Voicing My Vices

Recently I visited a post here where my fellow blogger really stepped out of her comfort zone, and admitted to having some vices. She asked for bravery at the end of her post.
I responded (I hadn’t had enough coffee yet, ha!) and her response to my comment was what initiated this post.
So, motherofnecessity this one is for you 😉

Admitting to vices such as ‘I drink too much coffee’ (bitter too, what’s more – got to control my sweetness, somehow); ‘I smoke, and enjoy it’ (that’s a disgusting habit that needs to stop, but at least there are no bodies buried in my backyard); ‘I bite my nails something fierce’ (another disgusting habit that I don’t even realise I am doing, until it’s too late) –
admitting to these, well, they’re sort of easy, in a sense. It’s when asked to admit to ‘character vices’ that I wind up with a lump in my throat, and have to take out my rowing boat, pick up an oar, and head down ‘De-nial (Nile) River. You see, it’s one thing to be able to flippantly admit that your character is flawed and ‘you’re not perfect’, and to then be able to triumphantly point out that no one is. It’s a whole different matter entirely when you actually sit down with a list of character vices, and have to acknowledge that that one is a part of you.

I’ve always been an upfront and honest person. I do tend to be longwinded though. Pffft. To my own detriment, I find myself to be more than willing to admit when I am wrong, and to admit to certain failures that I have.  I don’t necessarily find it difficult to see the negative in myself – although I really do need to try harder at finding the positive things about me.
Which is surprising, since I am a person who has a pretty positive outlook on life. This contradiction in me is something I choose to see as yet another of life’s great mysteries. Perhaps someday I will know the why’s and how’s, but for now, I will just work with what I have.

All right. Back to those character vices. I won’t be sharing all the ones that I found that are the ‘peanut butter to my jelly’ with regards to character – this would require being a little too personal. And trust me, there are parts of me that are better left unknown. (Attempting to insert a wicked laugh here, but the best I have is sounding too much like a Santa Claus belly chuckle. Pffft.)

Doubt. Yes. This is a big one for me. The description reads something like, “lack of trust and confidence; to suspect, to fear”. I would assume, if we are talking about a character vice, that this would mean that we kind of ‘overdo’ the doubt thing – almost to drama queen status (speaking of which, I wonder what I’ve done with my crown). Life experiences probably play a big part here, having trusted so much and been let down the equivalent.
But I can’t just blame experience.
It would appear that this is a vice of mine. Funny enough, I have a trusting side too though – and faith in people and their ability to change. Mysteries, I tell you! You see, when I read the description of doubt, my brain went into overdrive as it screamed, ‘That’s you!’ Since the numbers are probably something like 30% favourable, and 70% fitting the above description – I’m going to have to go with admission of guilt when it comes to ‘doubt’.

Impatience. To an alarming degree, in a lot of aspects of life, I am very much impatient. We don’t need a description for this one, simply because it is one we all know well. The funny thing is, I am not impatient when it comes to the things that most people would put on their list. I have been told many times, when dealing with older people, children, and waiting in line, that I have the patience of a saint. I have to agree with the majority. After all, majority rules, right? 😛 I also have no problem with being stuck in traffic. And yet, I know for a fact that Impatience is one of my vices – getting overly irritable when I could just sit back and let things happen…I mean, really, toasters and ovens can only work so fast.
I try and reassure myself, in moments of impatience,
that ‘good things come to those that wait’.
Unfortunately I have a list of good things – and I want them….yesterday. (I am no longer talking about toast and casseroles here!) 40% patient, 60% impatient – yes, I can add this character vice to my list.

I’ll give you one more of mine.
(I wish I could say that my character vices were limited to three, sigh.)
This one is a double whammy, because I believe the two go hand-in-hand in some respects – and the one above creeps in here too.

