HUGS

Some days I feel small. (I know, I AM short, so that probably makes sense πŸ˜› )

I feel unseen. Unnoticed, if you will. Like nothing I do matters. As if I don’t matter.

But even on those days, I still try. I still show up. I am still me.
(Even the times I am an exhausted pigeon with an injured wing πŸ˜› )

On those days, I may not try as much as I should… and I don’t get around to doing all the things I want to.
But I still show up.
And even if I can only show up for my kids, it matters.

Despite the circumstances – and I don’t just mean the pandemic – I can’t seem to stop myself.

I can’t stop loving, and giving, and hoping. I still see the good… and I still see a bright future. (Most of the time. I can’t lie to you – it’s not ALL the time.)

I get criticized for it a lot. And the handful of those who love me will tease me about it.

”You’re too soft. You need to be harder. You shouldn’t be so tolerant. You should pick up your sword and fight like a warrior woman.”

This morning I smiled when I realised that gone are the days of old – the ones where I was angry, with a hint of bitterness; the ones where I was too cynical and less tolerant. That those were the days where I would brandish my sword.
But guess what?

I realised this morning that I actually have two swords! They are my arms! And I use them for hugging!!!!
I am still a warrior… of good.
And there’s nothing like a good hug πŸ˜‰ (except maybe a giant cup of coffee which is a hug for my soul first thing in the morning πŸ˜‰ )

This pandemic has prevented me from using my weapons of choice.
I still have my other sword somewhere, I am sure. But I don’t really have the desire to use it anymore.

SO… I will use my weapons… in my mind…

You’re all getting a giant hug right about now πŸ˜‰

A bit of a nothingness post… but feel free to pass on the hug I just gave you.
Who was on your mind as you read that? Check in with them, send them an encouraging message, or a funny joke… and don’t forgot to add in that you are hugging them in your mind πŸ˜‰

Let’s keep trying to make this world a better place ❀

butterflies

Nope. I am not experiencing the flutter of excitement that comes with a new love interest.
Sorry. Not sorry πŸ˜›

But I learned something new today, and you’re probably going to laugh when I tell you what I have learned because it’s quite possible that you already know. It fascinated me though, and added to my perspective on butterflies and humans πŸ˜‰

First though, I want to share some of my favourite butterfly quotes :

There are two ‘things’ that I absolutely love. Butterflies… and the colour purple. My friends often comment how easy it is to pick out a gift for me – if they can’t find anything with a butterfly on it, then they just buy something purple. Anything purple! πŸ˜› My dad gave me the best thing I have in my kitchen – a clingfilm hard plastic holder…. IT’S PURPLE πŸ˜›
If I ever got to immigrate, it would be packed in my suitcase! πŸ˜‰

When it comes to butterflies, and likening them to humans, I usually say this :

A caterpillar gets one chance. There is one process of change. And then it goes from being what some consider ‘ugly’ to a creature of great beauty. In that process of change, the caterpillar thinks its life is over, and yet its life is just beginning again… giving it wings to soar.
And I have told more than one person how grateful I am that we get those processes and opportunities to change and become more beautiful MORE THAN ONCE in our lifetimes! That sometimes to us, when we are in a bad place or feeling down and depressed and anxious? Well, let’s admit it, we have actually all been there at some stage or another and the burden is heavy and we feel that life has no purpose, that this moment will never end, that there is no point and that true beauty will elude us forever. BUT THEN? Something blows on that tiny flame of hope within us that is still flickering, and it suddenly flickers a little stronger and we are able to carry on. How wonderful is that? We find ‘new wings’ and are able to soar once again.

What I learned this morning just added to what I have told more than one person!

I did not know that during the caterpillar’s process of becoming a butterfly, in the Chrysalis, the caterpillar ‘melts’ almost completely! :O It releases enzymes that literally digest nearly ALL of its OWN BODY!
So basically, it dissolves into a disgusting pile of gooey substance before it can transform into a beautiful butterfly!

My new addition (and takeaway from the process above) will be this :
So you think you’re having a meltdown? It’s okay! Let yourself FEEL it! Pull the covers over your head and hide if you need to. Take a little time.
Just don’t stay there too long! Remember to emerge!
You may still feel ‘sticky’.
Keep going!
But what if I fail?
Well, what if you fly? πŸ˜‰

arrows

This morning I commented on a fellow bloggers post, sharing something someone had sent me.
I then decided that maybe there are others in this wonderful world of WordPress who may feel encouraged by it. So here it is :

”An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards.
When life is dragging you back with seemingly endless difficulties, try to imagine that it’s going to launch you into something great.”

