Horton heard what?

It’s that day again! 😉

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Photo credit : skiptomylou.org

Today is Dr Seuss Day

”Theodor Seuss Geisel, commonly known by his pen name Dr. Seuss, was a writer, poet and cartoonist. Though best known as a children’s author (he released a whopping forty-six books for tykes), his career also saw him work as an illustrator for advertising campaigns and a political cartoonist during the Second World War. He was also a true perfectionist, known to discard 95% of his material before settling on a theme for a new book, sometimes spending up to a year writing a single story, and preferring payment upon completion, rather than in advance.

March 2nd is a celebration of his life and works, as it was on this day in 1904 that he entered the world. Having lived eighty-seven years and made an incredible impact on numerous generations, he died in 1991 at his home in La Jolla, California. His many bizarre, colourful and zany tales are still cherished by young and old alike, and, having been translated into more than twenty languages, are read all across the world every single day.” Extract taken from the link provided above.

I owned four of his books as a child (all the others I read came from the library), and I still have them!  I read them to my children when they were younger, and they’ve now been packed away for my grandchildren one day (although I think I will be waiting a very long time for that 😛 Not that I’m complaining 😉 )

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Photo credit : northernnatalcourier.co.za

And as I am reminiscing, and looking through all the quote images, I see a lot of the things that I have a tendency to say in them – perhaps he had a greater influence on me than I thought 😉

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Photo credit : earlymoments.com

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So here’s my ‘Dr Seuss inspired’ wish for you :

May you find the strength and wisdom for the mountains that you climb.

May you remember that no one can be a better ‘you’ than you.

May your heart not only be open to caring for others, but may you also find opportunities to be kind.

May you be filled with courage to stand out in the crowd – stick to your values and goals and pursue your dreams… no matter who says what!

AND ….

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.”

May you experience the goodness and greatness of love EVERY DAY that can’t be bought.

a little love

In case you missed all the romantic paraphernalia in a variety of stores… tomorrow is Valentine’s Day – or for me, Single Awareness Day 😛
I am not a big fan of this day, because it’s been exploited, and prices skyrocket, and besides, every day is a day to celebrate love – whether it be love for your partner, or love for your friends, or love for your children etc.

Many years ago, I wrote a Valentine’s story. There are a few of you who will recognise it as I have shared it before, and you liked and commented. It’s something I like to revisit every year at this time. Not because it is any great piece of literature… but because I personally never want to forget the meaning behind it.
When I wrote it, I truly hoped it would go viral. Even if it went that way as ‘anonymous’. Because it wasn’t about ME! It was about the MEANING.

So here it is, for those of you who may have missed it….

I’d appreciate it if you’d take the time to read it.

“I feel like I should go.”
“Whenever you’re ready.”
“Not yet. I think I’ll have some more juice first.”

She smiled and filled his glass, and then plopped into the chair next to him, sighing deeply. He smiled, raised his glass to her, and said,
            “Here’s to us.”
She winked and gave him the biggest smile she could. Then she giggled,
“Happy Valentine’s Day.”

He rolled his eyes and they laughed together. They’d been together for ten years and had never yet ‘properly’ celebrated a Valentine’s Day together.

This was the thing that had drawn them together in the first place – the knowledge and desire to live every day as Valentine’s Day.
To do things with love – loving strangers and animals and friends, and inadvertently loving themselves.

Every day the opportunity to love each other was not wasted.
Every week he brought something new for the garden – so her house had a permanent supply of her favourite plants and flowers.
Breakfast in bed, taking turns with housework, a surprise bottle of champagne or dinner out… these things were not just saved for special occasions.
Uplifting words of love and encouragement, and exclamations at their good looks and intelligence, were a daily thing.
So when Valentine’s Day came around, it was just another day for them.

He reached for her hand, and stroked it gently, asking,
            “Do you think they’ll ever get it?”
She shrugged and replied solemnly,
            “Some do, and that counts.”