Hastiness and short-sightedness. Hastiness would mean ‘to do things or act in a hurry, for whatever reason’. Short-sightedness could be described as ‘doing without thinking about the future’. (I am considering purchasing a t-shirt right about now that states ‘Guilty As Charged’.) In my life, I have a tendency to ‘put the cart before the horse’, which sometimes results in some rather disastrous future consequences. I don’t always think things through, and become impatient – either with myself or a particular situation. This leads to rash actions and decisions, which impact the future – whether it be in a day, week, month or year. Again, we are probably all a little guilty of doing this. But as mentioned in my first vice, it becomes a vice when it gets done ‘to the maximum’, excessively so. And sadly, in this regard, I’d have to say I’m about 80% here. Sigh. I’m doing great, right?

In conclusion (because I am all ‘viced’ out right about now – and no, ‘viced’ is not a word) I’d like to add that all is not lost. My character may be flawed, but it has its positive attributes too. I shall cling to those, as I dock my little rowing boat; acknowledge my vices; and attempt to work a plan to deal with them accordingly.
All on the journey to a better me, and a better life.
Who knows what the future may hold?

Motivational Rejection

I did a strange thing today. I emailed an application for a job that wasn’t being advertised.

Probably not one of the stupidest things I have done.

Rejection was inevitable – but in that moment of the negative reply, I was motivated. Initially, I was actually shocked when the reply appeared in my inbox. He’d actually replied. To a job application. For a job that doesn’t exist.

I guess now would be as good a time as any to explain. But in my head, the explanation is so involved and complicated. For reading purposes, and possible time constraints that you as the reader may have, I’ll do my best to limit this post to a few minutes of your time.

The situation is something like this : I find myself in a rather difficult place financially. This is mostly because I am a single mom, who does not receive maintenance for either of my children (there are lengthy explanations for this, and the law doesn’t help – but that’s a whole different matter entirely).

The mostly part is significant – being responsible for two other humans can be taxing in many ways – emotionally, physically, and financially. There is a small part though that has contributed to the financial difficulties – which, depending how you look at it – may not be so small.

*side note : May I just add that my mother has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and is unfortunately becoming more fragile at an alarming rate – the disease is progressing quickly, her body is struggling, but her mind is still very much alive.  While she is still able to only just sustain herself financially – the physical and emotional responsibilities will rest on my shoulders in a month’s time, as she will be moving in here due to the inability of being able to cope on her own any longer.*

Back to that small part that is also an influence on my finances.
In high school, I was always considered highly intelligent – in fact, I was popular with the cool crowd. But only because I usually had the homework that needed to be copied. I wouldn’t say I was an ugly duckling, but I wasn’t ever going to be accepted by the cool kids. In an effort to gain that acceptance, despite knowing differently anyway, (and wanting to prove myself with a small act of rebellion against parental authority), I attended a festival – and wound up in a vehicle that was involved in an accident. I was rather badly injured. Recovery was a costly process time-wise, and meant that I had to wait and sit substitute exams in order to complete my schooling. I am not sure what happened, but the year I should have started studying, I then found myself instead at the start of a pregnancy. My son was born nine months later.

All the best intentions of studying further were consumed by relationship and the responsibilities that come with that, as well as a growing infant who needed me too. Finances also didn’t really allow for further education. The worst part? I was actually okay with that. I was ‘happy’, to a point, with my life the way it was. Before I knew it, time passed me by.

I sit here, at age 37, unable to find work that will support my children and I, because I have no certificates or diplomas behind me. Work credentials no longer matter, work experience and the ability to get the job done, have become a thing of the past in my town. If you don’t have the piece of paper, you don’t get the job. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter if you have the piece of paper, but can’t do the job. Sense? This makes none.

The desire to study now is not just about the above. It goes a little deeper than that. It’s the fact that I really want to learn. In my family, you haven’t achieved if you don’t have the pieces of paper. Oh, to have acknowledgement and be popular with the people who are supposed to love you, no matter what. It’s a desire I fear will never be met. It’s not just about them though. It’s about me. It’s about wanting the knowledge that I am not just a ‘pretty face’ who let her brain go to waste. There’s a definite sense of personal fulfilment in all of this.

Right. So that was a bit of background. If you skipped over half of it, I wouldn’t blame you.

