You’re never too old…

… TO LEARN NEW THINGS! πŸ˜‰

(unless, of course, you have certain limitations)

Something that I think most of you will find funny because you probably know what you’re doing πŸ˜› ….
I learned last week how to check the brake fluid level in my car, and when to top it up!
The reason behind me having to learn wasn’t pleasant though – my wheel cylinder was busy packing up and leaking brake fluid… and eventually it completely gave up the ghost and I was without a vehicle for a few days!
BUT! Despite the unpleasantness, I LEARNED SOMETHING VALUABLE! And now if any of my friends report handbrake lights that won’t go off, or a softening brake pedal, I can confidently check their cars brake fluid levels, top up if necessary and then send them off to their mechanic!
(and since everyone seems to see me as such a lady this is quite an accomplishment for me, and makes me giggle to think about ‘being under the hood’ πŸ˜› )

I have learned this week that it IS possible to watch the same movie at least 50 times, and still see new things the next time you watch it. I learned that perhaps also, as our hearts change and we mature, those same movies can take on a deeper meaning than before. How very strange!

And then, there was the reminder…

The loss of a good friend was a painfully sad happening in the last couple of weeks. It brought back the heart breaking and gut wrenching memories of losing my best friend a few years ago to cancer. This good friend’s death was sudden though – she had been fine (despite battling cancer and chemo for many years), then suddenly grew incredibly tired that night and her husband called the ambulance. Six hours later, she was gone – a blood clot in her lung.
A horrible loss, but one that carried with it so many wonderful reminders… (based on her) :
*Life is short, and anything can happen at any time.
*Be somebody that makes everybody feel like they are somebody!
*Tell those who have meaning in your life that THEY DO! As often as possible, even at the times when you think they will be annoyed with it, or bored with hearing it!
*You look beautiful when you smile!
*Have long conversations and make happy memories so that others have those parts of you to smile about when you’re not around

And although this seems like a ‘nothing’ post…

I do suspect that each of you reading has found something in here that has made you smile, or given you a reminder you might need.

I am hoping to post more often in the coming weeks, but for now please try and remember (and yes, I adjusted the following from a quote because this way it is a little more relevant to what I have been experiencing) :

GOOD THINGS BRING US HAPPINESS…
BAD THINGS BRING US EXPERIENCE AND LESSONS…
THE BEST THINGS BRING US BEAUTIFUL MEMORIES!

Here’s hoping you all experience good, and the best, this week! (And if you have to have the bad, then my hope for you is that you will have someone to love you through it!) ❀

Unbecoming

Definition : not fitting or appropriate; unseemly

The weeks have flown by, and I have failed miserably at the ‘art of blogging’. I am winning though… more about that to follow πŸ˜‰

The title word, and it’s meaning, is a word I can’t say I am too fond of. Growing up, I heard it far too many times! The sentence usually went something like this :

”That is unbecoming behaviour for a young lady!”

The year I turned five, I had a lovely birthday party at home with all my friends from pre-school. In those days I was not fond of wearing dresses, mostly because they were forced on me. (Nowadays I seldom wear them, but when I do wear a dress or a long skirt it is by choice, and I will admit that at those times dressing that way brings me pleasure.)
My mother had purchased a dress for me for the party, to add to all those hanging in my cupboard, much to my dismay! It was white (good grief, I don’t even wear white now because I still can’t keep it clean πŸ˜› ) with red polka dots. She made me wear my hair in pigtails, with bright red ribbons. The white shoes she purchased remained safe, as I kicked them off just a few minutes into the celebration! πŸ˜‰
There was a stern reminder shortly before my guests arrived that I was a young lady, and should behave accordingly.
And I was fine for the first little bit. Then all us children went outside to my front garden to play.

