Debbie Ranger, deeply missed.

I’m putting this blog post up as permanent record of my message published via Instagram and Facebook about the passing of my friend Debbie.  The pic above is from my Belfast wedding.  The vase is one Debbie gave to all of us at her funeral on the 18 September 2017 in Coventry.  The booklet was designed by her Sister. xxx

On 5 September 2017 my dear friend Debbie Ranger passed away. She was 48 years old. I’d known her from my first year in Ulster University, Jordanstown when I was 19. For 24 years she was a constant. A kind, reliable friend who was always supportive and full of fun. Debbie lived in England but from she graduated she came back to Northern Ireland every year, sometimes twice a year. She was always there for our group of uni friends. She came over for weddings, birthdays, any occasions often we got together just because the occasion was ‘Debbie’s back’. She even came to Ibiza for my 40th celebrations.

This above is picture is Helen, me and Debbie in Septemberptember 2016 in Spain. The loss of Debbie will be felt at all our special occasions for a long time to come. Debbie was so thoughtful. Had she been well she would have been at my weddings. She was so happy for us, she saw the photos of our Turkish wedding days before she passed away and said I was beautiful. It is so bitter-sweet even in her last days Debbie was thinking of her friends, thinking about and caring for others happiness.
When I returned from Turkey there was wedding card from her with heartfelt congratulations and beautiful message for us, she had asked her family to buy and post it. She handwrote the message even though it was difficult for her. She had already passed away when we received it. None of us know how much time we have on this earth or how long we have with our loved ones – it really is a poignant reminder to treasure every moment of this short life.
Debbie found out she had a terminal brain tumour in March this year. She suffered a lot these past six months. It was devastating. So many of us worry about ageing but it will be the lucky ones who will get that chance.

Debbie will be sorely missed by all her Belfast friends, her colleagues at Warwick University and her family, including her mum and dad her brothers Stephen and Paul and her sisters Beverly and Sharon. We are deeply sorrowed at her untimely loss. Rest in peace my dear friend Debbie. #ImmeasurableMinds #mindfulness#selfCompassion #love #breathe

  • Sunday 17 September Helen is running the Belfast Half Marathon in aid of the Myton Hospice https://www.mytonhospice.org where Debbie stayed during part of her illness. Please donate if you can. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/helen-blakley?utm_source=Sharethis&utm_medium=fundraisingpage&utm_content=helen-blakley&utm_campaign=pfp-email
  • Debbie’s younger sister Sharon has also set up a Justgiving page in Debbie’s memory in support of The Brain Tumour Charity. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Sharon-Ranger

Just happily married!

Just happily married! 

If you follow Immeasurable Minds on Instagram or Facebook you will know we got married two weeks ago! We had the time of our lives. It really was wonderful.

My mum and dad and four of my Belfast friends came to Turkey for the wedding and the night before we all descended on Muhutin’s family in Izmir. Their hospitality was amazing.  They were all so warm and welcoming. They put us up, fed us delicious food and organised two nights of the most fun and interesting parties we’d all attended in a long time!

Both parties involved LOTS of dancing! In the end my new Turkish relatives were very impressed by how well their new Belfast friends threw themselves into the activities, and how by day two really got the hang of this new style of dancing!

The first party was my ‘henna night’. It was literally a Turkish street party attended by family, friends and neighbours, young and old, boys and girls. There was so much loving kindness from everyone, they we’re all happy to share their homes and their food and their dancing tips with us! We loved it!

The main event was when I got covered in a red sparkly veil and lump of henna put in my hands. The girls all got scarfs and candles and danced around  me and my husband to be!  Later that night one of my new Sister-in-Law’s put more henna on my toes and my fingers making a special design. Before I left for Turkey I’d got my nails ‘done’ in Belfast – a tasteful pale pink… the henna turned them green! So funny – it looked like witches nails! You can see the pics on the Immeasurable Minds Instagram feed, lots of pics of my very handsome husband too – just scroll down.

On the day of the wedding with my new henna hands and feet I was off to the hairdressers to get ready. The hairdresser did a great job – which was just as well as no one could speak English!  I then did my make-up myself – I’d had a lesson the Thursday before I left from one of my former MBSR students Tracey Rodgers, I’m really grateful to her as it all turned out ok!

Muhutin came to pick me from the hairdressers – there’s none of this waiting to see me at the altar business… in fact he’d unceremoniously given me the wedding ring the night before too. It’s just a simple white gold band. His brothers had taken me jewellery shopping before the wedding – they bought me beautiful white gold jewellery which you will see me wearing at our Belfast wedding. I bought Muhutin a gold chain (to match his gold wedding ring) so when he is at work (he works with his hands) he can put it on the chain – so it’s always close to him (aww….)

Yes wedding No.2 is in two weeks. I’m afraid some of you may be sick of my wedding photos by then – sorry fair warning for next month’s newsletter! When you wait until 43 to get married you might as well do it twice and be doubly excited, thrilled and over the moon about it is my theory! 🙂

When we got back to the house my dad was given a red sash to put around my waist – this is traditional. I like it especially as it will distinguish the two sets of wedding pictures – I will be wearing the same dress for both – though Muhutin may get a new tie! 🙂

Then we had lunch! Me with a blanket over me to keep the dress clean 🙂 And then it was the ceremony. A simple affair in the living room and that was it, job done! Off we went for the photos. The main happening was to come that evening at the party. And what an event it was and what an entrance we made!