Back to the beginning. I am known (even at the local supermarket) as a motivating and encouraging person who smiles all the while, even when my heart is breaking. I have learnt, courtesy of wrong choices and some extremely terrible consequences, how to move forward. I have learnt which battles are worth fighting; which things can be changed and more importantly to make peace with the things that can’t. To accept, to not judge, to be kind.  And to always wear a smile, because you’re never fully dressed without one.

As a human being, I have my off days, and I fail. But in a nutshell, the above is pretty much who I am. And for the off days, there’s always chocolate.

I run a small reading club for children, which happens on a Friday afternoon. But I have found that, while it is popular with the children (who ask all the time why we can’t do it every day), the club has not grown – and as a single income source, it’s not sustaining us. I need to find some form of mornings only work, to add to this income, in order for us to survive.

Where I live, these positions are extremely difficult to come by. And considering that my town has the highest unemployment rate in my country, I am sure you will understand when I say that my chances don’t look good. I remain hopeful though – I often joke that I am a Prisoner of Hope in every area of my life. I just don’t seem capable of giving up.

So, this morning, I did it. I was searching the available job ads, as I do every morning as part of my second cup of coffee routine. And I saw it. It wasn’t a job advertisement. But it advertised a company that focuses on wellness coaching. My three dream jobs, in no particular order, are as follows :

To become a writer; to become a motivational speaker; to work for an events company. The advert got me to thinking…and since I am a firm believer in ‘you’ll never know until you try’, I tried.

I sent him an email, outlining who I was. I then explained that I was emailing him to enquire as to any available positions within the company in a ‘mornings only’ or contract role.

His rejection came an hour later. It was a simple email – and since his job is ‘mental coaching’, the encouraging statement at the end might just have been related to the fact that he’s really good at what he does.

He said : “You sound like a person who sees things as they are. Good. Please keep on searching. Someone will notice you.”

Part of his job, or not, his rejection of employment (in all fairness, he has moved towns and does not require an employee in my area) helped tremendously. You see, I had stepped out of the box for a moment. I took myself out of my comfort zone, and asked for something that I knew was not available anyway. As far as personal growth goes – forget giant leaps for mankind. It was a giant leap for my mind – the abilities that I have and so often neglect to see when I am overwhelmed by so many other things, like the lack of a certificate or diploma.

I have been motivated to not hide behind applications for jobs advertised alone, but to take the leap of faith and try other avenues too. Because you never know, if you don’t try.

Chocolate Medicine

Today is one of those days. A day where my identity seems to exist solely on problems. It started with something simple, but sparked a thought. Instead of stopping my mind in its tracks, I went with that thought.
(You’d think I’d know differently by now!)

And we walked hand in hand down a road that used to be well travelled in my life. I got stuck in the regrets of the past, mistakes I had made.

This, naturally, led to anxiety over my current situation – I suddenly began to worry more than I should about the future, about the things that are happening in the now. Worry and anxiety that changes nothing. It just made me sick.

By eleven o’clock this morning, I had a pounding in my head, and a throbbing in my neck. Only to discover that the medicine cabinet held nothing to ease the aching. And so I sat on my bed, and cried. No, actually, I didn’t.

I did sit on my bed though. And I wondered about ‘the mess of this thing we all have in common’ – life.
(I wrote an article about that a while back that you can read here)

I remembered that life will never actually be simple. But every moment of it is a chance to let go a little. To accept it, for what it is. A beautiful mess.
I read my article again, was thankful for my ‘work-of-art’ life, and grabbed a bar of chocolate on my way out the door.

Life lesson #(who knows, I lost count)

Always make sure that you have enough chocolate 😉

Intro Extro and Balance

Lately I have been struggling with the whole concept of being an introvert or an extrovert. I think this is because I used to be an extreme extrovert, and after a few other ex’s under my belt and years of wisdom added to my youthfulness,  I appear to have switched gears and find myself feeling  like I am more of an introvert.

I’ve done some research, and apparently I am wrong. You see, research indicates that you can’t switch from one to the other. That said, apparently as we get older, we naturally develop certain brain functions, which then result in us become ‘well-rounded’.

