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 ❀

‘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!

Short story

It is amazing how, with the hum drum of forced house arrest for us here, and the limited amount of things to actually do, that regularity of blogging has not been a strong suit of mine. Although, as I watch the blogging world, I see that many have fallen prey to this. And not just on here. There are those who are tenacious in their production of ‘things’, whether it be on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or WordPress posts. But I have definitely seen a decline in regularity among the majority.

Today, instead of a ‘blog post’ of my usual kind, I decided to share a short story that I entered into a writing competition a few years ago. I actually entered three, as entries were not limited to one per person. The instructions were that you could write in any genre, but your story had to end in a twist – and no more than 500 words.
It’s most certainly not a masterpiece in creative writing… but should keep you somewhat entertained for the little while that it takes you to read it. I don’t remember what I called this piece, so feel free to throw a title into the comments, just for fun πŸ˜‰

Hope you are all keeping well. ❀

”Glass shattered.
The limb of a branch had been thrown viciously against the window in the upstairs bedroom. The howling wind that trailed immediately after sounded like that of a large man, booming with laughter in great satisfaction. Sounds of the wild weather outside would ordinarily have caused fear to rise up in her throat, but tonight all she could feel was the agony of grief.

Disease had ravaged every inch of her weary body. They had warned her that the advanced stages of the disease would leave little to sustain her will to live. Physically, she could no longer feel. Every nerve in her body had been deadened; if not by the disease, then by the variety of medical treatments that could not cure her of her affliction. There was no cure.Β  Treatments were aimed at prolonging her undignified existence. Her brain screamed in anguish as she silently wished the opposite were true. She wanted to feel physically, and instead have her emotions crushed.

An icy wind entered through the broken window, licking at her skin, seemingly waiting in anticipation for her shivers. She felt nothing. As if angry at not being able to get a reaction from the object of its affections, it gusted and swept through the room, knocking a photo frame that had been perched on a table to the floor. Her hands shook as she began to reach for it, the photograph inside now bearing small lacerations from the shards of glass that had once been whole.

Then she heard it. The floorboard creaked in the hallway outside the bedroom door. The doorknob turned, and a shaft of light steadily crept in as the door slowly opened. Β The man standing in the doorway was muscular, somewhat scruffy, from what she could see of his appearance. He was no one she recognised. He stepped forward, and the light bounced fleetingly off the large blade of the knife in his right hand. For one brief moment, she felt relieved that her grief had finally been replaced. Terror gripped her. She opened her mouth and screamed. No sound was heard and she stood there, gaping like a fish on dry land trying to catch just one last breath.

She watched as the expression on his face changed from satisfaction to disgust. She realised that her small, weak frame posed no challenge to this man, and that he would not be able to relish in the pleasure he usually felt when taking someone else’s life. He approached the mahogany bed in the centre of the room carefully, and she watched him with dread. He stood there for a few minutes, reached out his hand to touch something, then turned on his heel and left. She didn’t watch him go, but was instead transfixed by the sight on the bed. Her body lay pale and lifeless, blending in with the stark white of the linen sheets. He hadn’t killed her, because she was already dead. The disease had won.”

Liebster Award

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I was nominated πŸ˜‰ Big thanks to johnranjit for the nomination. He has a blog called Managing Yourself, some great soul food in there to go and have a look at. πŸ˜‰

Rules To The Liebster Blogger Award:

1.Thank the blogger who nominated you and give a link to their blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you. (I only got 10 – promise I didn’t leave one out πŸ˜‰ )
3.Share 11 facts about yourself
4. Nominate between 5-11 other bloggers
5. Ask your nominees 11 questions
6. Notify your nominees once you’ve uploaded your post.

The Q and A for me is as follows :

Q1 When and how did you start blogging?
Goodness! I think my first ever blog post was back in 2006, but it wasn’t on the WordPress community. Blogging was almost an unknown in my country back then – very few people blogged those days. A computer whizz who knew I loved to write, and knew my bubbly personality, introduced me to the world of blogging. And so it began πŸ˜‰

Q2 What is your favorite quote?
I generally don’t like being asked to mention favourites…. simply because I have so many of everything. πŸ˜›
And each day is different, and sometimes it changes during the day, depending on circumstances and little reminders. For this morning though, the following quote pretty much describes how I felt.. so I’ll share it πŸ˜‰
“Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more, and good things will be yours.”β€” Swedish Proverb

Q3 Beaches or mountains?
There’s just no question here, and it’s something that never changes πŸ˜›
MOUNTAINS for sure πŸ˜‰

Q4 If you had an extra hour in the day, what will you be doing?
This is such a tough one, because there are just too many things to mention.
So I’ll pick one and go with it πŸ˜‰
Daydreaming πŸ˜‰ I mean, who doesn’t need an extra hour for that, right?