It’s the imaginings, the possibilities, the hopes….
They bring gratitude, and appreciation. And help me through another day πŸ˜‰

Short and sweet today. Like me πŸ˜› (Sometimes sweet… πŸ˜› But I am definitely the one who can do almost anything, except reach the top shelf πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰ )

Whether the weather

Today’s post is not one of inspiration or motivation – it’s more just a fun rendition of our weather the last few days πŸ˜‰
They say that South Africa has one of the best climates in the world. While I was ‘made in South Africa’ πŸ˜› I don’t think I was made FOR it! And many will be shocked by my next statement – the seven months I was in the UK? One of my favourite things was the weather!
Sadly, somehow I avoided snow when I was there.
But I still think my body was built for cooler temperatures! πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰

My body definitely is not built for humidity! And I think if I could get past that, I might actually be more inclined to enjoy Summer. I am NOT enjoying Summer so far – and next month is usually our ‘worst’ month. :/

There is a saying around here – ‘hot enough to fry an egg on the bonnet of a car’. I’m starting to think I should try that πŸ˜› I think that yesterday might have been one of those days!

Only about 70% of our shops/businesses have air conditioning. Houses? Maybe 10%, if that. Most bed and breakfasts/guesthouses/hotels have got though. I should have booked myself into one yesterday πŸ˜›

Yesterday was one of those ‘can’t breathe, can’t think’ heat days.
By lunchtime, it was 36 degrees celsius (96.8F) – not too bad, right? Except the humidity was at 91%. And on the odd occasion that the wind decided to stir, it was a warm one.

(Apparently this made some people reconsider their religious views πŸ˜› I had an old school mate post on her Facebook status : ”I need to get my butt back into church – I ain’t gonna make it in hell”! πŸ˜› )

All jokes aside though, it was AWFUL. Scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, the complaints were endless… especially since our beaches are closed at this stage of the pandemic. (At the moment, even walking along the road near the beach will get you a fine – you are not allowed to be walking within 100m – 328 feet – from the beach because then you are considered ON the beach?!?!?) Anyway…..

In the midst of scrolling, my aunt in Wales saw that I was online, and sent me a short message… in which she complained about the cold. And I laughed so much! In return, I told her about our heat…. and she decided she’d rather be where she is with her central heating πŸ˜›

And she reminded me of a story about my dad! My dad loves hot stuff – curries and foods that make him sweat. (When my son was 4, he wanted to know what Grandpa ate that made his forehead cry!!! πŸ˜› )
One year, while on a road trip, my dad bought himself a jar of homemade Atchar (A South Asian pickle, known as achar, aachar, athanu, achaar or loncha, is a pickled food, native to the Indian subcontinent, made from a variety of vegetables and fruits, preserved in brine, vinegar, or edible oils along with various Indian spices). The jar label said it was ‘very hot’, with a picture of a chilli.
At that time, I was staying with him (I was about 14), and that evening he added some to the mince pasta I had cooked for us. He had one mouthful and it wasn’t just his forehead that cried! Ha ha ha ha!
Upon another inspection of the label, we both laughed. We had read the product as being : Hot-A-Shell
It was actually Hot-As-Hell! πŸ˜› (Written on the label : Hotashell)

Did you know that laughter makes you hotter? πŸ˜›

I cannot even begin to explain how happy and relieved I was at 21:00 last night. The weather suddenly shifted – in fact the wind that came out of nowhere even scared my dogs for a brief moment! And it was a COOL wind! Distant rumblings of thunder promised rainfall! I think my heart even skipped a beat it was so happy! πŸ˜› I got up, and took the dogs with me outside, just to feel the cool. I even got some raindrops! It was WONDERFUL!

And I guess there IS some inspiration in this πŸ˜› πŸ˜‰

I found this picture on Pinterest….

Not even the weather πŸ˜›

And I remembered this little ‘tongue twister’ I recited years ago, in Junior school,

Whether the weather be fine, orΒ whether the weather be not, Whether the weatherΒ be cold, orΒ whether the weatherΒ be hot, We’llΒ weatherΒ theΒ weather, whatever theΒ weather,Β WhetherΒ we like it orΒ not.”

May you all continue to whether the weather – may your storms pass, and your joy last πŸ˜‰

flighty feelings

While my attitude always seems to lean towards positivity, my emotions do not. What I mean is that in any given day, I can experience moments across the entire spectrum of emotion – sadness, anger, guilt, happiness, hope, love, fear etc. Every. Day. There are moments. Some are very short lived – appropriate to just that moment. Some last a little longer.