In my internet browsing, I found a site (plenty, actually) with questionnaires to indicate whether or not you’re an introvert. My answers below are based on the one you can find here

Do I enjoy having time to myself? Yes.
The strange thing is that up until 3 years ago, I hated it. It distressed me to be ‘by myself’ – even if I had a good book to read. I needed to know that there was someone else around. Nowadays, I look forward to alone-time – and it’s definitely a time to recharge my flat battery. The quiet does me good (although I seem to take longer than most to be fully charged). But I can definitely ‘social’ when I need to.

Do I think best when I’m alone? Sometimes.
This answer is neither here nor there. I suppose it all depends on the thoughts. I do know that I value the input of others, and regularly seek advice (usually from people who I know will not be too disappointed if I don’t do what they think I should do). Some results I simply cannot achieve alone – I know my limitations, and act accordingly – when it comes to thinking, at least. 😉

Can I only lead when a group are self-starters? No.
If it’s one thing I haven’t lost from my childhood, it’s the ability to lead. I wouldn’t say I am always a good  leader but I have great leadership qualities…..no matter who might be a part of the target group.

Do I raise my hand last when something is required from a group? Yes.
Sadly, my days of volunteering and taking on a multitude of tasks that utterly overwhelm me and end in great distress, are over. I still volunteer for various activities – sometimes even without being asked – but again, I know my limitations.

Do other people ask for my opinion? Sometimes.
It depends on the people. My brother used to have a poster of a huge orang-utan that said, “If I want your opinion, I will beat it out of you”. So he never asked for mine, and I doubt he ever will. But others have been known to come to me – when I answer my phone or open the door, that is 😛 (Just kidding – no, really. I DO answer!)

Do I often wear headphones in a public situation? No.
For others? I don’t judge. But for me, personally, I would feel like I was being rude. (And besides, they’d mess up my hair)

Do I prefer not to engage with people who are angry and upset? No.
I have a teenage son. Enough said. 😉

While I am not confrontational, I don’t like for people to be angry OR upset, and so will do my best to step in and assist, if that’s what they want.

Do I get more calls, texts and emails than what I make? Yes.
And I’m not counting all the junk mail that comes in – how do these people find me!!??!!

Do I initiate small talk with sales people and people with whom I have casual contact? Yes.
This is actually a big ‘yes’. A trip to the local supermarket for just bread and milk is usually a half hour affair. There’s the man who packs the shelves, who shows me the latest pictures of his niece and chats about the antics of the world of children; the manager on duty who I stop to chat to about how their day is going and offer a little encouragement (and a laugh if it’s particularly bad); the cashier who I chat to about the weather, and various other small talk items.

Then there’s always the ‘other person in the queue’ etc. etc.

I smile a lot. And yes, I am chatty to a certain degree. I exhaust myself sometimes! 😛

All in all, I have four yes answers; two sometimes answers and three no answers. When I think about it, I appear to be somewhat balanced, and well-rounded (and I don’t just mean my figure 😛 ).

My goodness, I AM getting older. 😛 😉

Feeling rather chuffed

I was nominated for another award. This may not seem like much to some, but to me it’s viewed in high regard – and naturally inspires me to blog more, and blog better. (Speaking of which, I better get cracking because I need to post something again relatively soon.) It’s most humbling for me, because I never thought anyone would actually read my blogs – after all, how much do I have to say that is deemed worthy as great reading?

So the award is called the Premio Dardos award. I was nominated by the lovely Genuinelyellie and am very appreciate for the nomination. Thank you, thank you. 🙂

The award is (according to what I found at her site) awarded to bloggers by bloggers, for “recognition of cultural, ethical, literary and personal values that are transmitted in the form of creative and original writing ideas.”

There’s no need to do anything, or expose yourself to answering questions that you may find too personal either. It’s just a small matter of thanking the person who nominated you (that would be me), posting the badge on your page, and nominating 15 other fellow bloggers ….. notifying those you nominated. (In no particular order.)

