A Day of Reflection

A Day of Reflection

Hi there

Thanks for popping in. March 23rd. Always been a big day in my life – well at least for the last 31 years. It’s Grace’s birthday, you see. So thirty-one years ago today, I was just coming round after an emergency C-Section, to the news that I had given birth to a beautiful baby girl. Miracle baby numero uno! Grace by name, Grace by nature.

Happy Birthday dear Gracie!!!

One year ago today, the country went into a pandemic lockdown, so this year the 23rd March represents the anniversary of that doom n gloom day too. What a year, eh? Who could have foreseen this past year?

I found a very apt video online, which about sums up the last 365 days…

Time for reflection today then.

If you are reading this blog, you are one of the survivors. A lot of people didn’t make it. So just for today, let’s get grateful. I give thanks to the heros who have kept the NHS going for us. I don’t even have words to describe my immense gratitude to the Doctors and Nurses and Helpers and Carers and Hospital cleaners and Ambulance Drivers and frontline volunteers and and and …

I remember right at the outset, at Clarity we went into full mask and Viser production for the NHS. Used all our acetate that we usually use in our Stampmaking process to help laser cut masks on the machines we usually use to make stencils and Groovi plates. Massive priority shift. A splash in the ocean, but it was what we could do to help until masks and PPE were readily available. Then spent a small fortune trying to replace said acetate and get it back in stock! Ah well. It was all for a very good cause.

Seems like an eternity ago…

Never thought we’d be locked down one year on, did we? And with another Covid wave on the horizon. It is indeed a challenge. But like it says in the BIG BOOK of wise words:

It is never the event but how we react to it that will ultimately affect us.

What else have we done to help, to contribute? Well, there’s the SHAC SHAC of course! Our 10am get togethers have certainly kept a lot of us sane! Me included!! Doodling and colouring along with each other has given our weeks a little structure, and our creative minds a little nourishment…

Within days of the Lockdown, we had set up a full on TV studio above the garage, so that I could do a daily SHAC session on Facebook LIVE, AND keep appearing on HOCHANDA.

Lights, camera – SHAC-ACTION

Amazing what you can do when you have to, isn’t it. We all stayed indoors -and did our level best to stay safe and sane.

We still are!!! Many of us have had one or both of our Vaccines now, which is a great big step in the right direction, but this situation is what it is, and will be for a while yet, eh…

Travel restrictions may have hampered our holidays, but haven’t we been on some fab trips in the SHAC SHAC Bus?!? Up up and away!!

We will be celebrating our one year birthday of the SHAC SHAC at the weekend. In fact, we just had a Clarity Zoom meeting to Make a Plan, and we are certainly gearing up to keep you entertained and smiling. There will be competitions, super offers and deals. If there’s anything you were thinking of buying, wait till Friday! I would….

We’ll be popping a special postcard in with each order placed at the weekend – a nice one to reflect on the SHAC SHAC..

We’re there to keep you company if you need us. One year on and nothing has changed there. As the Lockdown hopefully lifts and you are able to get out more, always remember that we’ll be hanging out in the SHAC if you need us. It’s free, it’s fun. And it’s safe.

And today, shall we all light a candle at 8pm and have half an hour of quiet reflection? I will. I think it’s important.

Keep Safe.

Love and Hugs

Barb xxx

57 thoughts on “A Day of Reflection

  1. hear!! hear!!!
    Maggie (Bendy Yorkite)
    …AND along came the two little vikings in the last 12 months.

