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˜‰ ❀

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 ❀ 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 πŸ˜‰
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 πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜› (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 πŸ˜› ) 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 πŸ˜›

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! πŸ˜‰
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 πŸ˜‰

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!
❀ (Even in the times when we may not feel it!)

no guarantees

I don’t have a whole lot to say today – but every word in this picture rings true…. especially with this pandemic!

And in case you are wondering, I am grateful for all of you in this very large blogging world! ❀

Important side note : not everyone will love you back. Even the people who are related to you, and ‘should’. Keep loving them anyway, even when it hurts. We are not responsible for others, but we are very responsible for ourselves.
And remember that sometimes the people who are acting ‘unloveable’ are sometimes the people who need our love the most ❀

Be safe out there, please, everyone! ❀

New what?

Somebody shared a meme with me that they thought was hilarious.
It stated : ‘has anyone else noticed that this new year, when you say it out loud, says that 2020 won!’

I could see the humour in it, yes. But I didn’t laugh. Because to be honest, it made me think of war. And isn’t that just what fighting this pandemic has been for us?

The thing is that in my humble opinion, no one wins in war. Because I look at lives lost, particularly innocent ones, and I just see LOSS.

There is a New Year looming… and I struggle to admit this, but I don’t think much will change with the ‘pandemic situation’. My country has put us back on curfew, and we need to be in our houses by 9pm – so my bedtime works to my advantage πŸ˜› They’ve banned alcohol again – yes! I have no champagne for midnight! Not wearing a mask is still a criminal offense – who would have thought that going into the bank WITHOUT a mask would send you to jail over here?!?!?

A young friend of mine shared a picture that said : No one claim 2021 as your year. We’re all going to walk in real slow. Be good. Be quiet. And Don’t. Touch. Anything.
And I smiled at that… because I have never really ‘claimed’ any year as being my year.

In fact, I haven’t had ‘proper’ New Years resolutions for many years – and here’s why : Many years ago I did the generic, ”I’m going on a diet in the New Year”. And I am sure you can guess the next part : 2 weeks later, I went to a birthday party, and my diet was history. But that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that I had been so focused on this one thing that would be a huge change in that particular year, and so focused on being a slimmer, sexier me, that when I failed, I was crushed. I was not only disappointed in myself, but despondent in the year that had come to be, and it definitely affected my attitude. I was younger then πŸ˜‰
Over the years I have learned that we all make mistakes, and we all eat that extra piece of cake because life is short πŸ˜‰ BUT when I get given a new day? I am just going to try a little harder – I can’t undo yesterday’s errors… but I can change the forecast for today!

I’d love to be able to say with absolute assurance that this new year WILL be new – that things will change. Sadly, I think it may be a little bit more difficult than the one that has passed. But I want to focus on that word MORE and not the negativity.
This year, I want to meet that more difficult head on, and I want to BE more!
To be MORE compassionate, and kind.
To be MORE aware, and sensitive.
To believe MORE, and hope MORE
To be MORE graceful.
And MORE grateful!

Because like with cake, there is ALWAYS room for more πŸ˜‰

My dear fellow bloggers, and friends, I am sending love and thoughts to the blogging world as a whole :
No matter what lies ahead in the year that is coming, my hope is that you will all find the strength to carry on and face each new day with the thought to at least TRY and be more. And in the words of Tony Robbins, I think it is, even if you make mistakes and your progress is slow…. please remember that you are still way ahead than those who AREN’T even trying πŸ˜‰

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!

❀

heartfelt contact

I received an email yesterday. Someone was genuinely concerned about me, and my absence from WordPress. This person wanted to know if I was okay – and to be honest, I am still not sure how I am, really. But this post is not to dwell on that. (There has been a lot going on the last ten days! Safety wise, the children and I are fine, though!)

I felt really bad when I received the email. Ridiculous, right?!?! Let me explain…

I tend to forget that there are people out there who may be concerned about me – people who actually miss my input… be it overwhelmingly me, or simply just a blog post. And I felt quite terrible/bad due to guilt of having someone worry because of me.