Q5 What is your all-time advice to my blog page?
To be honest, I don’t have any. You are you, and your blog is uniquely you. I enjoy reading what you put out there, and wouldn’t change a thing.

Q6 Would you rather read a book or watch a movie?
Definitely read a book.

Q7 How do you deal with stress?
I breathe. Yes, it sounds silly. But I actually physically and mentally stop myself, and just keep repeating, ‘breathe. in and out. there you go. just breathe.’ And admittedly sometimes I cry – I find that it is a welcome relief and is beneficial to releasing the negative emotions.

Q8 What appeals to you most, soul or appearance of a person?
Definitely the soul! Admittedly, there needs to be an attraction to the physical appearance in a romantic relationship… but for me the physical attraction is often related to the soul. It’s a little strange, I know. Personally though, I have experienced it a good few times. I’ll see an incredibly good looking man, but discover he’s self absorbed, and superficial – and honestly, he loses his appeal for me. I just don’t ‘see’ his outward good looks anymore. Strange, but true.

Q9 What message would you like to give to your future self?
Just eat the darn cake πŸ˜‰

Q10 What are you most thankful for in your life?

Life. In it’s entirety. With it’s ups and downs, and all arounds. I am just thankful that I have it, and everything that goes with it. Even the things that hurt and the lessons that suck. I grow. So they have purpose. I have purpose. Life has purpose.
It’s not always easy… but it’s worth it.
And the opportunities are endless.
So I guess the thing I am most thankful for in my life, is that I HAVE life πŸ˜‰ πŸ™‚

I’m also supposed to share 11 facts about me. That’s even more difficult than answering questions πŸ˜› Mostly because as you all know I am quite open here, so there’s not much mystery left to share πŸ˜›Β  I’ll try anyway….

  1. I think I am addicted to caffeine – I am at a stage where IΒ have to have two cups after waking for my brain to fully functional πŸ˜›
  2. I am a water baby – not a swimmer. I drink copious amounts of water. Too much, actually. Although it doesn’t seem to affect me, other than seemingly having a constantly full bladder, ha ha ha! (I drink about 3.5l a day – and that’s not including the coffee or tea consumed during the day.)
  3. As much as I love my coffee, there is a time in the day where my body seems to crave my cup of green tea with mint – no milk, no sugar.
  4. I don’t take sugar in my coffee either.
  5. I don’t play on my phone if I wake in the middle of the night/early hours of the morning. I may only touch it in order to see the time. I don’t check messages or scroll through social media. Even if I am struggling to go back to sleep. Ha ha ha!
  6. I don’t eat sushi. And yes, I have tried it. All of it. Even wasabi. But sushi just doesn’t seem to be built into my taste buds.
  7. As chatty and vivacious as my personality is, I am still able to just ‘be’. There are plenty of times where quietΒ is actually just quiet. I once had a friend over, and we were both sitting in my lounge with our knitting, and just kind of lapsed into silence. For an hour. But weΒ are women, so we got to talking again πŸ˜›
  8. I still love to dance – even though I am not very good πŸ˜›
  9. Although I don’t seem to give music enough credit, I cannot imagine my life without it.
  10. I took a kids quiz on a magazine website yesterday, ha ha ha ha! Because who wouldn’t want to know which Beatrix Potter character they were???
    I’m Squirrel Nutkin, in case you’re wondering πŸ˜›
  11. I am totally and utterly terrified of a dentist!

 

I’m not going to nominate anyone as such. Because you’re all awesome. So if you’re reading this, consider yourself nominated πŸ˜‰

BUT, I’d also like to share links to some pretty great blogs (this is off the top of my head, and please don’t be offended if I don’t mention you by name), and give them the award… but there is NO pressure to do a blog post about it if you don’t want to. πŸ˜‰
If you DO choose to participate, please answer my ten questions that I was asked, and for your eleventh, I’d like to know : ”What would you say is your strong point?”

Letters to Pogue is an extremely thought provoking blog, with a lot of humour thrown in. You should definitely pay him a visit πŸ™‚ He’s not limited by language or terminology (his words, not mine) and it shows. I love how when I read, I can continue to think ‘outside the box’. I am often encouraged and inspired πŸ™‚

Evan is not only a talented writer, helping us grow our minds – he is also a talented hobby-photographer. The pictures he shares with each blog post are just as good as his writing πŸ˜‰ You should visit him too πŸ™‚

Holly writes the most beautifully thought out posts that are of such great encouragement to me. Her blog also often contains great tips on ‘whole’ living – natural alternatives and the like. She has a truly beautiful soul and it shows in her writing.