    1. Well said. We so need to remember all the people who have put their lives on the line for us and especially the extremely vulnerable people. I also want to thank you, Barbara, for giving your time to us for the last year. Happy birthday Grace xx

  2. It has been a funny old year which has affected all of us in different ways, even without us realising it. Who knows what the future holds but till we get into the future, just enjoy Grace’s birthday. I’m sure you’ll be feeling a lot more energetic today than you were 30 years ago today. Lots of love. Hxx

  3. Lovely words. A year to reflect and full of emotions. Thank you too for the time and friendship you have given. I am sure we have all laughed and cried with you. I know I have!
    Wishing your beautiful daughter, Grace, a very Happy Birthday and I hope you will all be able to celebrate in style very soon. xx

  4. You will never know how grateful shacers are all around the world for your kind and thoughtful words and for keeping us all sane during some very dark times. I hope Grace has a super birthday. Xx

  5. What a lovely blog post Barb, thank you, for being there, helping us stay safe and smiling. You have been such an inspiration to us all, and such a fantastic teacher. My old art teacher would be amazed at what I’ve achieved with your help. Here’s to more shac shac.
    Huge thanks again to you and the Clarity team.
    Much love

  6. Put in two orders yesterday. But am sure I can find something else to buy at the weekend. Thank you for all you have done to keep those who were stranded at home. I came home from work and enjoyed looking at what you did even though I could not get up the energy to do them. I know that the nurses and doctors I work with thank everyone for staying at home. Us admin workers thank you all for doing this as well.. keep up the good work Barbara and the clarity team.

  7. Well said and we appreciate everything that you and your teams do for us and will continue to support you along the way xx

  8. Wow what a year, and what saviours in more ways than one have Claritystamp been! Little did we know we would still be hanging out in the Shac Shac.
    We have something in common, my first two children were by emergency c section and my last by planned c section. I’m sure you can’t wait until you get to see Grace again but hopefully it won’t be too much longer. Xx
    We do have so much to be grateful for just by still being here a year on! Will be reflecting too this evening and continuing to be thankful for so many things.

  9. I happened to be in Waitrose this morning, my delivery not having quite everything required, and at 12 noon we all stood still for a minute of reflection. I was at the till and all those staff on the till got up and stood in a straight line behind the tills. It was quite an emotional moment really. Happy Birthday to Grace 😘

  10. Oh Barbara what a year we have all had. Those of us still here have so much to be grateful for. Happy Birthday to Grace. It is my Uncle’s 87th Birthday today. What changes he has seen in his life time. Thank you so much for the Shac Shack. It has been a life line for me and I have learnt a lot. Now I am learning Groovi. I wonder how things will be in a year’s time. Take care. Hugs xxx

  11. So beautifully written Barbara and you echo the thoughts of so many. Please add yourself and the Clarity team to the list of saviours, as you have all done so much for us and the SHAC SHAC has been invaluable in my life.
    I am really emotional today and have been in tears so many times. Pictures of NHS staff, Capt. Tom, Kate Garraway, the man who was not allowed to comfort his mother at his dad’s funeral and all those who lost loved ones. It was so much over one year, but when you see a collage of it all in one day, it really hits home.
    On a happier note, happy birthday to your beautiful Grace. What a daughter to be proud of. Hugs. Annette X

  12. make me cry why doncha, thanks Barb to all at Clarity, we just know you have the wheel that drives the cogs and your little umpalumpers are just magic, I know we one day will part company at the shack, but we will always have you on youtube
    and maybe you could come up with a monthly show, if you can fit us in that we all can follow ,like Paul, many thanks to him also, getting me going again with parching, anyhow take care ,happy birthday Grace, lots of love to all, from Yvonne a very grateful pensioner

  13. Birthday wishes to Grace.
    Thank you for your words of reflection. The year will have altered many people’s lives:living through an historic event and altering perceptions.
    We join you in thanking those who have worked throughout; wonder how they felt hearing many say how bored they are staying at home!
    Stay safe and carry on where possible.