More explanations are necessary πŸ˜›

My real friends know every truth there is to know about me. My family don’t, because they’ve never bothered to ask – brothers, parents, cousins etc. have no idea of the things that I have been through. They’re too busy judging what they think they saw, and denying their roles. But my real friends know, because they’ve asked, and loved me unconditionally. A lot of those friendships have been built on 10 – 25 years of knowing me… that’s GOT to be unconditional love, right? πŸ˜›

Those real friends are my people. And they know me as ‘the strong one who always has a smile and a word of encouragement; the survivor who is always somehow okay’. And you can ask any of them, even in moments where I am not sure whether or not I actually AM okay (like now), or in moments when I SAY I am falling apart, none of them are deeply concerned about me… they just know that I will get through whatever it is I am going through. And although they reassure and encourage me with forwarded picture messages, and tell me that I have meaning in their lives, if they don’t talk to me for a few days, they don’t worry about me.

And because of this blessing (although sometimes it feels like a curse.. explanation to follow) in my personality, I am also the one that everyone comes to for help so that they don’t fall apart. And for some strange reason, there IS always a part of me to give. Even when I am sapped and think there isn’t. (Although admittedly, I take a personal sabbatical sometimes… but I struggle to resist the temptation of helping!)

The ‘curse’ part of this is as follows : there is very seldom just a concerned message asking if I really am okay. No, my friends are not shallow, and they definitely care for and love me. I don’t think I can explain it in a way that makes sense. I HAVE reached out previously, in moments of distress, and they HAVE been there. And the love and support has never been lacking in those moments.

But it’s very seldom that they will reach out to me just to ask if I am okay.

We have the types of friendships where we can not speak or see each other for six months, and when we get together you would think we had seen each other just yesterday.

And every now and then, the fact that no one checks up on me, sort of hurts. I was discussing this with a therapist friend, who comes to me for therapy sometimes – because even a therapist needs therapy πŸ˜›
Her recommendation to me was to tell them how I feel – and when I did, I got the answers I told you above – I am the strong one, I am the survivor… they know I am okay.

AND THEY KNOW that if I am truly feeling like I am at breaking point, I’ll let them know.

I’m okay with that.

Yesterday’s email made me cry.Β 

(I’ve been ill, and it always makes me feel a little more emotional than usual… but it also touched me deeply.)

The kindness shown in popping off an email and telling me that ‘you’ were concerned about me was completely overwhelming. While I felt terribly guilty that I had caused worry and concern, at the same time I felt cared about and missed. And I remembered what a comforting and soul-feeding emotion that was!

I’m still sick, so this is not the best of blog posts. But here’s what I’d like to say :

Think of your strongest, most encouraging, survivor-style friend… and send them a heartfelt ‘how are you’, please. They’ll probably say they are fine πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰
But please check in with the ones who always take the time to check in on you πŸ˜‰
That type of kindness simply has no measure.

And thank you to my blogging friend for making my day. πŸ˜‰

And thank you to everyone who reads and comments on my WordPress – your input makes me feel loved and valued too. This community rocks! ❀

It’s Time

You know that expression, ”I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus”? Well, yesterday afternoon I nearlyΒ was that expression!

A bit of background : It’s been raining non stop, a steady drizzle interrupted by the odd downpour, for the past 40 hours. I am celebrating. And not just because I love the rain. πŸ˜› Water restrictions came to town last Friday. September is our heavy rainfall month around here – we didn’t see more than a few drops. Our main dam is now sitting at less than 35% capacity. The last census in 2011 showed that there are 267Β 007 people living here – we have largely increased in numbers since then. This rain is nowhere near to filling the dam, but it sure is helping!

And the roads areΒ very wet as a result.

So I leave the house at lunchtime to perform Mom’s Taxi duties with a smile on my face. The garden beds in front of my house are overflowing with water. The bucket next to it is almost full.

My celebration of happiness has been extended.

