An old Western, of sorts!

They say that the ‘art of writing is in the rewriting’. If this were 100% correct, then the blog post I will be publishing should be a masterpiece worthy of an award. Ha ha!
I have worked on this post (written, deleted, rewritten) for almost four weeks now! Goodness gracious me! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

I’ve now reached the point of no return – I need to publish something, and so here it is. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. (She tips her hat, loops her thumbs in her leather belt, and puts one cowgirl boot forward. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

It’s been just over three months since my last blog post. That’s just sad! I didn’t realise it had been that long. And yet… at the same time… so much has happened in that ‘short space of time’ that it feels longer.

Long story short? (When have I ever managed to use less words when telling a story, ha ha?!? I’ll do my best here though…)

I’ve been extremely ill. And many will mutter ‘over exaggeration’, and that’s okay because even now when I think of it, it seems unreal that that is what I was reduced to! There were entire days where even getting to the bathroom seemed impossible, let alone trying to get my brain to focus!
I went from Severe Bronchospasm, to Bronchial Pneumonia, then Pneumonia, and throw in some Pleurisy too. Along the way (at the beginning, with sufficient time in between) I had two Covid tests, but both were negative.
Blood tests about 4 weeks ago (because I just wasn’t recovering) showed that I had indeed had Covid, and the conclusion was that I now have Long Covid. Up until the point of the tests, the fatigue (coupled with the chronic fatigue that I already suffer from) was debilitating, to say the least. Thankfully, treatment has been adjusted, and I can make it through a good few hours before I feel like my whole being will shut down.
The ‘Porridge Brain/ Brain Fog’ is something else… especially for someone like me! If you love to read, like I do, you will understand my pain when I say : I could not even read half a page in my book! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
And apparently I have developed asthma!

The GOOD news is that I am definitely recovering! So, my beautiful blogging world, you’ve not heard the last of me yet! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I already know that what I am about to type now is going to hurt me somewhere deep inside, and the tears will fall uncontrollably as I type, and I will have to stop to try and settle myself, so that I can see the keyboard and screen, and get through this.
I feel my chest tightening already, and I am struggling to swallow the lump rising in my throat. I am actually feeling physical pain, as if my heart is breaking all over again ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Five weeks and one day ago, at 2:10pm, my beautiful big companion and very best friend (my boy, Toffee Dog, who I blogged about here, and have mentioned countless times along the way) collapsed. I had to rush him to the vet, somehow knowing that ‘this was it’. I still don’t know how I drove us there safely, and made it home safely. Because I sobbed, both ways. You’d need to read the blog post, and perhaps try to understand (draw on your sympathetic and understanding part of your mind), in order to appreciate the drastic impact this had on me.
Honestly, it was the hardest goodbye of my life thus far.
(He had a brain tumour.)
And true to being a psychologists nightmare (which I often declare that I am, ha! ๐Ÿ˜› ) I still struggle to say the above out loud, and my composure still shatters, five weeks and one day later, when I think about him too much!
So… now that you have confirmed your suspicions that I am a special kind of crazy (I am smiling with my tears) let’s move on, shall we?

I’ll leave you with some good ๐Ÿ˜‰

In the three+ months that I have been M.I.A from WordPress, despite physical and emotional pain, each and every day has given me an ‘in your face’ moment of gratitude. Something good has happened (albeit something small most days) in a way that I have been unable to overlook! An email; a message on my phone; assistance in some way (a meal delivered, my kids helping with the housework) – all things that brought a smile and a whispered ‘thank you’ to my lips.
All things that equate to acts of love.
Love that fanned the flame of hope, so that even if it wanted to, it could not die.

May hope spring eternal for all of you, every day, in some way!
Please don’t forget that the world needs someone like YOU, and you are loved!
โค

Thank you for reading. โค Here’s to me writing to you all again soon ๐Ÿ˜‰

Cracked Pots

quotefancy.com

I also like to think that that is how the light shines through.

It’s a nice thought : some of us are perfect. But it’s not true. Even if that is how we may perceive some people to be.

I painted this weirdo about ten years ago :

My favourite thing about him was his cracks. I loved filling them in, and in the odd spot? Adding in some of my own. ๐Ÿ˜‰ For me, when he was finished, he was ‘perfect’. Just the way he was. He still stands in my home, and is one of my sources of joy.

This morning, I read (for the umpteenth time) this little story, and wanted to share it with you :

”A water bearer in China had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water. At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. “I am ashamed of myself, because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.”

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house.”