Ipremiodardosblogaward-2

The award is now passed along to the following fellow bloggers :

Dennis Cardiff

A Pict in PA

Kaitlin Bain

Everyday Derring Do

Ordinary Adventures

The Ninth Life

Inner Ramblings

The River Walk

Reverie of a Glitter Aficionado

rachelmankowitz

On living and working

MOTHER OF NECESSITY

A bunch of Ramblings

1000 words are not enough

Zoe Younger

Triple Troubles

According to folklorists, it is an ancient superstition that good or bad things happen in threes – but I’m also guessing that it’s a modern thing too, because I hear ‘that’ saying almost every day. “These things happen in three’s, you know.”

Apparently it’s the American way to see it in three’s (but we do here too), Native Americans see it in four’s, the Chinese see it in five’s. I’m going to go with three’s, thank you very much, especially if we’re talking bad things. Claudia de Lys is an American anthropologist, and has written a whole bunch of books on folklore and superstition. She reckons that, particularly when it comes to the bad side of the three’s, psychologically we choose to believe this concept because we need to have the reassurance that the bad things will end.

I am not superstitious. I believe differently.

But that said, I have now experienced a ‘three’ of my own. It’s been a bad three, and unfortunately ‘they’ are still here – sometimes when I close my eyes at night, sometimes in my dreams – never the same players, but always the same game. They may not seem as devastating to you as they were to me, but they have definitely messed with my psych and left me emotionally retarded at present.

  • As some of you will know from previous posts, I am a dog person. But it runs deeper than just loving my own handsome mutt. My whole life I have had a passion for dogs. I’m the kind of person who will go to a party, and spend the evening with the dog. I grow attached to canines rather quickly, and considering their rather short life span, this always ends in tragedy for me. On the other hand, I am wary of some dogs, and know when to NOT be affectionate, and just back off.
    It’s rather a long story, but I’ll make it short.
    My neighbour has two dogs. One is a mixed breed, who I love dearly. The other is a German Shepherd cross Husky, and has been temperamental of late – but I have always been wary of him. They’re both male, and the temperamental one has not been neutered. He’s the younger of the two – and twice the size of the mixed breed.
    Three weeks ago, my neighbours were out, and the big dog decided to claim his role as the Alpha in their yard. I phoned my neighbour to come home, and he said he was on his way. He told me not to go near the yard. I stood at my front door, unable to see the dogs due to the fence that runs around their property, but could hear. By the time my neighbour got home, I was a sobbing wreck, my own dog standing beside me shivering. I had listened to fifteen minutes of the smaller dog yelping, the larger dog growling and attacking – and I could do nothing. Thankfully, it ended well, in a sense. The smaller dog went off to the vet, got 50 stitches, and came home. They have now been separated and my neighbour is building a fence in his yard to keep them permanently so. But that yelping, those sounds…..they echo in my ears and make my heart sore.
  • Two days after the dog disturbance, my daughter was invited to a party, pretty much on the other side of town. On our drive there, we came to a busy intersection where there just was no gap in the traffic in order for us to continue, and so we had to wait. At this intersection was a group of drunk men. (11am. This is common for where I live, and so is what happened, but it was the first time we had to see it up close.) A fight broke out right next to us. We were stuck, with nowhere to go, as one man got the other to the ground and began beating him. A phone call to the local police was met with, “Sorry, we have no vehicles now. We’ll send someone when we can.” We were trapped, and although I begged my daughter not to look – well, you know what kids are like. I was watching traffic, as well as trying to keep an eye on the other men (to make sure no one approached our car and tried to harm us), and finally there was a gap and I drove away. That incident bothered my daughter so that she slept in my bed that night – and even now, she asks at least once a day, “Mommy, do you think that man beat the other man to death? Do you think he died?” I try and reassure her with a reply like, “I’m sure the cops got there in time,” but I know differently. Reading everyday experiences in our newspapers of late tells me what the outcome was.
  • Last week, my daughter got so terribly ill – and collapsed from dehydration, despite my best efforts of making her drink fluids. It all happened so fast, but before I knew it, she was pale and seemingly lifeless in a hospital bed, on a drip. As per a previous post, I thought that was the end. It was also almost the end of me. A pleasing result now – you’d never say it happened, she’s as chirpy as a hungry baby bird. But it was awful at the time.

It was only two days ago, when playing catch up in an email with my father and re-telling events as they happened, that I realised that there were three. And that saying came back to me. And it made me wonder. Because if these things happen in three’s, then that means the bad is over….for now.

