I no longer felt sick or so tired. I had crampy pains on and off. I’m sorry if this seems too much detail but Miscarriage has been a taboo subject for too long. It is either widely commented on or swept under the carpet and ignored.

I went to the hospital for reassurance. Deeply worried. They performed an ultrasound and were unable to locate a baby’s heartbeat. The sac was only measuring 8 weeks when it should have been 10 weeks. I went home and prepared myself for the inevitable. That night I went on to miscarry. I count myself lucky it was such an early miscarriage.

I remember feeling numb. I remember the inappropriate things like laughing at something the doctor said, like being put on the gynecological ward that I knew was directly underneath the Labour Ward, like apologising to my husband for something that was clearly not my fault. I remember asking what would happen to the baby and not wanting to know the answer.

There was no medical reason apparent for my miscarriage. It was just an unexplained event. I came home from the hospital and went to bed, devastated. However I had a little girl to care for who didn’t understand what had happened and she needed her mummy too. I was one of a group of three friends who were pregnant and they still had their babies growing strong inside them.

Everywhere I looked I seemed to see women pushing prams with babies in or heavily expectant mothers. There were probably no more than normal, it was just more apparent.

The hospital invited me for counselling which consisted of a 2 minute interview. The consultant just said “You’ve got one healthy baby, you’ll be fine next time”. I could not believe her insensitivity. I don’t know if I have ever grieved properly. Life crowded in and I had to get on with it. By the time my August due date arrived I was pregnant again and despite a scare at 13 weeks went on to have a healthy boy in the February of 2002. I don’t know why these things happen. My son is 11 now and I believe he was meant to be here and I could not imagine life without him. But every year towards the end of January especially I think about the baby I lost.

I think I had it easy in a way. It was a desperately upsetting thing to experience but rather that than the stillbirth my Mother endured. How would I ever move on from that? 30 years later and she still thinks about her “Sarah”.

I would be lying if I said the pain had not eased with time. We have 4 children now. 3 girls and a boy and I never experienced miscarriage again. I know I am very blessed to say that. I am glad there are services now to remember these beautiful babies. They need to be remembered and celebrated too. They are a significant part of us. I remember an awful lot of people comforting me and asking how I was but not realising my husband had suffered a great loss too.

As a Christian I believe that one day I will meet my baby again in Heaven and will finally be able to give it that longed for hug and kiss.

To anyone else who has been through this please know you are not alone and I care for your pain because we are all in this journey together.

Remembering our little ones.

Till next time.

This too shall pass?

What do you say to someone who no longer believes life is worth living, who feels they have lost all they ever cared about? Who, when they go home and close the door, are met with silence? As Christians we are encouraged to comfort those who mourn. A beautiful sentiment in the Beatitudes. But how do we cope when its time to put this into practice?

Too often we are at a loss, we are scared and embarassed by the silences so we try and fill the gaps with our many words. Recently, I hugged a stranger, an old lady who had lost her husband and was obviously utterly bereft. Perhaps it was an invasion of her privacy? All I know is, when I saw her standing there weeping I could not make myself heed the social conventions, I had to comfort her.

I, myself, am not a stranger to depression. Most of my maternal relatives suffered with post natal depression to some degree. MIne was particularly bad after the birth of my 4th child, an event I had looked forward to with no qualms whatsoever. A combination of a difficult birth, an uncaring consultant and a small age gap (20 months) between children left me feeling out of control. A chance remark from a friend about her child who cried all the time buried itself in my subconscious and I became convinced I couldn’t cope. I used to phone my husband at work in floods of tears, begging him to come home. Because I felt not taken seriously I made superficial cuts to my wrists and took myself to a & e hoping they would keep me in and she would be looked after by someone else. But they just gave me a psych evaluation, asked if I was likely to try again and sent me home with the baby!

I know now this was for the best because if she had been fostered I may have lost her forever. Things came to a head when I packed a pitifully small bag, hopped on a bus and left the kids at home with my husband , and ran away. I don’t know what my intentions were. I traveled an hour away , lasted a few hours by myself, gave in and called my husband and he came to get me!

We decided on a radical solution that no one agreed with , that, because his mood was constant and not up and down like mine, that he would stay at home with the children and I would go out to work. His workmates told him he should divorce me. I got a job in my local supermarket, still not knowing if my breastfed baby would take a bottle from her daddy until my break in my first shift. I was still highly emotional, particularly when a crying baby came in. I felt incredibly guilty leaving her.

You might be wondering where the church was in the middle of all of this? My church at the time were fantastic, to the point of coming down to help dress the children if it felt too much. They organised a rota of people to be with me all the time, before the job swap. They couldn’t have done more. Unfortunately depending on who was sitting with me my moods were up and down . I just wanted to sit with my baby and feed her and that was about it but some well meaning people wanted me to tidy the house and get dinner on ready for my husband when it was all I could do to get out of bed!

At the worst of my depression I felt as if I was in a big pit of darkness that I couldn’t climb out of. I felt abandoned by God. I was scared to go out and scared to stay home and felt like there was nothing to look forward to.

Gradually with the help of going out to work and antidepressants I began to see some light at the end of the tunnel. I used to count the number of nights I had managed to look after my baby and my other children and realised I was coping. On a bad day I just tried to get through a couple of hours, on a really bad day I just tried to get through the next half hour. Gradually the hours built up and one night I stopped counting.

Once I was on a more even keel I realised God had been there all along, I had just been blinded by my feelings and my circumstances.

Jesus was no stranger to difficult feelings. He felt rejection from his family and peers, he felt abandoned on the cross and he wept over Lazarus’s grave.

I want to tell my friend who is suicidal that there is a possibility these feelings will pass , that she won’t always feel as bad as she does now. That maybe if she can get through the next hour she can get through the afternoon. My heart aches for her.

In the past I have been guilty of well meaning Christianity which offers platitudes and instruction but no real comfort. I have spoken volumes when I should have listened and not spoken when it was needed.

Today you will encounter people, maybe a hug or a listening ear or a hold of their hand may do more than a well meant word. People just need to know desperately that somebody cares.

” All I know is He who I am supposed to serve would not have passed by without looking on you and making you well” (unknown quote).