If you’re feeling a little bit broken…
(Side note : broken crayons still colour ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
If you’re worried that you may not measure up…
If you’re struggling to reach perfection in areas you are certain that you should have achieved it in…
If you’re feeling inadequate, and imperfect?

Please remember : Without you being just the way you are, there would not be ‘this beauty’ (the beauty of you) to grace the world!!!
You may feel like your light has grown dim, but it is still shining – and even dim light can brighten up the darkest room!

(And yes, we should all try to do better and be better… there is always room for improvement. But along the way, while you are trying, it’s important to remember that there is still beauty in you. You are loved โค )

Is it conditional?

Photo credit : Pinterest

I am well aware of the detriments of having a soft heart, and being willing to practice kindness on a level where your immediate response is to give/help. There have been plenty of naysayers in my life, who make enough noise about it, for me to not know.
I suppose this is where my stubbornness (and rebelliousness, ha ha!) comes in…
I still choose, and want, to have a soft heart, and give to others, and be kind.
I still choose to sometimes sacrifice self and ‘nice things’ in order to that.
I am not looking for a pat on the back here, and I do not expect anyone to ‘follow in my footsteps’ in any way.
We are all different, and the world needs each and every one of us and whatever contribution we make to it. We are not all the same, and this is not always a bad thing.
I am, however, setting the stage for ‘something’ that is close to my heart, and it’s something that I wish more people would at least consider… because there was a time that I didn’t.

Growing up, everything for me was conditional. Including love and acceptance. But that is a story for a book, and not a blog post.
I am going to focus on one particular thing though, and I’ll explain at the end of this blog post my ‘why’ for today.

The something? The one thing?
Well…. I was always taught that you never give money to beggars/street people.
”They will just waste it on alcohol or drugs. You are causing them to sin.”
(Nope… we are not even going to discuss religion here… suffice to say I am fed up with religiosity in general. Another book topic, ha ha!)
And I carried that with me my whole life… that attitude… that refusal to give any of my hard earned money to the beggars and people on the street so that they could purchase drugs and alcohol.

Until about six or seven years ago… I can’t recall the timing of it exactly, but I remember what happened.

An acquaintance of mine was on holiday, in a very cold place, and posted a picture on Facebook of her sipping a very full glass of sherry, captioning it, ”This seems to be the only way I can get warm tonight!”
We were also experiencing a bit of a cold spell then, and I smiled as my mind went to all the people I knew who were probably doing the same.
It was only the following evening that I had an epiphany and ‘my world changed’.

It was really cold, and had started raining, and I realised that I had forgotten to buy bread. I grumbled and moaned at myself as I drove up the road to the 24 hour convenience shop, to pay extra for a loaf of bread – my complaints were chastisement at the small amount of extra I’d be spending, ”how could you forget bread?”; and having to be out, again, in the cold and rain. I left the shop, climbing into my car and still grumbling because now I was wet as well…

And then I saw him. And something inside me broke.

The old African gentleman who was one of our homeless people, snuggling as close as he could get to the wall in order to try and take advantage of the small roof overhang to shield him from the rain.
I was suddenly so ashamed of myself! It definitely stopped me in my tracks.
I watched him pull a bottle of a well known brand of cheap alcohol around here from inside his coat, and take a long sip. And nowhere in me could I find that response, ”Typical. Probably starving, but bought alcohol instead.”

It was more like my mind screamed at me : ”If you lived on the street? If you had to stay exposed to this cold and rain all night? What would YOU do, Meg? Would you not have also opted for something to ‘dull’ the experience and hopefully somehow keep you warm, if possible?
I left the warmth of my car to give him the last of my cash that night – we were in for a cold spell with more rain for the next few days.
And I went home and tearfully told the story to my children, and since then all three of us have different attitudes regarding this particular thing.

(I am well aware that we all make choices, and suffer the consequences thereof. But something I am very sensitive to as well is that sometimes there may seem to be NO other choice : the drug addicted street lady who sells her body, for drugs and not food? What if she ended up there because someone repeatedly robbed her of her innocence from a young age for years, until she ran away? What if the drugs help her forget that nightmare, because no one else has even tried? What if… what if… what if…
Do I know their whole story? Who am I to judge?
Sorry! *covering my eyes with my hands* These are things I am incredibly aware of, sensitive to, and passionate about!)

I can’t explain fully, because it needs another book… but the situation around here is dire, to say the least.
My town no longer has a ‘government’ children’s home – the privately funded non-profits are full to capacity, and some overflowing. We also don’t have a homeless shelter. (Our current unemployment rate is more than 50%.)
On any given day, in the short distance of just 2km (about 1.2 miles) I drive past at least NINE ‘street dwellers’ begging for food or money. And those are just the ones I notice when my eyes are not fixed on the road. I travel roughly 90km per day…. I see a LOT of people in need.