  14. Well said. I personally am very grateful that all my immediate family are safe and well,miss them dreadfully but at least they are here. Others have not been so lucky ,life will never be the same for families left behind. I will light a candle,not sure I will stand outside,legs are far too painful at the moment.
    I am ready to put an order in after moving into a craft room upstairs. Got some extra space to fill 🤣. X

  15. A really thought-provoking memorable blog today Barb. The posts already written are my thoughts too…..Thankyou Barb for being there for us – I too really appreciate it. In fact, whenever I hear people saying how depressed and worried they feel I have to say I feel smug because I haven’t had any of those emotions at all …….. thanks to you xx Happy Birthday to our Gracie too xxxxx

  16. A year on and I wonder where we would all be without the wonderful essential workers and those like you all at Clarity who have helped to draw us out of our worried little worlds. A great big THANK YOU to you all.

  17. One of your best blogs ever. Thoughtful and thought provoking. So, so thankful to still be here to be grateful to the key workers that have got us all through the past year.
    Happy Birthday Grace🎂🍾🍰💐🍫

  18. Brilliant blog post and I totally agree with what everyone else has said. You must be doubly grateful today knowing that Grace has also had her vaccination. My thoughts are also with all those people who have lost someone dear. Thank you so much and still keep safe xxx

  19. Beautiful blog Barbara…i for one am so grateful to you
    I may not get to see you live because of time difference ..but I’m there every day watching as soon as i have my coffee poured…I’ve had a rough two years 2019 and 2020…you have certainly helped me through the bad times last year …all i can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart…and i will continue to be watching as long as you want to drive the bus.

  20. Thankyou, Barbara for helping us all this past year! It has certainly been a roller coaster! I paused for a minutes silence at lunchtime, thinking about those poor people who sadly have lost their lives to this horrible virus and thought of all the workers who have plodded on regardless, helping us to keep sane! No mean feat! Shall look forward to the events at the weekend when I can hopefully spend my birthday money!!! Happy birthday Grace! Xxx

  21. I echo all the comments already made & I too thank you and all the Clarity Team for everything you have done for us. My yellow ribbon hangs where soon my hanging basket will be. My candle will be lit at 8pm.
    This too shall pass. Xxx

  22. I can only agree with all those who have said thank you to you Barbara. I have been with the Shac since day 1 and if you’d told me then we’d be going a whole year later I would not have believed you. On the plus side I have drawn and coloured so many things that I never thought I would. Thank you to all those people who comment in the Shac and on Clarity Worldwide, you feel like friends though we have never met and your company has meant so much.
    Maybe this time next year we can have a Shac Shack get together – could you imagine the noise level?!
    Take care everyone and a special happy birthday to Grace.
    Zara xx

  23. Firstly, Happy Birthday Grace. I hope your day was as special as possible. It’s been a heck of a year for us all, but as you say, we are still here. We will unite once again tonight at 8pm and reflect on how lucky we are and remember those who were taken from us and their families left bereft. Thank you Barb and fellow Shackers for all your support throughout the year xx

  24. Never a true word could be said and you’ve summed it up beautifully Barbara.
    My daughter is a nurse and works at Nuneaton hospital on a ward caring for the elderly, it doesn’t matter how much PPE she wears she still caught COVID, luckily she was able to recover at home but still suffers with fatigue, it was a very worrying time for us all and I am just so very grateful she recovered!
    I too will be lighting a candle at 8pm and thinking of all the people who have sadly lost their lives.
    Thank you Barbara from the bottom of my heart for all your time given freely to us and your wonderful tuition, who knew I could draw a year ago!
    Happy Birthday Grace, lets hope you can see your lovely mummy real soon and give her the biggest hug ever because she deserves it!

  25. First, Happy Birthday to Grace! The thirties are a wonderful age 🙂 If I would like to be younger, I would not like to be younger than that!
    And a big, fat Thank You to you, Barbara, and your team – for the SHAC Shack and all the other things that you do for us. I really enjoy being able to find your SHAC sessions on youtube to have your company when I need a break in my home-office.
    Am looking forward to Wednesday evening, Friday on Hochanda and whatever is planned for the weekend, though the warning was a bit late I’m afraid … 😉

  26. So much heartache. So much fear.
    Clarity has been a saviour to many.
    You have definitely done your bit.
    You and your family should take some pride in that.
    To everyone hugs.