Somebody commented a few months ago, when I shared the above with them, that there must be something wrong with me – an ’emotional ticking time bomb’ who is on a permanent emotional roller coaster. I considered what they said, decided there may be some truth to it, and added it to my ‘personal challenges list’- things I need to look into ‘fixing’ and changing. The list is now an A4 page, and I am not even halfway with crossing things off… so it might be a while before I address the comment they made πŸ˜›

BUT… (yes, there is always a but… πŸ˜› )

I happened upon an article this morning that reminded me of the notation on the bottom of the personal list that I am working my through. And it made me smile.

Now according to this article, which is apparently evidence based and well researched, I am actually psychologically sound (for the most part πŸ˜› ) because of this tendency to feel all these different emotions. Wait, what?!?!?!

And as I continued reading my smile got bigger and didn’t leave my face, and now my cheeks hurt πŸ˜›

Have you ever experienced a moment in time where something makes you ‘self assess’, and suddenly you realise that in that particular thing, your progress is very noticeable? Doesn’t it feel good? To be able to recognise an ‘error in your ways’ from your past/younger self, and get a full grasp on the way you have changed? FOR THE BETTER?

For me? It is one of the most amazing FEELINGS in the world, that is backed by evidence, bringing a very loud and affirmative fist bump in the air ‘YES!’ πŸ˜‰

Years ago, I got lost in my emotions. Half the time, I didn’t even know where they were coming from. For example, I’d wake up in the morning feeling angry – angry at myself, life, the world. And so that is how the rest of my day went. I never reflected on why I was feeling that way. I didn’t bother to try and change how I was feeling. And my actions and reactions for the rest of the day came from that place of anger.

Part of my personal growth journey has been to ‘get a handle on my emotions’. Not to harden my heart and not feel them, but to be more aware of them and WHY I am feeling them…. and to NOT base actions and reactions on the emotions themselves.

Trying to control emotions is actually futile – we are created to be beings that feel and so whether or not we want them, emotions are here to stay. But, for want of a better word (because some may be uncomfortable with this one) we could learn how to channel them. Like maybe letting our excitement about something motivate us, or allowing our guilt to spark change.

When it comes to attitude, we often see the word choice. Choosing to change a bad attitude, or the way we see things, for the better. In fact CHOICE pretty much sums up everything in life, right?
And for me personally? I have come to realise that it applies to my emotions as well.
I allow myself to feel them – but I also choose to not allow them to control my whole day. I pause for thought, try to determine what has triggered them, and find a way to use them to benefit a healthier me!

I don’t always get it right. I’m still working on identifying all my emotions, trying to understand them fully, managing them correctly and using them appropriately… but I am definitely MUCH closer to it than what I was a few years ago.

Hence the sore cheeks πŸ˜›

And who knows, perhaps some day I will graduate to ’emotional ninja’ status πŸ˜‰

Keeping on.. again and again..

This pandemic has sparked huge changes in the world – and they haven’t generally been very positive ones either.

There has been a lot of ‘stuff’ happening… things that have extended beyond the scope of even MY imagination. Bad things. Horrible things. Disheartening things. Things that stir up anger in the hearts of even the mildest of people.
Stuff has happened that is directly affecting me and my little household. Despondency is setting in for even the strongest people I know, who have never uttered a negative word in the past, despite their circumstances.

My heart is feeling heavy. There is only so much I can do. But I know this : I need to keep doing it. People who know me, and even here in the blogging world, know that I often make the statement, ”Just keep on keeping on”.

That little statement is something I live by, not just something I say. Yes, I may pause to cry, or feel angry. Yes, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows every minute of every day.

Because we HAVE to allow ourselves to FEEL… even the bad stuff. We just need not stay there… which reminds me of the little story that goes something like this :

Life is a journey, and sometimes you’re faced with a steep mountain and rocky terrain, which makes the journey difficult to continue with. Sometimes you will need to stop and rest, sit on a rock, cry or be angry. But then you need to stand up, and keep going… for the journey is not over yet. Stop for a moment and rest, but don’t pitch your tent and stay. There is so much more ahead.

Life in the pandemic is feeling like continuous rocky terrain and endless mountains. It’s brought more tears and anger in the time it has been around than what some have faced in their entire lives.
There are no guarantees… and I have no promise that things will get better.

But, dear hearts who are reading this…
Please keep on keeping on.

You are loved. You are needed. Your contribution to this world counts – even if it’s just sharing the warmth of your smile.
YOU make a difference!

Seeing

I’ve had it confirmed by more than two people in the past two months. Something I have actually never thought about, but after the first person made the observation, I DID think about it… and have come to realise that it might possibly be true.

I SEE PEOPLE.