Yes… my soft heart wants to help every. single. one.
But I know my reality, and I know it is not possible for me.

But I have got ‘my people’ – specific individuals that I help – who live in my area. One older lady, I only encounter once a week.. so when I don’t see her one week, I get concerned and am always relieved to see her the following week. There’s a kid of about 13 that I see a couple of times a week. etc. etc. etc.

I mentioned earlier I would explain my ‘why’ for this post…. so here it is :

There is a guy who begs at the traffic light up the road from my house – I drive through there possibly six times most days. He’s a little bit wild looking, ha ha! His dreadlocks are mid neck level, and stick out all over the place most of the time. He has a lot of personality, and sometimes even does a cartoon-like jig for people waiting at the red light, to entertain them. Most ignore him, but every now and then I see someone hand him a coin or two for his effort. He has the biggest smile on his face most of the time too!
He’s been hanging out there, every day, for the last 2 years.
And I’ll admit it, initially I was a little afraid of him, because he really does look crazy. Nowadays, my kids and I affectionately refer to him as ‘our crazy friend’. And even though he sees me six times in a day, he knows he only gets something from me once in a day.
He always says thank you… even if it’s a ‘drive by drop off out the window’…. he shouts it to me while I am driving away in traffic.
He interests me, I wanted to know his story… and so I asked ‘my friends’ who work at the petrol station right there about him, about a year ago.
All they could tell me was that he is actually a ‘clever man’… he finished high school and so he has some education. But his house burned down. And he lost his family. And had ‘bad friends’ and started using drugs. It made me sad.
A couple of times, I have actually stopped and sat and chatted with him. Unfortunately, his way of living means that he doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense anymore. And we battle a huge language barrier – my Xhosa (the African language spoken in this area) is extremely limited! So our chats were always very animated – lots of pointing and gesturing, ha ha!

This morning I popped onto Facebook for a quick scroll. And I burst into tears.

I drove past my crazy friend at 5:15pm last night. He waved at me, and gave me the biggest smile.
At about 6:30pm last night, some horrible person doing a STUPID speed, drove into my crazy friend. And drove away!!!!!!! Yes, it was a hit and run. And they still don’t know who that person is.
The report is that my crazy friend is in very bad shape, and his chances of survival are slim – he was unconscious with severe head injuries at the scene.
I know that if doesn’t survive, in a way it’s merciful, because his life on the street was extremely hard… especially here.
But I am still sad. And angry with that careless individual who could just drive away!

And I know I am making myself vulnerable to all the thoughts of ”how ridiculously silly that this could affect her”, ”good grief, she’s way too soft”.

Perhaps it does make me weak... perhaps I deserve judgement for it…
It doesn’t matter to me, either way.
And I am not complaining about the sadness things like this bring to my life because yes… this IS the way I want to be, and what I choose. My consequences for my choices, I guess. Ha!

The take-away from all this? The thing I am ‘really trying to say’?

Perhaps the key to trying to ‘change the world by changing ourselves’ is to reflect on our giving?
Are we giving, sharing, and being kind to only those who ‘deserve it and have earned it’, or are we willing to step forward and break out of the ‘box of conditional’ and give, share and be kind to those who ‘don’t seem to deserve it’?
Can we change things if we stop expecting something in return, and stop demanding that people meet certain requirements in order to be loved?

(I don’t know what the right or wrong answer is in any of this!
I just know I need to keep being me.)

Hoping that whatever the outcome for my crazy friend, that somehow he knew that he mattered to someone… he mattered to me!

Meg โค

People, things, social media!

Life is made up of moments. Some are good, some are bad. And some are worse. The ‘things’ in life are much the same. As are we, as people.