  27. Very Happy Birthday to the beautiful Grace.
    Thank you for a wonderful blog. Full of plenty to reflect upon and be sad and thankful.
    Thank you also for the Shac Shack and everything else that Clarity has brought us in these turbulent times.
    Much love xx

  28. Well said Barbara, you always find the right words for every situation. You are a very wise woman. When I reflect on the last year I thank God that you were there for so many of us. What fun we’ve had, lots of laughs and yes, tears too but we’ve been enriched by you and your wonderful Clarity Team. We’ve been prevented from seeing family and friends but through technology we’ve met up with so many virtual friends over the waves. I too will light a candle at 8pm and think of all those who have been affected by events this year. I just pray that we can get back to living a life of hope, trust and love. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your help during the past year. I can’t think of anyone nicer I could lose my bank balance to 😆😆

  29. Well said Barbara. You are one amazing lady and your company does you proud. I have learnt so much from you in the last year and bought plenty of stash, so much so that I have just been making and decorating some new mdf storage for it all. When I look back on my lockdown year I will give thanks for all those who kept the NHS going, I am a retired radiographer so know what they have been going through from my working friends. I will also give thanks for the Shac and how much I have gained from my virtual friendships.
    Thank you again and happy birthday to Grace xxxx

  30. Couldn’t have said it any better. Will be shinning my light at 8pm. So thankful that my family are all safe and sound at the moment but cannot help thinking of all those who’ve lost a dear one.

  31. Happy Birthday Grace, it’s my son’s birthday tomorrow, 47 years old , that went quick, he doesn’t live too far away from me but we haven’t had a proper get together for the last year either. We are looking forward to doing so soon, good job we have the Shac Shack and gardening to keep us going

  32. Wishing you a very happy birthday Grace. Intended writing this very early today..as I had remembered your date. but went to church and lit a few candles. we have lots of birthdays in March,. It was Karen’s, my daughter in law in SF on the 22nd.
    Love the Shac shack. Nice to have something to look forward to, especially your laughter. Thank you.

  33. A thoughtful blog.
    There are so many things to be grateful for, not least you and your wonderful Clarity team keeping us occupied and sane.
    My admiration for all those in the NHS and support systems, the volunteers and helpers knows no bounds.
    It is now over 2 years since my husband was diagnosed with Asbestosis. His follow up tests were all delayed and a phone call from the consultant has been the only contact since. I am so worried for him as his breathing is getting worse causing reduced activity. Fortunately his sense of humour is still very much in place.
    Our technology is still playing up, very temperamental, if it’s not one thing it’s something else. If I could I would get rid of 90% of the gadgets in the house, but then I’m old school. I would however miss your blogs, YouTube and the Shac’s so they will have to stay for now.
    We are planning to stay in lockdown for the time being until we see the outcome of the relaxations of “the rules” and will carry on crafting to keep us occupied and out of mischief. The haircut will just have to wait!!!!!!!!
    Love and hugs to all. Stay safe. 🍒

  34. Barbara Gray you are such a good ,kind and generous soul. You certainly’ warm the cockles’ with your words.
    I count myself very lucky to have been in a support bubble that includes my two youngest grandchildren. I have felt useful being able to help.
    Missing all my other family ….
    Here’s to meeting/hugging our loved ones very soon. Thank you so much Barbara ,wishing you and your family all the best. XX

  35. Lovely words from everyone, reflecting on the last year who would have guessed we would still be in lockdown a year later. Hopefully it won’t be for much longer as long as people stick to the rules. We have come so far, surely a few more weeks isn’t much to ask people to stay in doors in their immediate bubbles is it?
    I have lit my candle in the front room window in memory of all those people who lost their lives to Covid & thanks to all those who looked after them & the thousands of others who have been in hospital over the last year. Thanks also to all the other essential workers.
    Meanwhile we still have the SHAC shack to look forward to thanks to you, Paul & the Clarity team. My art collection has grown far more than I ever envisaged when we started last year.
    Happy Birthday to Grace, a second birthday in lockdown – thank goodness for Facetime

  36. Always look forward to your blogs, this one is so appropriate and thought provoking. Thank you all at clarity towers you have a fantastic team. Learning lots from both the shac shac and Groovi Tuesday thank you for keeping us all on the straight and narrow.