He nodded thoughtfully, and then said,
            “I broke our rule a bit…I got you something for Valentine’s Day. It’s in the cupboard.”
Raising an eyebrow, she retrieved a large, flat box from its hiding place.
As she slowly lifted the lid with a frown, he grinned,
            “Don’t be too mad. It’s for the baby.”

Instinctively, her hand rested on her swollen belly for a moment, and she caressed the bundle that had been nestling there for the past seven months. Then she smiled lovingly at him, and opened the lid.

She lifted out the large scrapbook, entitled ‘The Love Journal’, and began to page through it. Unable to hold back the tears any longer, she let them travel a silent path down her cheeks, wetting her neck, as she saw what he’d done.

He had taken their photo’s and memories as a couple and filled the book with them, as well as tips and quotes on each page, as a reminder and guide to the beauty of loving every day – doing things for others unselfishly. At the end of the book, in a sleeve, was a voucher to purchase another journal – she removed it from its plastic resting place and gave him a watery smile,
            “For me and the baby?”

He nodded, a tear escaping from the corner of his eye. She gently nestled in next to him and held him tightly when he said,
            “I guess I’m ready.”
Looking up at his handsome face, she kissed his chin and whispered,
            “I love you.”
He held her, and whispered words of love to her. Then laying a hand on her stomach, he whispered a little more, before closing his eyes.

The doctor and nurse watched from the doorway, tears streaming down their cheeks, listening and waiting patiently for the young couple to say their goodbyes. As he took his last breath, each of them knew in their hearts that they had got it.

~~ Written by Meg ~~

Here’s hoping you all experience the love of Valentine’s Day, every day… and the joy that comes with giving ❤

Survive… an emotional rant of sorts

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Photo credit : strictlymotivationalquotes.wordpress.com

The last two weeks seem to have flown by. There has not been a lot of productivity within them for me. The message in the picture above is one of great value, for we all know that time is the one thing that we cannot retrieve once it has gone.

For some, passing time in the best possible way is simply curling up in a chair with a good book – for others it involves physical busyness.
Both are correct. It’s about what matters to you the most.

For me the past two weeks? It has been consumed with ‘survival’. I’ve struggled through the most horrific physical pain due to a tooth abscess unlike any other I have ever experienced before. And that pain came after the visit to the dentist, and an attempt to treat it, and the filling of a prescription for strong antibiotics and painkillers. Thankfully, the dentist managed to solve all the issues on Friday. But it took a full three days thereafter for me to recover physically – from an exhaustion point of view.

Survival has been a theme the past two weeks though. And Covid19 itself has not been an issue. Things in my country are unhealthy – and the virus is but the tip of an iceberg that will destroy many ships before this is over. I will not be sharing details or news articles or facts – or any of the destruction I am seeing happen.

My personal social media has been void of all of it.

Because people are on the edge already. I choose not to be part of the overwhelming problem. And I find it frustrating that I cannot be part of the solution either, simply because everything that is happening is completely out of my control.

I have tried to comfort myself, and remind myself daily, that the only thing I can control is my actions, my responses, my emotions, my part that I play where I am right now. 
do know myself well enough to know that the exhaustion and physical ill health makes ‘everything seem worse’ to my heart and mind.
But as I sit here, pretty much pain free (other than a twinge of a sinus headache forming) and fairly well rested? I feel just as frustrated and overwhelmed and sad and burdened as what I did a week ago. As what I have over the past few weeks, watching the devastation around me – happening to people that I am connected to, even if just as acquaintances.

In a country where desperation has marred us for far too many years, circumstances have become even more desperate. In a country where crime and corruption has surpassed most others in the world, it has reached an even more alarming level. I can’t even find the words in my heart or my head to describe it all. And when I do talk about it to the few that I am close with, the advice is always the same : ”It’s not your burden to carry.”

I hear. I know. I even understand that. It is still extremely difficult to just only feel heavy concern for my children and I. I know a line needs to be drawn… but how.