You see, this begs the question…… do I wait for the next ‘three bad’ cycle to appear……or does it mean I am in line for ‘three good things’ now?

Perhaps it’s a good thing I am not superstitious.

I nominate…

As per yesterday’s post, I won a Liebster Award!

liebster

(Badge courtesy of Travelitgirl)

Now it is time for me to nominate my ‘eleven’, and post eleven questions for them to answer.
You don’t HAVE to accept the nomination – but it would be nice.

Quick recap of the rules :

  1. Thank the one who nominated you
  2. Display the Liebster award logo of choice
  3. Answer the eleven questions posed to you by your nominator
  4. Nominate eleven (11) fellow bloggers and
  5. Ask them eleven questions to keep the love going

So here goes : I pass along this award to the following fellow bloggers :

hardhope
ricksreviewz
jandudy
t0bec0nsidered
theglitteraficionado
joshperillo
traceylclark
motherofnecessity
pictinpa
everydayderringdo
rachelmankowitz

And here are your questions :

  1. What is your dream career?
  1. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  1. What helps you relax?
  1. Who inspires you, and why?
  1. What is your favourite season, and why?
  1. How long have you been blogging, and what made you start?
  1. What 3 words would you use to describe yourself?
  1. What has blogging taught you?
  1. What is the worst job you have ever had?
  1. What does ‘freedom’ mean to you?
  1. What’s your favourite food?

I am looking forward to reading your answers! There’s no time limit to posting – so no pressure 😉

It’s here, at last!

So……it’s taken me a while, because life always happens when I have other plans…….but here it is, at last!

*Drum roll please*

I was nominated for an award. Yip. You read that right.
I’m flabbergasted! Speechless! (And so were my fingers, for a while!)

It’s called the Liebster Award, and is an award given by bloggers, to other bloggers.
The rules for this award are as follows :

  1. Thank the one who nominated you:
  2. Display the Liebster award logo of choice:
  3. Answer the eleven questions posed to you by your nominator:
  4. Nominate eleven (11) fellow bloggers and
  5. Ask them eleven questions to keep the love going:

So without further ado….

THANK YOU to A @ Moylom Enterprises for this distinguished award! Thank you for your faith in my abilities, and for seeing promise in my writing. Your support is very much appreciated!

liebster-award-digital-art-by-moylom-enterprises

And here is my answer to those amazing 11 questions that you put to me…..

1. What is one go-to thing that cheers you up no matter what?

This is such an interesting question, because in ‘my world’ it cannot be limited to just one thing. A baby’s giggle – that tummy chuckle that starts from deep within, and erupts from their throats; a puppy – everything about it, including its puppy breath; a friend that shows up on my doorstep with a gift – any gift : coffee, chocolate, wine, flowers (but always better when it’s something we can share).

Recently, however, I had a frightening experience. My daughter had a bad reaction to an antibiotic, and vomited for two hours straight. I was instructed to take her to the hospital – and twenty minutes after arriving, she collapsed from dehydration. My stomach sank, and it took everything in me not to crumble. As I looked down at her pale and seemingly lifeless body, every breath that I took was a mumbled, ‘Don’t take her. Please don’t take her.”

We were alone in emergency for two hours, the drip in her arm steadily feeding her liquids after the painkiller and anti vomit medication had found its way into her veins. I sat there, holding her limp hand, alone. And then her little eyes opened, somewhat vacant at first. She turned her head and looked at me, and smiled. In that moment, I was cheered up instantly. My ‘baby’s’ smile did the trick – and it was better than any of the things I have mentioned above. Her antics the past two days, and seeing her eat and drink without losing any of it, has been cheerful medicine for me.

2. What’s your favorite form of exercise?

Garfield comes to mind here. I remember a cartoon with him captioned, “Whenever I think about exercise, I lie down till the thought goes away.”
Another saying comes to mind, “I get enough exercise pushing my luck, jumping to conclusions, and flying off the handle”.
None of these apply to me though – well, not really. Although admittedly, I sometimes do push my luck, and fly off the handle.

