Today, England goes into a month-long “lockdown”….but I am heading to the same place I have been heading to all year. I am walking to work, singing on the way to keep my spirits up, and then I really need to pick up a few groceries on the way home. Maybe, by the time I am home America will have decided what on earth is going on!
Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, has asked us another round of lovely questions in this week’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD:
Which meal is your favorite: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
My favourites change all the time, but as the weather is getting colder I am enjoying making either spicy or herb-rich vegetable casseroles in large quantity and freezing them into individual portions, so that when I come home from work, I have a nutritious meal waiting without having to do lots of food prep.
Who do you admire most in the world?
I admire my parents for setting a wonderful example for all of their children.
I also admire the many amazing volunteers I have had the privilege of working with since I was sixteen. They are astonishing. People who work without a wage are really special. They have shaped my view of what I can do with my life.
With the obvious restrictions in place, what do you regret not doing in the last year?
I don’t really have any regrets. I have been working hard for the NHS. It’s been tiring, at times it was intensely stressful, but I am glad I could be useful and part of a large team helping others.
Sure, sometimes I thought it would be nice to be at home sunbathing or learning to play an instrument. But my boss said something to me back in the spring which I have thought about at times this year. She said to me, “You were made for a crisis. It’s as if everything you’ve ever done in your life is exactly what we need right now.”
That made me think of all the stressful demanding projects I have worked on as an unpaid volunteer. For years, I have worked in demanding conditions: I have worked 18 hours a day for two weeks to get projects finished off when we had a deadline, slept on hard floors, woken up before five o’clock in the morning to join the queue to use a basic shower (dozens of volunteers waiting to use the same shower and eaten what was provided for me (whether I liked it or not).
I have worked in several fields of healthcare, including terminal care, dementia care and mental health care. I have seen death. I have seen people pull through and make a recovery. I have comforted distraught family members. I have worked as a first aider on construction sites and at major events. I have worked as a security steward and had to evacuate thousands of people during bomb scares. I have had to calm down aggressive people and communicate clearly in numerous roles including customer services, security and diplomatic work. I have….been through an enormous personal trauma in my life and come through it with gusto. I can see that all of the above does contribute to me being fairly useful in a time of crisis.
I just think that my boss said the right words. What she said made me think, “Yes, I can be useful. The right place for me is helping the NHS right now.”
Please keep washing those lovely hands….observe social distancing restrictions….quarantine if you have any symptoms of the virus….and know that lots of people who are working for the NHS are genuinely lovely. We often do overtime even though we won’t get paid. We do that because it can make a difference to the patients and to each other as a team.
❤ WE ARE DOING OUR BIT. PLEASE DO YOUR BIT. ❤
GRATITUDE SECTION: (Optional)
Feel free to share something you’re grateful for.
I know you know how I feel already – but I am so pleased Jack picked up the phone over a year ago. I am thrilled with the resulting peace and purpose that has rolled in upon me since then.
I have made a mess of my blogging schedule this week. I had a busy start to the week and more training to do (what are they doing to us???) so it was only tonight that I managed to sit down and work on this week’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD questions.
What an array of questions we have this week…the mundane – food and the weather – to the magnificent – we are talking about the existence of the material universe and eternity!
Are You Ready To Order? What Are You Having (craving) right now?
I am thinking Chinese tonight.
I am hungry after working all day and then going for a walk. I had a sandwich at lunch but now I want something warm and yummy, but not too heavy.
Lots of ginger and spring onions, broccoli and cashew nuts and good helping of noodles.
I used to love our trips to Chinatown to sit around a big round table with a bunch of friends and try lots of dishes. It seems like ages since we have done anything like that (you know why!!!) and I miss it.
Jack is going to love me for tagging this video:
How’s the weather in YOUR neck of the woods?
Not great. It has rained almost all day! I had to go shopping and running errands for the landlords and I got pretty wet even with an umbrella!
Ok….I have a rain song for you, but please don’t think it reflects my mood. I am alright. I just love this song! I know there is a happier rain song (I’M SINGING IN THE RAIN!) but my friend and I were talking about this band tonight and now I can’t get the song out of my head.