I have had the training, I have done the research and I personally know a partial solution that may make these circumstances ever so slightly easier. (And right now, even that ever so slightly could make a huge difference.)
But I can’t do that either. And this is something I WILL share and reveal…. 
Not to create panic and a sense of hopelessness, but to help put our current situation into perspective in a small way.

When I was in my twenties, I used to joke that by age 40 (I am older than that now!) I would be living overseas in a cabin in the woods, preferably near a forest and a waterfall. Fairly isolated. But I knew, even then, that ‘no man is an island’ and that for the majority of us, human contact/physical presence is essential in some form. So part of the joke/dream was always this : there would be a small town nearby, and I would visit it once a week for the day, to get supplies, enjoy a coffee and a chat at the local, and just be around people.

Our country is currently in the longest recorded lock down IN THE WORLD. It has been declared invalid and unconstitutional – but nothing is being done.
The part I need to share is this : in the beginning, phone calls, online chats and video calls were enough. (And as much as it’s a horror when it fails, I will forever be grateful for technology!) So please don’t get me wrong and think that I am only seeing the problems and am ungrateful for the gifts.

But we are now on day 76 – SEVENTY SIX DAYS – of not being allowed to visit our friends or family. Even lingering too long in one spot in your car (like perhaps trying to sit and watch the ocean) is not allowed. Our beaches are still closed.
Coupled with all the other crazy rules and regulations, people are becoming depressed on levels unlike anything I have ever seen before. And I hope that when this is over, that I never have to see it again.

I am longer afraid of the virus.

Many, in sheer desperation, have rebelled. Thankfully, they have not been caught. And the difference after just an hour with their nearest and dearest is evident in their mindsets. I have continued to follow the rules because of my children. I love my children dearly, and although being cooped up together has been challenging, we’ve only experienced the usual minor bickering – and the sibling rivalry levels have remained the same. I am very thankful for that too. The three of us still have a great glue 😉

If you get caught breaking lock down regulations (being in a house that is not your own)….
You not only receive a ludicrous financial fine – you also get a criminal record.

I just want to sit in the same room as one of my nearest and dearest and have a cup of coffee and good conversation in their physical presence. 76 days, and no end in sight.

But I want to leave you with this …

Yes, I am overwhelmed and frustrated. I am sad and angry. I am stressed and worried. I am probably every negative emotion I can even think of right now. There are moments in the day where I feel I am teetering on an edge that is about to break off and just take me.

And yet….

At the same time, there is a flame that flickers within me. The winds of circumstance have blown heavy and hard, and it just refuses to die. There’s darkness that keeps telling me to just give up, but it continues to flicker. They say fear shouts, but terror whispers. My eardrums hurt from both.
That flicker remains. It is that strong.

My greatest lesson in all of this? It IS possible to feel all the negative, but still know that it’s not hopeless. 

As a young lady, when needing to come up with a handle for a website, I chose ‘Prisoner of Hope’. Perhaps I spoke that into being, who knows?

But dear friends, while I ask that you think of each and every person living here in South Africa (and spare a thought for me too, of course 😉 ) I also ask that you take a moment and remind yourself that there IS always hope. 

May your flickering flames burn a little brighter 😉

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 😉

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.  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.  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 😉 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. 😉

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 😉 )
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 😉

Q2 What is your favorite quote?
I generally don’t like being asked to mention favourites…. simply because I have so many of everything. 😛
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 😉
“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.”— Swedish Proverb

Q3 Beaches or mountains?
There’s just no question here, and it’s something that never changes 😛
MOUNTAINS for sure 😉

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 😉
Daydreaming 😉 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 😉

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 😉 🙂

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

  1. I think I am addicted to caffeine – I am at a stage where I have to have two cups after waking for my brain to fully functional 😛
  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 quiet 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 we are women, so we got to talking again 😛
  8. I still love to dance – even though I am not very good 😛
  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 😛
  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 😉