As individuals, we also have ‘our moments’. Sometimes I share something with someone, and then find myself giggling and adding, ”So there it is. The good, the bad and the ugly!”
Naturally, my preference is to aim to have a lot more good to share than anything else! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Social media definitely has its moments. I am only really active on Facebook. And even then, my ‘activity’ apparently leaves much to be desired! Ha! I am not very good at ‘stopping to capture things on camera’, so I’d quite possibly be an Instagram failure ๐Ÿ˜› It would appear that I don’t do very well with these things either : #

I am relatively comfortable with Facebook though. It was my very first social media account, and I found ‘finding people I knew’ rather exciting and interesting. You’re about to shake your head in horror : but I even found it interesting to find the people I didn’t want to find! (They remained ‘found’ though – not added as a friend or contacted ๐Ÿ˜› )

In the last few years, I have had to be very careful when it comes to ‘scrolling my newsfeed’ though. I have almost mastered not even stopping to read 80% of the things that my ‘Facebook friends’ post – I say almost, because sometimes I am so busy ‘scrolling to skip it’, that I miss things I would have loved to have seen! ๐Ÿ˜›

My avoidance of those posts is not because I am afraid of confrontation, or because I don’t think other people should be able to voice their opinions. It’s mostly because it is important to me to protect my inner peace. As a highly sensitive empath, I can become quite overwhelmed quite quickly.

This morning I found Facebook to be ugly, for me.

This world has changed so much, and this morning I found myself shaking my head sadly and muttering, ”Just when you thought things couldn’t get worse”, as I saw my timeline flooded with the Russia/Ukraine situation. I think I managed to read three posts, with comments, before I simply had to shut it down!

I found my heart hurting about the situation itself, and about the way people were speaking to each other – zero respect – just because opinions varied, about the amount of hate that was jumping out at me from my phone screen.

I needed more coffee!

(I don’t drink coffee to wake up! I wake up to drink coffee ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

A few thoughtful sips had me reaching for my phone again. No, I am not a sucker for punishment! ๐Ÿ˜›
My theory was this : Life, as I know it, is made up of moments. There is bad, but there is also good. So somewhere in the bad in my newsfeed, there simply HAS to be a hidden gem of good, and I mustn’t miss it!

My brain kicked in as well ๐Ÿ˜› (Okay, yes, I wake up to drink coffee… to wake me up ๐Ÿ˜› )

My mind focused on names, as opposed to status updates. And I only stopped scrolling when I came across the name of someone who I knew ‘handled their Facebook’ very similar to the way I ‘handle’ mine – sharing positives, funny things, love and kindness as opposed to news headlines and personal opinions that lead to ‘comment fighting’.

I was not disappointed, because here this was :

I DO need to point out the following though :

YOUR fully, bravely and beautifully are YOURS! The same way mine is mine.
Please don’t ever feel like you’re doing it wrong, or that you’ve failed, or that you’re a fool just because yours is different.

I overheard the guy behind me on his phone yesterday afternoon. I don’t know who he was talking to but I heard him say, ”I live my life to the fullest – that’s why I go fishing and surfing often. It would be a waste of my life if I didn’t. You’re wasting your life, bro!”

I DID wonder why he was making this assumption about ‘the bro’ on the other end of the line, and chuckled to myself : ”Well, Meg, you’re wasting your life! You don’t surf and you haven’t been fishing in about seven years!” ๐Ÿ˜›

I could chuckle because I know that fishing and surfing are not my ‘fully’.

So whether it is, or isn’t enough, for others : please go out today and do things fully, bravely and beautifully in the way that reflects YOU!

Thank you for reading โค
Meg (who is not going surfing, or fishing! ๐Ÿ˜› )

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ˜› ) 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! ๐Ÿ˜‰
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 ๐Ÿ˜›

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ˜›
BUT…..

Back to the beginning of this blog post? I am winning, everyone! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ˜›
And this time, I am truly appreciating each of those lessons!

Thank you for sticking around to read ๐Ÿ˜‰ Here’s to unbecoming – in a ladylike manner ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰
I hope you are all well โค

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 ๐Ÿ˜› )

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 ๐Ÿ˜›

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? ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

โค

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 ๐Ÿ˜›

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 ๐Ÿ˜›

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. ๐Ÿ˜› )

Please be safe, everyone. Thank you for stopping by โค

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! ๐Ÿ˜› (My daughter eats it whatever the weather, though! ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

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 dรฉcor 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
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!” ๐Ÿ˜›
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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
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? ๐Ÿ˜›

We were waiting for our order, and my soul was busy soaking it all up ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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? ๐Ÿ˜› )… 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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

(P.S. Management has now decorated that glass jar ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 โค

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) will help you to write a bit more…

Remember that a ‘grateful heart is a magnet for miracles’ ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here’s hoping you all have a miraculously beautiful weekend ๐Ÿ˜‰ โค

Sparrows and Storms

I need to warn you that this is a rather long post. And because of the content, some may struggle with it – and that’s okay โค But my hope is that somewhere in here, you will be encouraged and know that you are loved too.