There has always been something. Before there was something, there was only nothing. Which do you think is more likely?
So, for us humans, we can only really comprehend having a beginning, can’t we. All of us had a start, an undignified horrific start. We had to squeeze our way through into a maternity theatre with the woman we know as mum shrieking.
So for that reason it may be hard for us to imagine what it would be to always exist, to never have had a beginning. We drive ourselves loopy thinking about “in the beginning” and what was there before then. We seem to want to put up a marker, and suggest that before the “beginning” there was nothingness.
Now I am going to mention the scriptural point of view, only because from a physics point of view it makes a lot of sense, but please don’t think I am having a dig at anyone who does not believe in design, purpose and creation. The very first words of the scriptures “IN THE BEGINNING…” deal with the start of the universe and the earth. But they are made of matter. We know that matter is made from energy….a lot of energy.
You know Einstein very eloquently explained this and provided equations that have provided a basis for even more research into understanding the relation of matter and energy. Was there ever a time when the energy that was used to make matter did not exist? Was there a time when energy did not exist? Was there ever a time when there was nothing, nothing at all? What do you think?
Our awareness, our consciousness of being alive, of existing, and for us as intelligent creatures, the extraordinary ability we have to contemplate time, to try to grasp our physical universe is limited. We know what it is to not exist. We had a start, everything before our personal start, we learn through history books or from the mouths of others. But since we have been alive we have been drinking in what it is to be alive, to be conscious of our existence, through our senses and trying to make sense of our purpose.
It is hard for creatures who had a beginning to imagine what it would be for a life form to never have had a beginning. Yet that is what the scriptures say about our Creator. “Eternal”, “no beginning, no end”, “the King of Eternity”. More than just impressive titles, they are terms and descriptions that make sense.
Some form of vast energy that has always existed, and has the ability and intelligence to use it’s own energy to make matter. I know, I know it is mind-boggling in some ways. But it is in harmony with our understanding of physics.
Will we ever really understand what it is like to have never had a beginning? I don’t think we will. Our view of time is always going to be within our understanding of existence. But we have a hunger in our hearts to learn and understand. We have an astonishing ability to contemplate and to try to understand what eternity means.
Never stop learning! Never stop being fascinated by the miracle that we are alive and that the immense mindboggling scale of this universe!
What is your favorite time of year? Why?
Summer. I love summer. I love it because I live!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This summer was not the best, but I am sure I have a lot of summers ahead of me!
(PS. I suspect this gallery will look pants in the WP Reader…but on the website it might look great!)
Sometimes there are questions that are hard to answer. Sometimes there are questions that are hard to understand to begin with, making it even harder to answer them. So brownie points to me for trying!
Melanie the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, has asked us some pretty tough questions this week! Here is her original SHARE-YOUR-WORLD psts:
Are we “here” or do we just think we are? Can you prove your point of view?
I have a passion for physics, but metaphysics is a bewilderingly blurry field for me. Yes, we exist. Is that what the question means? Yes we exist, and we exist because someone chose to share life, and to create intelligent creatures with similar capacities as He has.
He wielded energy to form matter. We are made of matter. Our Creator is unlikely to be made of matter, because to have the power to be able to harness vast amounts of energy into such incredibly ordered material entities is astonishing.
I still am not sure what the question was asking. But yes we are there, we can think whatever we want. But we are here. This is not The Matrix and this is not The Truman Show. We are here. This is real. We are still in very early days of human history. There is a lot to look forward to!
This particular part of our reality sucks – but don’t worry, this was predicted. Human rulership is soon going to end forever and then things will get a lot better!!!
From an identity standpoint, which would be the worst for you personally to lose? Your face, your body or your voice? Which do YOU identify with most strongly for your own sense of self?
I think I read this question a bit too literally to begin with. I was trying to imagine how you could be alive if you lost your body. Is this on more of a hypothetical level? Is the question more, if I woke up tomorrow and found myself in someone else’s body, or looked in the mirror and saw someone’ else’s face, would I feel like “ME”?