The girls flitted about, shyly giggling and picking flowers. The boys began a game of ‘touches’, and were soon running off some of their energy. Michael and James had other plans. (YES! I still remember their names – just not their surnames, and I can even tell you what they looked like, but I have no idea what happened to them after we left pre-school, or where in the world they are now!)
These boys were trouble for a ‘lady’, but they were who I chose to spend most of my time during school hours with, ha ha!
Their plan was to climb the Plumeria tree (also known as a Frangipani) in our garden… and I was all for it!
With a quick glance towards the house to make sure that my mother was still inside, I took off running behind them and soon I was climbing…. IN MY DRESS!
The trouble that would come my way if my mother caught me was nothing compared to the trouble I actually did get into in the end!
If only we’d stayed away from that one branch!
It was longer than the others, and we decided that we could all sit on it, in a row, and observe the others playing games and picking flowers. James went first. And all was well. I slowly crept towards him, and giggled when he said, ”We should get on the roof. Imagine the view then!” Safely settled, we motioned to Michael, and he hesitantly scooted along on his bottom. I saw my aunt come out of our house, and disappear quickly back inside. And I whispered to the boys, ”Uh oh, we better go! My mother’s coming!”
I believe the branch was busy dying… and our sudden panicked haste probably didn’t help matters, but the next thing there was a loud noise and we all fell to the ground, branch included!

None of us had any broken bones – but all three of us were winded. And my dress got torn! We caught our breath, and all began to laugh. Until my mother arrived to stand before us, hands on her hips, muttering about my behaviour and my dress! I was taken back into the house, to change and wash my face because it was dirty, and of course receive the stern lecture I knew would come if I got caught. I spent the rest of my party seated on the verandah with the other girls who were then playing with my dolls.
At bedtime that evening it was like someone had pressed play on a tape recorder as the words came again, ”That is not how a lady behaves. I am so disappointed!”

And I remember thinking as that little girl : ”But what if I don’t want to be a lady?”

The irony is that I tend towards being one anyway, ha ha! My friends often tease (and it really is a loving tease, and we laugh together about it) that I am sometimes so ‘prim and proper’, so ‘elegant and correct’, (although they always assure me that it is never in a stuck-up way!) and when I use big words my one young friend giggles and comments, ”Yes, Miss Cultured”. I remember going to a biker’s rally once and having one of the guys tease me that ‘a girl like me is too sophisticated and classy for a joint like this’ – that made me laugh so loud, I think he changed his mind πŸ˜›

There are times when I truly enjoy being a lady these days – but if I’m not wearing a dress and it’s a relatively easy climb, you might even find me up a tree πŸ˜‰

So that explains – in a rather long winded manner, sorry! – why the word unbecoming is not one I am fond of. ALL that said though, there is this :

And I happen to like the word as it is being used in the image above. There are things from childhood, from my teen years, and possibly even things drilled into me as a young adult, that have become, for me, ”limiting beliefs”. These things have contributed to the issues I have with self esteem – and have brought with them guilt and shame in so many ways!
And so, as the word stands in the image above, I have begun down the uneven and unknown path in my journey where I am trying to let go of a lot of those things, and acknowledge that there may actually be a chance that ”they” were wrong.
It’s not easy, and at times it’s quite exhausting. There are things that I don’t want to have arguments in my head about πŸ˜›
BUT…..

Back to the beginning of this blog post? I am winning, everyone! πŸ˜‰

I am not getting everything I want. I am not getting to avoid the hard things. I am not getting an immediate relief from guilt and shame. I am not getting the instant ability of undoing the limits.

BUT I AM GETTING SO MUCH MORE along the way, as I occasionally stub my toe on a rock I didn’t see. πŸ˜›
And this time, I am truly appreciating each of those lessons!

Thank you for sticking around to read πŸ˜‰ Here’s to unbecoming – in a ladylike manner πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰
I hope you are all well ❀

Win some, lose some

Yesterday, I had a one hour wait in my car with my teenage daughter, between her school ending and allotted time slot for dancing. She had some school work to finish, and I was looking forward to spending some time reading my book. It was only about fifteen minutes after we had parked that I was able to pick it up, because of course there is the ”catch up on her day” while she eats first.