Beneath the stage in an outdoor venue called ‘Sakli Bache’ or the Secret Garden the two of us stood on platforms that began to rise… the 200 odd guests just saw the tops of our heads appear as the music stopped and fireworks and sparklers exploded around us! Then with the music playing we waved to the crowd like the king and queen and each of us descended a separate staircase (very scary in heels with a HUGE dress) to come together at the bottom in the centre of the dance floor. It was hilarious and fantastic all at the same time. I’m so glad we got a video of it.

It was pretty much all dancing after that, the Turkish people aren’t very good at sitting down! My new husband was so happy to be up and doing all the traditional dances with his family – my feet were sore at the end of the night too! So wedding number two in Belfast will be quite different (definitely colder it was 30 degrees in Turkey) I’m sure but hopefully just as joyful. We’re also doing the legal ceremony in Belfast so technically we’re not quite married just yet – though we are wearing our rings… does the paper make the difference?

And those of you asking my husband’s surname is Kaya. From October you will see me change to Bridgeen Rea-Kaya. I’ll also have a new address as at the end of next week we move house! After 11 years of living in an apartment I’ll have a garden! How excited am I about that?! The gifts of married life! So lots of change happening, new husband, new name, new house, new family, new life. I’m very grateful and happy.

Mindfulness for kids :)

People are always asking me to teach mindfulness to their kids. I am actually qualified to do this. I trained with the Mindfulness in Schools Project to teach their programme for teens ‘.b’ (in 2010) and also teach primary age kids ‘Paws.be’ (in 2016). This the training I recommend to anyone who is interested in teaching mindfulness to kids and I would recommend you send your kids on these programs if you can find them
The thing is, the way my business goes is that I like to ‘go with the flow’ and so far the flow leads me to teach adults in organisations, companies and in private classes… I just don’t seem to have the space to dedicate to teach youngsters (the picture above is me teaching my gorgeous niece and nephew Daisy in Ollie in Australia last year…). Though I am intending to be part of the Oxford Centre for Mindfulness MYRIAD programme next year. http://oxfordmindfulness.org/projec…
So to sign-post the people who ask me if I can teach mindfulness to their kids I have complied this rough list of local people who are actually out there doing it now! I include mindful movement as part of mindfulness so there are some Tai Chi and Yoga teachers listed…
However an important point I usually tell my students (who are often the ones asking me to teach their kids) is ‘mindful kids begins with you’. Ultimately are the person who will teach your kids how to respond and behave mindfully – even if their school is teaching them how to relax… I like what Orlaith, Dublin-based mindfulness teacher says on the subject: https://www.orlaithosullivan.com/bl…
When I put the call out for teachers an american friend, Judith Toy also offered this for kids to say before meals: Five Contemplations for Kids: This food is the gift of the whole universe–the earth, the sky, the rain and the sun. We thank the people who have made this food, especially the farmers, the people at the market and the cooks. We only put on our plate as much food as we can eat. We want to chew the food slowly so that we can enjoy it. We want to eat in a way that nurtures our compassion, protects other species and the environment and reverses global warming. This food gives us energy to practice love and understanding. We it in order to be healthy and happy, and to love each other as a family.”
I have section on my Immeasurable Minds website too with more resources and links: http://www.immeasurableminds.co.uk/…
I have not personally checked or verified the qualifications or experience of any of these teachers, please do that for yourself. If you know anyone who should be on this list tell them to message me and I’ll up date it. If you’re a teacher and you want to be listed on this note, send me a message and I’ll up date it asap. I’ve organised the teachers in alphabetical order by location.
* This blog post was originally created by me as Facebook note so it will be held there and updated… see this link.
1. Oonagh Nelson Linden, Bangor
Children’s mindful art and yoga classes.Venue: live. Love yoga Bangor
Please contact: Gayle Keenan @ live. Love yoga ( yoga centre owner) info@liveloveyoga.co phone number 07977291799 or Oonagh linden ( Yoga teacher) 07974654475
We offer weekly term time classes and summer camps.
2. Sinead McGoldrick, Belfast
Relax Kids
3. Veronica Ellis, Belfast and North Down.
Mindfulness and resilience building .b 1:1 mindfulness coaching. also teaching mindfulness to children and young adults with severe learning difficulties
My facebook page is @mindfulnessconnectedlearning and my website is www.mindfulnessconnectedlearningco….
email mindfulnessconnect@gmail.com
4. Julieanne Reel, Sliverbridge, Crossmaglen
Paws.b Mindfulness Teacher, Mindful Kids Ireland, Northern Ireland & Southern Ireland – North/North East Regions.
Tel: 00353-876209212
5. Paul Fitz, Down Arts Centre or one on one
Tai chi for adults and kids
call: 07798813700
6. Ita Manderson, Hillsborough
yoga4kids at hillsborough village center , attached to downshire primary school
7. Joanne Callen, Newry
Relaxkids.com – we have coaches other coaches in Newry and also in Belfast, Derry, Omagh, Fermanagh, Antrim and other parts of Co-Down also.
I am a relax kids coach but also their trainer for ireland and we have coaches running classes both North and South there are also lots of free downloads and resources that can be purchased our website
8. Liz Kavanagh, East-Coast, Wicklow, Dublin, Ireland
working with teens 7 yrs now, in schools and out. Happy to travel for workshops 😊