I am not big on exercise. In younger years I loved aerobics – but after two serious car accidents, and with age taking me almost to the top of the hill already, I have to be careful with all that jolting and jiving.
I love to dance though. I’m one of those who will get on the dance floor when the music starts, and will dance four hours straight, not stopping for anything. (It usually takes me a few days to recover though.) I don’t get out much to dance these days though.

Walking would have to be my next favourite – long walks with beautiful scenery, like the beach, or a forest. But at the moment, where I live, it is no longer safe to go for a walk – so I have to limit my walking to parking on the other side of the parking lot when I need to do my shopping.

3. Who is your favorite person in the Bible and why?

I’m afraid I can’t pinpoint just one – so many, for so many different reasons. I love the way Noah took no notice of society, and went ahead and built that big old Ark – he didn’t bend under the pressure of his peers; David was only human, and was brave enough to admit when he was wrong; I love how Esther managed to keep her faith, and still submit to her husband – great strength of character; and then there’s Paul, who was content no matter what.

If only we could all carry these virtues in our hearts (what a different world we would live in, and how different our lives would be) : to not bend under the pressure of the world as to how we see ourselves, and what we do; to admit when we are wrong, no matter the consequences; to hold onto what we believe and yet still respect others; to be content with what we have, instead of always wanting more and ‘doing whatever it takes’ to get it.

4. If you had to choose a vacation destination and money was no object where would you go and why?

Now you are NOT allowed to laugh. And if you’re American, you’re going to. Especially if you know the town I am going to mention. (There’s a bigger picture here though.)

Firstly, the destination would be AMERICA – good ol’ USA. You did say that money was no object – so there’d be a few destinations there. But our first stop would be a little town called Hutchinson in Kansas (yeah, you’re laughing).

Bigger picture, remember? Eleven years ago, I began blogging in a community – a very warm one – and I made a LOT of American FRIENDS. I call them friends, because when I just couldn’t put any more heart into blogging due to circumstances, we added each other on Facebook. Phone calls, emails, Facebook friends – these people were more active in my life than my close-by friends. I consider them more ‘my family’ – and they probably know me about as much as I know myself.

There is one friend though who is more like a sister. We’ve been through hell together, from both our sides, over the past eleven years. We lose touch for a few months, and pick it up right where we left off. I have ‘watched’ her children grow, as she has watched mine, and we have shared the triumphs and disappointments of motherhood, and life, along the way. (We still do.) We often joke that the only reason we have different mothers is because one mother couldn’t handle both of us. She is me – only a wilder version 😉  Not wild in a bad way. But she’s the tough one. I have my strengths – but she’s stronger. She’s fit, and in comparison, I’m fat. She’s successful in so many ways, I’m still waiting at the airport for that ship to come in 😛 She’s still married, I am twice divorced. We are so opposite, and yet….we’re the same. For Grey’s Anatomy fans – she is my person.

And before I die, I want to sit on the porch swing with her, (while her husband barbeques, and our ‘little’ kids – who are the same age – irritate each other somewhere in the vicinity), and sip wine, and talk – face-to-face. I want to meet my ‘sister’.

I’m sure you’re still getting over the disappointment of Hutchinson, Kansas…..so here’s a more exciting next stop.

My daughter and I are huge fans of American movies – in fact, my ‘sister’ there hasn’t seen half of what we have, let alone heard of them. Ha!

A popular one though that everyone knows, and is one of our favourites, is ‘New Years Eve’. I want to take my daughter to New York – Times Square on NYE. Even if we’re just in a hotel with a view of it all – our hearts desire. Of course, she wants to see Disneyland, and Los Angeles (so many movies associated with this!) – and she wants to dance at one of the large dancing companies (inspired by Another Cinderella Story). We want to see Texas, and see real life cowboys; and experience ranch life (Dr Dolittle 3 and a few others). We want to experience all the rainy days of Seattle (Sleepless in Seattle), and go to the top of the Empire State Building (same movie). On ‘my sister’s recommendation’, we have to check out Arizona too!! Strangely enough, when I mention Hollywood (and all the famous actors/actresses), she just shrugs her shoulders and says, “Ok”.