  37. I totally agree with everything that you say Barbara and thank you for putting it all together for us. Thank you for everything that you do, our lives are certainly enriched by having you and Clarity in our lives. Happy Birthday Grace! Stay safe everyone, hugs (distant of course) Gilly x

  38. Hugs and thank you xxx There are too many people to mention so many I don’t even know so thank you to everyone for your help and support. I consider myself to be very fortunate indeed.

  39. My husband Neil’s birthday today too. Can’t believe he was getting his second lockdown birthday cards today. Strange year. Strange world. But we’re safe and we and very grateful. Happy birthday Grace!xx

  40. Hi Barb,
    What a very moving blog today. I agree with everything that you have said so eloquently. It has been a dreadful year but we are the lucky ones, we are still here unlike the thousands that haven’t been as lucky. I was really pleased today to hear the PM say that there would be a permanent memorial to those poor souls. I have a lot to be grateful for to the NHS. In Sept, I finally had my other knee replaced and then a couple of weeks ago I collapsed and was taken by ambulance to a&e. Fortunately I was ok, but on both occasions I was treated with such compassion and professionalism. It was scary not to be able to have Dave with me or visitors in hospital, but all of the staff made sure that I was comfortable and did their best to keep me cheerful. I cannot thank them enough. I also want to thank you for everything that you ,Paul,Dave and all at Clarity have done for us all.
    Happy Birthday to lovely Grace too. Love and hugs,Alison xxxx

  41. Peace, love and thanks to you Barb for the SHAC and birthday wishes to the lovely Grace who takes after her fabulous mum xx

  42. No one could have said this better. We have all been so blessed to have made it through this past year. So grateful to have found you,I was late to the party but better late than never! You perfectly named your beautiful daughter. Happy Birthday dear Grace.
    May we travel gently through the rest of this journey together. Much love to all💗

  43. Hello Barb, Belated Happy Birthday wishes to lovely Grace, hope she managed to celebrate with her Mark. What a lovely blog post Barb, every single sentiment and word heartfelt and true. You have been a shining example throughout the last year and I am very grateful. Let’s all keep up the good work, stay safe, think of others and go forward together. Take care all. Bx

  44. Lovely words Barbara, and thank you for all that you and your Claritystamp team do. Belated Birthday Wishes to Grace. xx

  45. Happy Birthday for yesterday Grace xx To Barbara and all at Clarity Towers – THANK YOU. Stay safe and God bless xx

  46. Happy Birthday for yesterday Grace. A beautiful daughter and a beautiful Mum. The words you write in your Blog sum up everything for all of us and without you a lot of us would have been floundering in the doom and gloom. You have pulled us all together and got our creative selves to learn so much this last year. We have laughed, cried together such a wonderful thing you did in setting up the Shac Shack, we can’t thank you enough. Long may it continue but of course not to the detriment of your health! Looking forward to the weekend of surprises. Xx

  47. All I can say is THANK YOU to you Barbara for being our hero over the last twelve months. I reflected on the year at 8pm and thanked all those wonderful people that are keeping us safe and helping us to slowly move forward. I said a prayer for all those lost, grieving or still recovering but without you a lot of us would have lost the plot. A huge huge thank you for keeping us on the straight road instead of letting us crash. I don’t manage the live sessions these days but follow on YouTube but wouldn’t be without my shac shac therapy. Xxx

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