Before I opened it, I first scanned the street, double checking our safety (because that is how life is lived here), and a man a little further down the road caught my eye.
And I struggled to concentrate after that, reading only a few lines before needing to look up and watch him for a bit.
Not because he was menacing. And not because he was attractive either πŸ˜›

He had his phone in his hand, and was clearly following some form of workout on it. He would jog a short distance, then jog back to his spot, then do three sets of eight of some form of cardio exercise. Then he’d take a deep breath in and out, and repeat the whole cycle – each repetition of the cardio changing as he progressed.

What struck me was this :

He was a slightly overweight man, who appeared to me to be somewhere in his fifties.
And he was not very good at what he was doing.
But he was still doing it… and on a public street too!

(I have to add that I have a LOT of admiration for ‘overweight, untoned’ people who exercise in public. I always look at them and think, ”good for you! I should be doing that! Keep your head held high – respect!”)

My daughter saw me watching, and told me not to stare. I told her, ”I can’t help it. I should be doing that!” She replied, ”then go do it…. but not here, please! All the dancers and parents will see you, and that’s just embarrassing!” And I laughed out loud!
I tried very hard to prevent him from seeing me watching, but about halfway through his workout, I found myself staring at him as he jogged back up the road to his spot without really thinking anything, and we locked eyes. He gave me a small smile, and lifted his hand to say hi, before turning his attention back to his phone to do his cardio.

Knowing I was watching changed nothing – he didn’t suddenly improve on the exercise, or get an impressive second wind and jog a bit faster…. he continued on exactly the same as before. He knew I was watching, but he didn’t stop! Sometimes, even though we’re in public, we only really get uncomfortable when we catch someone watching us. If the roles had been reversed, I would have stopped.
And the thought that came to mind was, This guy has it right! What other people think of him is none of his business! He is doing this for himself, and is focused on the task at hand, probably knowing that the more he does it, the better he’ll get at it.

A couple of minutes before my daughter went into the studio, I watched him finish off a small stretching routine, chug down some water, and walk back into his house. I was surprised to find that, for a moment, I felt some joy and satisfaction on his behalf! I know… I’m a weirdo πŸ˜›

Unfortunately I was brought up with far too many limiting beliefs, and a lot of negativity about me personally, and I still find myself trying to unpack a lot even now.
And it’s hard. There are daily battles (some come hourly), and I win some, and I lose some. And I think it happens that way to most of us.
But I still believe that the most important thing is not in the losing, or the winning… but the trying. Yes, we need to celebrate the wins. But sometimes I think we lost sight of the fact that we should also be celebrating the ‘TRY’S’.

One of my try’s is to ‘stop listening to the voice in your head that has told you for years that you can’t because what will people think!’

Now… please don’t get me wrong…. I am not saying that we should just do or say what we please because we don’t care what anyone thinks – because that sometimes becomes an excuse for us to behave badly. You can’t, for example, intentionally insult someone and have the attitude, ”Yes, I went there and I don’t care what you think, because this is me.”
Our ‘not caring what other people think’ should never be used as an excuse for us to be rude, disrespectful or hurtful. It should not make us insensitive or cause harm to others, whether they deserve it or not.

But I DO think that sometimes we need to just dance like no one is watching… and if we catch someone watching? Well, we should just carry on dancing.

Yes, I know it’s hard. But we can try πŸ˜‰

Here’s to trying, winning, and sometimes even losing. Because if we’re open to it, there’s usually a lesson in the losing πŸ˜‰ Have a great day, everyone!

What a word!

There are still times in my life, and I am sure there always will be, where I find myself questioning and grappling, and even sometimes frustrated, when it comes to ”purpose”.

Not just its definition, or how it applies to my own life, or whether or not I have found it etc. But also on the days where something happens and I end up asking it in a different way : something along the lines of ”Well, what is the purpose of that?”