What a week it has been! Yet again! It would seem that the ‘weather of life’ for me has chosen to be stormy. But my boat still floats ๐Ÿ˜‰
Despite outside judgements, and raised eyebrows because ‘there is no way she could be for real’, I have decided to completely embrace and love this part of me that has blossomed the last few months – the part that still really has peace in my soul, and joy in my heart, even though my floating boat looks like it may lose a plank ๐Ÿ˜› ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have a story in a story to share with you.. but before I do, I need to give you some background.

In my town, we all know it is risky to drink the water from our taps. Our failing infrastructure and inadequate water treatment plants makes it that way. I think the last cholera outbreak in my town was about seven years ago… but a study done in 2019 pretty much confirmed we’re heading for the next one. Sigh. Then again, maybe not. Because we are currently in a serious drought and dam levels are falling, fast. Based on current capacity, we may not have water in our taps by October. Some areas in a neighbouring town, which is a lot larger than mine, are already experiencing this.
And these are in ‘major towns and cities’. (Many rural areas have not had access to water for far too many years – but that’s a whole other story entirely!) But I digress….

SO! Three times a week, I visit a small family owned water shop, to purchase purified water. I have to go so often, because I can only carry 10 litres in each hand a time ๐Ÿ˜› (I am a water baby, as are my kids… so we drink a lot of water – my first thought about the threat of taps running dry was not showering or flushing the loo… but what on earth am I going to drink!!!)
I started going to this particular shop about three years ago now, and at first I was just a customer.
Then one Monday I walked in, and the young lady (she’s my age ๐Ÿ˜› ) named Vee, who is always there working with her dad, was all alone. The shop was busy that day, and so I got my water and went on my way. Two days later, she was alone again. This time, it was just her and I, and so I asked, ”Where’s Dad? Gone on holiday?” Tears filled her eyes, and she could barely get the words out, as she told me that he had had a heart attack and was in the ICU at a nearby hospital and it didn’t look good. This was pre-Covid, so I grabbed her and gave her a long hug. I watched her shop while she went to the bathroom to compose herself, and when I left, I gave her my number in case she needed anything.
I stopped in there the next day, with a chocolate and a little note of encouragement for her, and asked how her dad was. There was no change.
On my Friday fill up, I took her another bar of chocolate (because chocolate always helps) and I was thrilled to see a huge smile on her face, and be told that Dad was out of ICU and improving steadily!
She messaged me on the Sunday, excited to let me know that she was on her way to fetch him – he was coming home. And to thank me for my encouragement and caring.
And a friendship was born.
With the pandemic, her dad stays home these days. But every now and then, he drops something off for her and I happen to be there, and I get to say hi.
Vee and I have never gone out for coffee, or visited at each other’s homes – but there are times where filling my water means filling my tummy with a cuppa too – and I’ll end up spending a whole hour there sometimes. So we are friends – just not ”social” friends ๐Ÿ˜›

Now for the story in a story…

At the beginning of last week, she gave me this bookmark she had made for me.

The writing on it says : ”Not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. (Matthew 10:29-31)”

You’ll also notice the coin randomly stuck on it next to the bird. It is a one cent piece – which stopped being minted in my country in 2002. They are a VERY rare find these days – they are not valuable, as such, but you just don’t see them anymore.

What happened was this :
Vee closed up shop on the Saturday at lunchtime and was sweeping the floor, when out from under a display counter came this small one cent coin. As she picked it up, she has no idea why, but she thought of me. She slipped it in her pocket and forgot about it. She found it again later that evening, and put it on her dressing table.
On Sunday morning, her online church sermon was based on the verse above from Matthew, about the sparrow. Again she thought of me. (I really struggle with my self esteem, sigh. It’s utterly ridiculous!)
So she set about making the bookmark for me, as a reminder to me that I truly am loved! She put the bookmark on her dressing table and happened to glance at the one cent coin. To her surprise, the picture on that particular coin was two sparrows!!!! So of course she simply HAD to attach it to my bookmark! And boy, did she have a story to tell me! ๐Ÿ˜‰
Later that evening, curiosity got the better of her, and she did some research… and it gave her ANOTHER story to tell me!

The story she found was posted by someone named MEGAN!! And to prove I am not making it up, I will share the screenshots of the story as my way of telling it to you ๐Ÿ˜‰

I may be in the midst of really stormy weather. I might still struggle with my self esteem and find it hard to believe and feel the good things about myself.

But I am grateful that something I never have to doubt is what I KNOW, despite how I feel…
I am valuable and I am loved.
And I hope you all know that too, dear friends!
โค (Even in the times when we may not feel it!)