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. 😉
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 🙂 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 🙂

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 😉 You should visit him too 🙂

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 😉 I enjoy his Tornado of Chaos 😉

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 😉

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 😉 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 😛 10 minute cardio – it’s a start, don’t knock it 😛 ) to get through, because, well, I promised myself I would 😛

Stay safe ❤

 

an early valentine

Now that the retail industry has completely exploited our desire to celebrate what we view as special occasions, Valentine’s Day is nearly here. Don’t get me wrong… I’m a huge fan of chocolates and roses and beautiful words. But Valentines Day is one day I don’t actually recognise/celebrate on the day, as a day – not for the last 22 years, at least.
I am doing this blog post now, before the fact. And also because tomorrow I will be helping move my mother and the other residents in her current care home to a new facility.

I wrote the following story for Valentine’s Day about three years ago. I wanted it to go viral – not with my name attached and not because of wanting recognition…
But because I wanted people to ‘get it’.

I’d appreciate it if you’d take the time to read it.

“I feel like I should go.”
“Whenever you’re ready.”
“Not yet. I think I’ll have some more juice first.”

She smiled and filled his glass, and then plopped into the chair next to him, sighing deeply. He smiled, raised his glass to her, and said,
            “Here’s to us.”
She winked and gave him the biggest smile she could. Then she giggled,
“Happy Valentine’s Day.”

He rolled his eyes and they laughed together. They’d been together for ten years and had never yet ‘properly’ celebrated a Valentine’s Day together.

This was the thing that had drawn them together in the first place – the knowledge and desire to live every day as Valentine’s Day.
To do things with love – loving strangers and animals and friends, and inadvertently loving themselves.

Every day the opportunity to love each other was not wasted.
Every week he brought something new for the garden – so her house had a permanent supply of her favourite plants and flowers.
Breakfast in bed, taking turns with housework, a surprise bottle of champagne or dinner out… these things were not just saved for special occasions.
Uplifting words of love and encouragement, and exclamations at their good looks and intelligence, were a daily thing.
So when Valentine’s Day came around, it was just another day for them.

He reached for her hand, and stroked it gently, asking,
            “Do you think they’ll ever get it?”
She shrugged and replied solemnly,
            “Some do, and that counts.”

He nodded thoughtfully, and then said,
            “I broke our rule a bit…I got you something for Valentine’s Day. It’s in the cupboard.”
Raising an eyebrow, she retrieved a large, flat box from its hiding place.
As she slowly lifted the lid with a frown, he grinned,
            “Don’t be too mad. It’s for the baby.”

Instinctively, her hand rested on her swollen belly for a moment, and she caressed the bundle that had been nestling there for the past seven months. Then she smiled lovingly at him, and opened the lid.

She lifted out the large scrapbook, entitled ‘The Love Journal’, and began to page through it. Unable to hold back the tears any longer, she let them travel a silent path down her cheeks, wetting her neck, as she saw what he’d done.

He had taken their photo’s and memories as a couple and filled the book with them, as well as tips and quotes on each page, as a reminder and guide to the beauty of loving every daydoing things for others unselfishly. At the end of the book, in a sleeve, was a voucher to purchase another journal – she removed it from its plastic resting place and gave him a watery smile,
            “For me and the baby?”

He nodded, a tear escaping from the corner of his eye. She gently nestled in next to him and held him tightly when he said,
            “I guess I’m ready.”
Looking up at his handsome face, she kissed his chin and whispered,
            “I love you.”
He held her, and whispered words of love to her. Then laying a hand on her stomach, he whispered a little more, before closing his eyes.

The doctor and nurse watched from the doorway, tears streaming down their cheeks, listening and waiting patiently for the young couple to say their goodbyes. As he took his last breath, each of them knew in their hearts that they had got it.

~~ Written by Meg ~~

Wishing you all flowers and sweetness and an abundance of love EVERY day!