I very much doubt that I will ever have a concrete answer for any of it. That one word – purpose – and our lives and the situations we find ourselves in and how it applies and all comes together, and what it means, and and and…. well, the answers are just as infinite and the layers of them exponentially greater than those of any onion. (For those who have seen the movie, yes… I just used a ‘Shrek‘ reference πŸ˜› )

Last week, I had a lengthy catch up telephone conversation with a young lady (she’s in her late twenties now) who I have known since she was 5 years old. I went from being her mom’s friend, when she was a little girl, to now being her friend, and big sister. (In fact, she has me listed as her sister on Facebook, which confuses many people – I get messages from old school acquaintances sometimes, who feel terrible for not knowing that I had a sister, ha ha ha!)

In this conversation, she was telling me about her husband’s sister who is a really talented singer, and is struggling to get a break – she’s young and naive and being taken advantage of by our local music world. We ended up talking about purpose in general. My friend, herself, is also frustrated – she has passions and talents, and just can’t seem to ‘get her break’ either. I offered her support, love and encouragement in ways, and with words, that I thought might be helpful. And there was a happy end to our conversation, and she still loves me… so I think I did okay πŸ˜›

The last few days have been grappling days for me. Days where my head is swimming with things like, ”What if what I am doing is not enough? What if I am failing at living out the purpose intended for me? Why isn’t there writing on my wall with a definitive that I can work from? Am I doing it wrong, because there isn’t actually anything tangible being produced here? I have nothing to show for any of it! What am I going to do?”

And this morning the friend that I mentioned above send me a picture message, and captioned it, ”This is you, endlessly! I love you, Meg!”

So I’ll end with the message to me, and share it as a message to all of you out there who may be able to identify with how I have been feeling (these feelings are temporary, but hey, they exist, so we might as well offer each other some encouragement for when we’re stuck in them, right? πŸ˜‰ )

❀

You’re going to be fine

Unfortunately, this morning I can identify with this so much – thanks Facebook πŸ˜› – (although please know that this is not a ‘downer’ post)….

Yes… Meg is having a moment of sadness, with a temporary heaviness in her spirit… and I know that many of you may identify with this too, and that the rest of you will love me anyway πŸ˜›

I am sharing this, not because I want a sympathy vote, but because I really do try my best to be honest and transparent – I find that in doing so, it helps others too.

I’ll no doubt be back with some inspiring and motivating words soon πŸ˜‰

For now I will simply say this :

I still stand by one of my favourite phrases : ”In the end, it will all be okay. And if it’s not okay, then it’s not the end.”

It really doesn’t feel like it. But I still believe it. And I will keep believing it.

There IS always hope. And while I wait for sunshine, I will find a way to dance in the rain. Because life is always beautiful.

Please remember that you, too, are allowed to have your moment. My wish for you is that in that moment, someone will love you, and remind you that there is still hope.

Take courage, my friends. And if you’re reading this in your moment, please accept a virtual hug from me ❀ (you can even have a virtual hug if you’re not in a moment πŸ˜‰ )

World Dream Day

Apparently that is what today is… and although I had hoped it meant that I could just go back to bed and sleep, it doesn’t πŸ˜›

I was reading about the history of this day, and I’ll share the excerpt with you… the bold part of it being the part that stood out for me the most, and made me smile :

Dream Day was set up by an instructor at Columbia University in 2012 as a way of helping us all achieve our dreams and to make the world a better place. The creator of the day is Ozioma Egwuonwu; a transformational strategist and educator. It was her aim to create a day that would help to heal and inspire humanity.

These days, any mention of this pandemic that our world is facing, seems to bring negative words to mind. In all honesty, the amount of disrespect and hate that I have encountered in my entire lifetime, has been superseded by the amount I have seen and experienced in the past 18 months. And it all links back to the virus. It makes me hurt, in so many ways!

And so as I read those words, ”help to heal and inspire humanity”, my heart soared as I smiled and almost shouted out loud, ”Oh man! YES! We need days like this, and not just for dreaming!”

If you want to read more about Dream Day, then you can go here.

Another quick share from the article :

Dream Day is a vital day in terms of honoring the role that dreams play in all of our lives. Even more importantly, it is a day whereby we all inspire one and other, helping our loved ones, peers, and even strangers to put a plan in action to make positive changes in their lives and the wider world.

And then, my Facebook post for today….