And no… not in that creepy kind of way where I see what isn’t actually there πŸ˜›
(although one time I wasn’t wearing my glasses, and in the waning light of dusk, I could swear someone was standing in my neighbour’s house, staring at me. I called my kids, and they laughed so hard at me, they were actually in tears! Both of them! It was the tied back curtain and the lamp that I was seeing πŸ˜› πŸ˜› πŸ˜› )

The interesting thing is that my brain seems to be selective with ‘who’ I see. It has happened far too many times that my teenage daughter shakes her head in disgust because I DIDN’T see the ‘good looking’ guy in the store with us – even when she describes his clothing, or tells me he was with us at the dairy section. πŸ˜› Her final statement is usually something along the lines of, ”because you were too busy greeting and chatting to all the staff”.

I guess that has always been ‘my thing’….
But this past year, with the pandemic, it’s become even more of ‘a thing’.
Medical professionals and personnel/healthcare workers have rightfully earned the lion’s share of attention this past year – they are on the front lines, and by the time people get to them, exposure to the virus is a guarantee. They’ve put in extra hours to care for the sick, and despite sheer exhaustion, they have shown up. They deserve our thoughts, prayers and gratitude – and my next statement is in no way meant to detract from the amazingly difficult work they have had to do, so please don’t misunderstand me.

It struck me, as I watched yet another complaining customer get rude with the manager at my local store because of an out-of-stock item, and he very patiently let her verbally attack him, and continuously apologised until she had worn herself out, and marched off. And the thought that came to mind was,
”What about him? And the rest of the staff? Has anyone actually thanked them?”

Because in this pandemic, they have all shown up too. They’ve arrived at work, and stocked the shelves, and stood at the tills…. for me! And so many others! And they have done it, not knowing if some careless customer HAS the virus and just isn’t saying anything – not knowing if they are going to be exposed. And yet they are there, every day.
And it reaches so much further than the grocery store. Because it made my mind travel to those who provide transport, and those who are waiters and baristas, and those who are educators etc etc… the list goes on…
They’re still providing a service to us all…. not knowing if on THAT day they are going to be exposed.

But it’s not just about the virus. Or the gratitude to the people who show up and expose themselves, day after day.

It’s about life. I felt this way before the pandemic, and I will still feel this way after it has passed. Yes, I feel it more strongly in the midst of the chaos in the world because of the pandemic. But it will ALWAYS be in my heart….

Let’s try and SEE PEOPLE! Not just the ones who are pleasing to the eye, not just the ones with the fancy cars and the expensive clothes, not just the ones who have important jobs and job titles…. let’s try and see the ones who, because of circumstance, are ‘less attractive’ than the list above. Let’s try and see the ones who have nothing to offer us. And let’s offer them the greatest gift of all – hope.

Because any act of kindness, even if it is just a broad grin on your face when you catch their eye because in that moment you have nothing else TO give? That one small thing could be the reminder they needed…

”Somebody sees me. There is still hope.”

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!

❀

‘Twas the season…

Christmas has come and gone. I didn’t do a ‘traditional Merry Christmas to all’ blog post.
And it will seem surreal, but I genuinely did think of all my regular readers on Christmas Day… strange, but very true. It’s how I roll πŸ˜‰

Christmas Day is over… I know some who have already packed away their trees and decorations. And I am reminded of this, which I thought I would share…

Perhaps we can NOT put away all the things that truly count? Unless you’re filling a box with air that has had kisses blown into it to represent love, and are giving it away πŸ˜‰

I trust you all had a wonderful Christmas – even though times are hard and circumstances were limiting.

Please remember to keep loving and giving, spreading kindness as you go.

And also remember you are cherished, and you matter!

Holiday Wish List

Everything is different this year. Birthdays were celebrated, and yet not. New life happened, but there were no hospital visits and flower deliveries. Lives were lost, and a text message/phone call became the new way to comfort.

Christmas is different too. And yet… is it? Admittedly, my usual Christmas spirit seems to have gone on a vacation all by itself. We’ve had some dreadful humidity these last few days so perhaps it has sought out a cooler climate. I wish it had thought to take me with it!

Last night, as I sat thinking about Friday – Christmas Day – (my goodness, how did it get here so fast!!!!) I also started thinking about seasonal things. I had shared the following on my personal Facebook page last Friday, with just one week to go till the ‘big day’ :


I went to look at it again, and it suddenly struck me that this has been my wish list all year, for a few years.
If someone asked me what I would like my life to look like, it would be all of the above. Circumstances are not always conducive to these things… but I could still make the effort.

Here is hoping that in these difficult times….

May you all have the least of the less… and an overwhelmingly encouraging abundance of the more! ❀
Not just for this holiday season… but every day πŸ˜‰