Robin writes some pretty awesome poetry – and he has a great sense of humour. A lot of his stuff is related to mental health, and anxiety – but you definitely won’t be left feeling like you’re struggling with either one. Because even on days when he openly struggles? There’s sunshine in the clouds πŸ˜‰ I enjoy his Tornado of Chaos πŸ˜‰

Will’s Wisdom offers inspiration and motivation for life. There’s always a story. And a question. That gives you cause to pause and think. I kind of like that, you know πŸ˜‰

Vincent is a family man… a WordPress family man. He sees us all as family, and is just great about letting us know that we have value πŸ˜‰ His posts often bring a smile to my face – he truly is making a positive impact on lives.

So now you all have lots of reading to do. And I have a morning exercise routine (a quick one πŸ˜› 10 minute cardio – it’s a start, don’t knock it πŸ˜› ) to get through, because, well, I promised myself I would πŸ˜›

Stay safe ❀

 

Thanksgiving Thursday

It has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?

In my country we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. There is, however, an awareness of it – probably most of the credit for that going to the wide variety of American movies we feast our eyes on.
(Up until a few years ago, Halloween wasn’t really acknowledged either – and then suddenly our shops were filled with the decor! There is still no official trick or treating though, because of huge safety concerns.)

But because I have an American spirit πŸ˜‰ it is a holiday I have always acknowledged in my house. Not fully – because there is no such thing as Thanksgiving decor or meals… but I make an effort and make something of my own. We have never tried pumpkin pie though – mostly because my children refuse, so I’ve never bothered with making it. This year, in celebration of this special day, I shall. And although I will force feed a teaspoon of it to each, I am almost certain that my all my meals today will be pumpkin pie – pretty much the entire thing for only my consumption πŸ˜›

What you may find interesting to know is that South Africans have only recently jumped into the Black Friday traditions. I think it was about ten years ago when I first heard of Black Friday – and I’ll admit it, I thought it was to do with racism. πŸ˜› I had no knowledge of what it entailed and so that was my first reaction. After some discussion, I understood more and knew better, and so when it arrived in SA I wasn’t outraged like many others.

Black Friday only became ‘a thing’ here about four years ago. Our deals are nowhere near as good as those overseas though. So far, it’s been relatively successful for retailers, and an absolute nightmare for consumers. In a third world country where most things very seldom ‘work’, overpopulation is a problem and crime rates are exceptionally high, Black Friday is now another day where ‘the bad stuff’ just escalates alarmingly. Add to that the pressure of our failed economy and most people having so little and being after deals for survival, it’s more than the usual reported US chaos. It’s no surprise to me that non perishable foods are apparently at the highest percentage when it comes to sales here.

My children are caught up in the hype and buzz, and both wish we had an abundance of money to spend on all the sales – because, ‘we can save 30%’ if we shop tomorrow, Mom’! To which I usually reply,

“We can save 100% if we just stay at home, and don’t visit any online sales.” πŸ˜›

But back to Thanksgiving….

I found this story and I wanted to share it, because it speaks to my heart and as you should know by now is very much in keeping with the way I feel generally :

When Mrs. Klein told her first graders to draw a picture of something for which they were thankful, she thought how little these children, who lived in a deteriorating neighborhood, actually had to be thankful for. She knew that most of the class would draw pictures of turkeys or of bountifully laden Thanksgiving tables. That was what they believed was expected of them.

What took Mrs. Klein aback was Douglas’s picture. Douglas was so forlorn and likely to be found close in her shadow as they went outside for recess. Douglas’s drawing was simply this:

A hand, obviously, but whose hand? The class was captivated by his image. β€œI think it must be the hand of God that brings us food,” said one student.

β€œA farmer,” said another, β€œbecause they grow the turkeys.”

β€œIt looks more like a policeman, and they protect us.” β€œI think,” said Lavinia, who was always so serious, β€œthat it is supposed to be all the hands that help us, but Douglas could only draw one of them.”

Mrs. Klein had almost forgotten Douglas in her pleasure at finding the class so responsive. When she had the others at work on another project, she bent over his desk and asked whose hand it was.

Douglas mumbled, β€œIt’s yours, Teacher.”

Then Mrs. Klein recalled that she had taken Douglas by the hand from time to time; she often did that with the children. But that it should have meant so much to Douglas …

Perhaps, she reflected, this was her Thanksgiving, and everybody’s Thanksgivingβ€”not the material things given unto us, but the small ways that we give something to others.

Readers Digest

Here’s wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving, and plenty of pumpkin pie.

But most importantly, I wish you the opportunities to share and care, to express kindness and love, and to be the recipient of sharing, caring, kindness and love too.

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Photo credit : oprahmag.com