Now, as ridiculous as this may sound, one thing I don’t do is break the speed limit. That doesn’t mean I am a slow driver though – because IΒ hit the speed limit in the given areas. πŸ˜‰ But when it rains? I stay in the slow lane where possible and I drop my speed by 10 or 20 – depending how fast I’m allowed to go in that spot πŸ˜‰Β  I suppose you could call me a careful driver, who isn’t a hazard on the road.

So there I am, pulling onto the highway, still in the euphoric state brought upon by this much needed and beautiful rain (and cooler weather – added bonus!) and I see that on the bridge up ahead, in the fast lane, there is a massive truck that has come to a complete standstill. This is a two lane highway, and I’m in the slow lane, so no problem.

Big problem, when there’s a massive bus coming up fast in the same lane as the truck! It was a good thing I glanced in the rearview mirror to see if I needed to warn anyone. I put my hazards on and slowed a little – but that didn’t help the bus. When you have that much steel at that sort of speed, and the roads are wet, braking hard isn’t going to do anyone any favours. So he did the next best thing, and swerved. While the front of his bus was in the clear and one could just say that he ‘cut me off a little’, I think he’d forgotten that there was a back side that would follow. I was reminded when I saw it coming to meet me at my drivers side window, and braked a little harder than I like to in wet weather.

Of course you know that my car skidded a bit – but the side of the bridge came nowhere near me. If I had been going faster, this ending would have been very different, and I’d be celebrating wetness in the river below that bridge. Although, as my son pointed out, if I was a speedster, I may have cleared that truck way before the bus arrived on the scene πŸ˜›

Admittedly, I was in a small amount of shock – but as I continued on my way, I actually laughed because I thought, “My gosh, I nearlyΒ was the back of a bus”! My friends often tell me that my reactions to close calls, where I laugh and think of something funny, is a very dark and unhealthy coping mechanism. Well, it is what it is, and I am what I am.

Right, the point of sharing this silly story with you is this :

I am not totally afraid to die. Fear of death is a very real thing, and is known as Thanatophobia. It affects people so deeply that even the thought of death gives them an anxiety attack. This is one thing I cannot completely identify with, but because I have other phobias I can understand and be sympathetic to their plight. I say ‘cannot completely’ because there was a time when I admit that I couldn’t think of anything worse than dying!

My journey in the past four years has been filled with epiphanies. The turning point for me was looking back on my life and accepting that my pain had purpose – I had lessons to learn and painful roads of the past to travel, because I needed to grow.

When I made the choice to accept the pains and hurts of the past, changed the way I viewed them, and turned them into opportunities of growth,Β IΒ changed for the better.

Please don’t get me wrong. I do not mean that I will put myself in dangerous situations or do anything intentionally that will cost me my life. Neither am I advocating that you do, if you’re not afraid to die. It’s not about suddenly being irresponsible. And it’s certainly not about taking life for granted.

And I am not saying I want to die.

There’s just been a shift in me. I still will say, ”I don’t want to die”, but I will not allow that to be my focus or make me negative. Time’s a-wasting, and life is short, and you justΒ never know. So while I’d like to have the mercy of being around for a very long time still to come, I’d also like to LIVE while doing so.

Living means different things to different people. And it means different things to me, depending on the context in which I am saying it. The context today means this:

I want to feel alive. In order to do that, I need to remain in alignment with my values. I must not waste my days. I need to change lives, one life at a time. My values mean that I have an insatiable need to show kindness, motivate and inspire, and be courageous even in the face of pain and grief – especially when dealing with areas that need tweaking in my personality…to never stop growing and learning! These are to just name a few. And these are some of the reasons that I get up every morning – they put purpose in my life… along with the kids and dogs who kind of NEED me to get up every morning πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰

My friends, think about what it’s like to be alive. What drives you? What are your values at this moment in your life?

Because it’s TIME TO BE ALIVE!

Chase after the things that get your blood racing, follow your dreams, reach out if you have a need, spread kindness like a disease, feed your soul.

TAKE CARE OF YOU!Β 

Because YOUR LIFE MATTERS, YOU MATTER, and despite what you may think or feel, YOU make a positive difference in someone’s life and they’re very glad they have you!