I am sure you know what I am going to say now πŸ˜›

It’s the weekend, and we have a whole new week ahead of us : please can we all not only be kind, but let’s look for ways to inspire and encourage one another – maybe even find ways to do so that will be practical in helping them get one step closer to their dream!

Let’s make it Dream Day, every day! (I wonder if we could get away with pyjama shopping…. hmmm. πŸ˜› )

Please be safe, everyone. Thank you for stopping by ❀

Kindly smiling and caring…

Just checking in quickly with a little bit of Monday Motivation πŸ˜‰

It’s one of those ‘ripple effect’ kind of things… it will leave you, and the recipient, both smiling πŸ˜‰

This image popped up in my Facebook memories as something I shared a year ago. Not only is it a worthy re-share, but also a great reminder for me πŸ™‚

Heading out the door, determined to do the above as I make my way through the day. Except the touch part. People are not very receptive to a random stranger touching them πŸ˜›

Have a fantastic week, everyone! ❀

Just a tip…

There was a lot of buzz surrounding a ‘new and cool’ place that was coming to our town. Cool… mostly because Summer is coming and it’s an ice cream shoppe! πŸ˜› (My daughter eats it whatever the weather, though! πŸ˜‰ )

The biggest attraction was ‘rolled fried ice cream’ – we’ve never had that here so it was a whole new taste test coming our way!

I bypassed the opening, knowing that it would be crazy busy, and finally took the girls (my daughter and her friend) after school one Friday, two weeks after they had opened. And let me tell you, it was the best ‘all five senses’ experience I think anyone of us had had in a very long time!
The dΓ©cor had an almost vintage feel – turquoises and pinks – I found myself smiling as I thought, ‘Frenchy, from the movie Grease, should be here!’ (Or even ALL the Pink Ladies πŸ˜‰ )
I kid you not… the place smelled like candy floss! Not a sickening sweet smell…. but a bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears…. ”Juuuuuuuuuust right!” πŸ˜›
Our taste treats did NOT disappoint in anyway! We were given extra spoons, so that we could each taste the other ones choice – and we all made mental notes to ‘have that one’ next time πŸ˜‰

But what stood out the most for me? Which sense was made the happiest? HEARING!

There was background music, yes. But at a volume that could only just be heard. It could have been louder – I really like my music πŸ˜‰ But in this case, louder would have drowned out the energy coming off of the staff.
(Yes, I have told management, and given them a great review πŸ˜‰ )
There are four staff members (and a manager) … and watching and hearing their interaction with us, other customers, each other? I smiled and laughed so much that my cheeks were sore by the time we got back to my car!

I am not sharing all of this with you to try and convince you that you need ice cream… but maybe you do? πŸ˜›

We were waiting for our order, and my soul was busy soaking it all up πŸ˜‰ while my eyes tried to notice every little detail, when I saw the small jar….

A small glass jar, no fancy ribbon or decoration on it to make you notice it. A small glass jar, sitting on the top of the display of brightly coloured bubbles and Boba, for their special tea’s. A small glass jar, placed between the beautifully branded cups and serviettes. A small glass jar, with a little label on it that read ”TIPS”. A small glass jar that was EMPTY, at three o’clock in the afternoon, when they had been open (and busy) since 9am.

And I felt so sad.

I plucked the last note from my purse, stepped forward, and dropped it in. That cheerful vibe went up a notch, as they all clapped their hands and gave me a thumbs up. One guy even looked up at the ceiling and shouted ‘thank you, God’. The manager smiled, and came to tell me, ”That’s their first tip!”, and I replied, ”For today?” My heart hurt when he said, ”No. Since we’ve opened!”

If I had had more money, I would have added it to that jar!

But here is the truly amazing part!

A customer came in a minute later, placed their order, paid – and noticed the note in the jar (because people seldom miss seeing money, am I right? πŸ˜› )… so instead of putting their change in their purse, they threw it in the jar. Somebody else was waiting to be served, and they paid by card… but dug a note out of their wallet to throw into that jar!