My son is 17, and is aiming at pursuing his own dream soon – Australia.

Thank goodness ONE of my children shares my love and passions for the US 😉

So if money was no object : Destination USA. And we’d do the country proud with our tourism.

5. What would you consider to be the most important aspect of a person’s character ?

This is a short one – Integrity. Because it leads to so many of the other character traits that are positive to one’s being.

6. What would you consider to be your ultimate purpose in life ?

To live it to the best of my ability. And by live it, I don’t mean, “Party hard. Die young. Have a good-looking corpse”. I mean, “reaching and striving to be the best I can be, sharing and caring and impacting lives in a way that means something positive, even if only just for one person in a day, week, month, or year; helping my children to grow and build their characters and become the best they can be, no matter how long it takes.”

7. What goals would you like to accomplish in the next 5 to 10 years?

This is pretty much self-explanatory, if you refer to number 4 above. It probably doesn’t seem like much of a goal to many of you – but trust me, it would be quite an achievement. If I wasn’t a citizen of my country, I’d even go so far as to set up a crowdfunding account – laugh out loud!

Reality is that this is a goal that I may never achieve. But I remain filled with hope. I call myself a ‘prisoner of hope’, for even in the darkest days when I think nothing will ever work out, that tiny seed of hope in my heart continues to grow.

My other goal would be to become a writer – a writer who could actually make a living off what is produced by my mind. This would certainly bring me a lot closer to the original goal – number 4 above.

Thing is, in my country, many are struggling to survive on what they earn – and those are couples : two incomes. In my house, I am the sole income contributor – I receive no maintenance for my children ( a long and complicated story, and the laws are different here), and so there are moments where it seems we won’t even survive. In those moments though, that seed of hope receives a sprinkle of water, because something always happens – and we’ve never gone hungry. There is no opportunity to save, no opportunity to invest – but there is the opportunity to continue dreaming, and hoping….and so the seed plants roots.

8. What do you enjoy most about blogging/writing?

As I am sure many will agree, blogging/writing is a great outlet for feelings, and the thoughts that gather in your mind but have nowhere to go. For me, however, the real enjoyment comes in the form of someone who expresses appreciation for what I have written – perhaps something I have said has helped another, or has made someone smile. Maybe they just enjoyed ‘wading through my words’.

It gives me a great sense of satisfaction that someone has taken the time to read something I have written, and have found pleasure in it.

9. What are your thoughts on global warming, renewable resources, clean energy, recycling etc?

Global Warming? This quote : “The most important thing about global warming is this.         Whether humans are responsible for the bulk of climate change is going to be left to the        scientists, but it’s all of our responsibility to leave this planet in better shape for the     future generations than we found it.Mike Huckabee

In fact, all of those listed above come down to this : environmental responsibility.

If we don’t take care of our bodies, and continue to live in a way that is harmful for them, then our bodies begin to give in – liver fails, kidneys fail, heart stops…..and our bodies cease to exist. “Despite the high cost of living, it remains popular”, and so we do everything we can to combat failed kidneys, liver, heart. Why would we not do the same for the earth we live on? If it ceases to exist, so do we.

10. What do you like most about where you live right now?

This is a sensitive subject for me at the moment – and I am not going to get into all the reasons why because it might spark a debate that I just don’t have the energy for right now. (And since ‘my kind’ has now been added to the genocide watch list, I am sure you can understand why.)
But after much thought, I will say this : What I like the most about where I live right now is that I have two beautiful children who live with me, a dog who is my constant companion, and I have trees in my backyard.

11. How does it feel to be nominated for this award?

Honestly? Two very strong feelings.
Honoured. That someone would deem me worthy of even attempting this task. And…..

Intimidated. That voice in my head – the one that never keeps quiet (but sometimes gets a root from the seed of hope stuck in its throat) – tells me that I may not be able to do justice to this award, and thus will be a failure. Thankfully, failure is something I am used to….and I am always up for its next challenge.

And that, fellow bloggers, is that. I am working on my set of 11 questions, and will be making nominations soon…..so watch this space! Hope you enjoyed the long read 😉