VIP - Very Interesting Person is a series where I interview someone who is... very interesting! I want to find out in an informal way who they are and maybe glean some tips and insights from them.
All the Very Interesting People I interview are different - some are small business owners, some are parents, some are young, some are women, some live in the U.K., some are all of these things and some are the opposite of these things!
I have know today’s guest for a very long time. I’m not sure exactly how our friendship began, but we know each other from St Stephen’s church in Islington. This is the church that sent my parents as missionaries to Paris. Ruth and I somehow became pen pals, which is one of the biggest blessings I can recal from my teenage years. We ended up going to Soul Survivor together (I needed someone who was 18 to go with me and as she is 6 years my elder, she agreed to be my guardian for the event!)
I guess I’ve loved letter writing and receiving letters and cards for a long time, because I still have some of those letters she wrote to me. I gleaned so much wisdom and observed a woman slightly further on in her walk with the Lord through those letters - they were instrumental and transforming of my teenage years. The last time I saw Ruth, her eldest was a baby. He is 16 now, so we maybe need to catch up in real life, but it was so wonderful to hear her answering these questions. I’ll let you in on the conversation now!
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I’m 42, I grew up in London but now live in Coventry and am a Mum to three children. I really enjoy people but am an introvert so only cope with so much before I need to recharge my batteries. I am a qualified counsellor and volunteer for a charity alongside private practice as a counsellor and being a Mum. My work as a counsellor involves giving space for people to be heard, and helping them explore their thoughts and feelings, process experiences and gain insights and understanding, in order to find a way forward. My practice is called The Hope Room and I see people face to face, or online via zoom.
Yes! I am an introvert who loves people, too! Thank you for clarifying that introversion doesn’t mean we are hermits!! What accomplishment are you most proud of?
16 years of parenting is quite an achievement.
Also, I experienced various failures in my late teens, mostly linked to having dyslexia, which wasn’t diagnosed until my late 30’s when I went to uni. So, completing my degree was an achievement I was over the moon to have, and one I never imagined I could do. Also setting up my private practice and all that goes with that.
When you’re having a bad day, what do you do to make yourself feel better?
Have a nap is probably my main answer. It does depend on what the problem is though. Sometimes switching off and watching something, splurging on a friend, pushing myself to get something pro-active done or having a good tidy up/sort out can help.
What’s a great book you’ve read recently
I’ve just entered the world of audible and am hooked. My first book on there was ‘Maybe You Should Talk To Someone’ by Lori Gottlieb, as soon as it ended, after 15 hours of listening I went straight back to the beginning and listened again.It’s an inside look at the life of a therapist, her encounters with clients and her journey of having therapy too, written in such an engaging way with lots of insights scattered throughout. I laughed a lot, which is always a good thing.
I’ve just joined audible as well - so good! I’ll have to look up the book you mentioned. When are you happiest?
Umm, on walks; with friends; having fun with the kids; completing a task; with chocolate in my hand; if laughter is involved; when something planned works out well; in the sun; when things fall into place; when I feel fulfilled; adrenalin activities; snuggling with my dog; with a fire or the sea in front of me; when I feel loved and appreciated; when I’ve been on the receiving end of kindness; when I’ve done something nice for someone else; playing games, to name a few, and in no particular order.
Who inspires you?
Am I allowed to say my dog? She was the first one that jumped into my mind when I read that question. She loves and loves and loves some more and isn’t scared to express it, she finds joy in simple pleasures, and she makes people feel great about themselves. Some pretty inspiring qualities right there.
If I’m going with a real person I’ll pick my sister. She’s had a crappy journey with cancer (breast and brain) and her inner strength has shone through. That doesn’t come in the form of pretending to be on top of life or overly positive, it’s being honest about how she feels, finding ways of getting through, continuing to bless others, and highlighting the importance of making memories and proactive choices for the life you want.
Can you tell us 3 things you would bring to a desert island?
That question gives me a nervous breakdown just thinking about it. Going to a dessert island with only 3 things is a big fat NO from me!
If you could ask God one question, what would it be?
Only one!!!! It’s too hard to choose. I’ve had to think about this question and I’m not really sure what my answer is. I ask God questions all the time, and feel I get answers through things I hear, see, read or experience, but if you mean, like when I die or something, then I’m thinking by then, being in His presence, the need for questions to be answered will slip away.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
At times, when I’ve felt overwhelmed, someone said not to think about everything I had to do, but to pick one immediate thing that needs doing first, focus on that and forget the rest. Once that’s done, pick the next thing and so on. This principle works for practical things and things in my mind too.
Great advice. Okay, on to a lightening round:
Tea or coffee? De-caf tea all the way!
Cake or pie? What a ridiculous question, cake of course!
Pineapple on pizza? Oh yes!
Winter or summer? Summer, summer, summer, summer!
City or country? City for living. Country for holidays.
Book or movie? Movie.
Most used emoji? Probably the laughing face.
Favourite day of the week? I can’t decide. Different days for different reasons.
What’s for dinner tonight? You think I’m organised enough to know that already?
Haha! Fair enough! Thanks so much for answering these questions, Ruth! So lovely to have you on my blog. Finally, where can people find you online?
You can find me on my website and my Facebook page aims to be a source of inspiration, hope, connection and positivity as well as being thought provoking and remind us of things that are good for us. It’s not just for people seeking counselling, so do come and say hi.