THERE WAS A RIPPLE EFFECT!

Because that’s how it goes! πŸ˜‰

So with a new week looming….

Please can we help the old lady across the street, or help the old man carry those heavy packages? Please can we pay for the coffee of the person behind us, or buy an ice cream for the little girl pulling on her mommy’s hand but mommy clearly doesn’t have enough?
Someone will see…. and maybe they will do the same for someone else!

Let’s get a ripple kindness going! All over the world! Every day!

It might make you smile so much that we can have sore cheeks together… despite the distance between us πŸ˜‰

(P.S. Management has now decorated that glass jar πŸ˜‰ )

Lost Monday

I saw the above image on Facebook this morning. I have seen these words before… and they always make me smile.

I smiled this morning too, but only after a grimace had first found my face πŸ˜›

Because this seems to be my Monday Mood today, ha ha! And I suppose that whether or not that is a good thing depends on attitude and personality type, in a lot of ways!

For me? It means that this Monday morning has me feeling a bit lost…. not even coffee has given me direction! πŸ˜›
My brain seems to be in a questioning phase, ”What are you doing? How are you going to do that? Why? How? What?” etc etc etc. And there is not a particular thought that relates to those questions either. It’s sort of an ‘all over the place’ thing – one question about the future, then a question about my daughter and school, then another that jumps to something dog related.

It’s a truly Messy Monday Mind for Meg πŸ˜›

And I just laughed out loud πŸ˜› (I feel the need to point out here that I DO always laugh at myself πŸ˜› )

But here’s something I know… this is ‘but a moment’. I have felt this way before, and no doubt I will feel this way again. It may last all day, or even all week… but the moment will pass.
And while the moment is probably important, and the questions are worthy of pondering even if the answers have themselves been lost in space, my attitude will make a difference – lost, or not.

So even in this moment, I will choose to pay attention to other things on this Monday too – because I know from personal experience that even when I feel lost, something magnificent can still happen.
(The last time I got lost, a butterfly found my shoulder… and since I happen to have such a great love for butterflies, it was a truly magnificent happening for me that day!)

So I am heading out to take on Monday… choosing to celebrate that thorns have roses πŸ˜‰

If you find me, PLEASE ask me to wait πŸ˜‰

Gratitude Journal Prompts

A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting to a lady (I’ll call her Patty) who told me, ”Oh, how I wish I could write!”

There is nothing physically wrong with her that limits her ability to do so…. it’s just that it’s not a passion for her, and she says that she continuously stares at blank pages, not knowing where to start! So I queried the ‘blank pages’ part.

Her explanation made me smile, because I already had the answer, sort of πŸ˜‰

Patty said that she had been battling depression for the past year. It started shortly after she lost her husband. Every day had just been so hard! She started seeing a professional about six months ago, and things had started improving for her. Then, about a month ago, her sister in law came for a visit. It was a good visit… but then Patty had to say goodbye. The departure stirred up some deep hurt…

Patty received a text message that evening from her sister in law : If you haven’t already found it, there’s a gift for you on my bed πŸ˜‰

A tear fell down her cheek as she told me, ”She had written me the most beautiful note, and inside the prettily wrapped package was the most exquisite ‘Gratitude Journal’- my favourite colours, decorated with splashes of glitter! You know how much I love glitter! I opened up the journal, hoping there would be words already there, but the pages were all blank, except the To and From page where she had penned : Write something every day. It will help. But what do I even write? It’s not like I am not grateful, I just feel silly writing on a page that I’m grateful for the rain today, and nothing else.”

So here’s a little message for today :

On the hard days? The days when your heart is hurting and you feel a bit lost? It really IS okay to JUST be grateful for the rain ❀

On the other days, when the sun has broken through the clouds and you feel like you can focus a little more? Perhaps these little prompts (I found this picture a few months ago and had it saved on my phone πŸ˜‰ ) will help you to write a bit more…

Remember that a ‘grateful heart is a magnet for miracles’ πŸ˜‰

Here’s hoping you all have a miraculously beautiful weekend πŸ˜‰ ❀