Happy Valentine’s ❤

Christmas Every Day

This season is a very demanding time for me. It reaches beyond my children, and the usual chaos of Christmas. Many reach out – because although it’s the season to be jolly, the reality is that it is also a painful time for many – sometimes at the drop of a hat.

As a child, I spent a lot of time with my maternal grandparents. Granny and Grampie (my names for them) were wonderful, in more ways than just regular great ‘grandparents’ are. They introduced me to many of life’s treasures : the arts, theatre and musicals, classical music and music in general, singing,  Scrabble and crosswords, books and poetry and writing. But the greatest treasures they gave me were their time, and lessons of love and kindness and respect for all. 
Growing up, I was a ‘drama queen’ – but not in the sense that I made much ado about nothing. More in the sense that I loved everything to do with Dramatic Arts. I took private drama lessons, and appeared in every school show I could. Grampie used to say I was his ‘little Anne’, because a lot of my reactions as a child came from hours of watching Anne of Green Gables with my grandparents.
When I was eight, my parents took me to see the musical ‘Hello, Dolly’, at the theatre in Cape Town. (We were there to move my brother into his residence for university.)
When it was over, I paused at the top of the flight of stairs on the way out. Surrounded by people, I made my descent slowly and purposefully, imitating Dolly in the show, singing at the top of my lungs, “Hello, Meggie… well, hello, Meggie… it’s so nice to have you back where you belong….”

Being a dramatic young soul, it surprised no one that my favourite story was ‘The Little Match Girl’ by Hans Christian Anderson. I had a large book filled with his stories, but those particular pages were almost grubby, having being visited so many times. Although the story is set on New Years Eve, it was one that was read by me, and to me, all year long – but multiple times during the week leading up to Christmas. As an adult, I have struggled to understand how anyone could read it to me without crying. Because as an adult, each time I read it, the lump in my throat makes it difficult to read out loud – my breath catches in my throat and the tears flow when I am close to the end. Sobs escape, and I pause many times. I have yet to read this story out loud to my children, without frustrating them at the drawn out ending – but they understand, for they struggle too.

When I was 9, Grampie and Granny added to my book collection with another omnibus of stories. The featured story in this book (as it was the title of the collection) quickly became my next firm favourite. It was a story by Oscar Wilde, entitled ‘The Selfish Giant’.
And yes, this story made me cry as well. Although it has nothing to do with Christmas, or New Year – nothing to do with this particular time of year at all – it was another story that I revisited most during Christmas preparation time. And still do, as an adult.

Because both these stories remind me of the things that Grampie, in particular, always tried to teach me. (I was about 10 when my parents split, and Grampie stepped in as a replacement dad as much as he could, when my real dad wasn’t around.)

I am grateful for this Christmas season, because somehow it makes most people more generous. But…

EVERY day is the time for peace, love and joy. EVERY day is the time for compassion and kindness. EVERY day is a time to celebrate, and wish for others the treasures that cannot be bought to be in abundance for them.

EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

But because it’s the season… my wish for you :

The true heart of Christmas (and every day we have 😛 ) is one of wonder and warmth. May any holiday stress you feel fade away and be replaced with this. To those who have lost loved ones during this season, may there somehow be comfort for you. To those who have little, may you be given more. And may we all show kindness and love, and be shown it in abundance too! Merry Christmas to all!

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The Dark Side of Humor

According to ‘some’, it is unfortunate that my children are so much like me. Most disagree though and so the ‘some’ don’t win. Personally, I’m rather relieved that they’re so much like me. Although admittedly there are moments when they terrify me – said tongue in cheek 😉

Like the other night when my daughter sent me this, with the caption, “I’d sleep with one eye open, Mom” :

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If it had come from my 20-year-old son I don’t think it would have bothered me quite so much – which is kind of weird, I know. But my daughter is 13…and she’s a girl…for goodness sake! I placed a bookmark into the spot in a really interesting part of a psychological thriller I was reading, and marched myself to the dining area where I could hear her tapping away on the keyboard.

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