My sense of ME is much more than my face or body. I am sure this past year, life and work have been so hectic, I get little time to look in the mirror. Me is made up of my thoughts, emotions, reasonings, experiences, memories, dreams, values and so on. When you look at my body, or my face, or even hear my voice that is just the tip of the iceberg of who I am.
Which do I identify with most strongly for my sense of sense. Perhaps my voice. People comment on my voice all the time. I used to do commercial voice recordings. I speak a lot everyday to patients and colleagues. I know my voice is soft, calming, kindly. If my voice altered significantly it would be interesting to see how people reacted to me.
Do you have a ‘song’? If you’re part of a couple, you could use “your couple’s song” OR a song that’s just always resonated with you.
My song is…
Our song is…
I am not going to bother answering the other question. I am tired, so I don’t have the energy to be diplomatic about deceitful, manipulating wicked spirit creatures who perpetuate lies, mislead mankind, and play games to frighten people. They will die permanently and they know that. Soon the demons, the spirit creatures who oppose truth and want to see humans suffer the same judgement they have (non-existence) will be gone forever.
As for humans who have died. They are not conscious of anything right now. But they are safe. They are safe in the perfect memory of our Creator who is longing to wake them up. But first he has to get rid of wickedness and make sure the earth is clean.
GRATITUDE SECTION (as always strictly optional)
Please free free to share a moment of gratitude you experienced over the past week.
Jack and I have deep conversations that nourish my inner heart. He has a beautiful way of looking at people and the world. He is the such a great person to spend time with.
I am grateful of course for his love. It’s wonderful to have someone to feel you belong with. However, what I appreciate most is who is inside. Jack has a beautiful mind, and a wonderful heart. I could not ask for a better man.
Jack is going to take me away soon. I have a week off work soon. Excited!
Week by week, work is becoming more intense. It’s hard to explain, not only are we busier, which seems to be due to the flu season arriving at the same time in an upsurge in cases of the …you know, but we are also having to deal with a lot more cases of patients who are stressed, demanding, impatient, aggressive and sometimes extremely disruptive. It is making for crazy capers at work!
How glad I am to come home to read your posts and to do a little writing to switch off to the bizarre day at work. I always look forward to answering the SHARE-YOUR-WORLD questions chosen by Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind. This is Melanie’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post for this week:
…and this evening I am writing to you from the comfort of my sofa, all wrapped up in a chunky-knit cardigan and with a fleece blanket draped over me. I am cold!!!
When was the last time you tried something new? How did that go for you?
Something new? I am trying to think. I tried some vegan non-dairy breaded mozzarella sticks the other day – they were yummy!
I guess a recent experience was back in the spring during the height of our work stress. So many of our colleagues were off work, either having to self-isolate with possible symptoms of the …you know, or they had chosen to be furloughed. They were desperate times – I don’t know if you can imagine the stress it caused.
Anyway, my manager showed me procedures I have never been involved in before. I had to learn fast!!! She showed me, I then performed those procedures exactly as I had observed. Then I had to do it all day long with her keeping an eye on my work! It was like the wild west! You will be glad to know I was fast-tracked through a training course to make sure I had all the relevant qualifications/certificates and could continue performing those tasks without supervision.
What’s the most sensible thing you’ve ever heard someone say?
Sensible? Hmm. I don’t know if it is the most sensible, but I think there is a lot of sage wisdom in the expression:
EXPECT NOTHING…..APPRECIATE EVERYTHING!
Those words were first imparted to me in the context to our attitude towards material things. But over the years, I have learnt the value of applying that advice in other areas of life, relationships, results, day to day life.
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
Well, as I have remained twenty-one for a number of years now, I am not exactly sure how to answer that question.
I loved being a kiddo – I would be happy to be eight or nine years of age, and spend all day climbing trees and playing hide and seek with my friends. But being a young adult gave me the opportunity to roam. Travelling to Africa and Eastern Europe opened my eyes up to how many people in this world have far less than we do in England. I came back with a different view of the world.
I also loved that as an adult I could work on construction sites and learn new skills. I loved meeting people from all over the country and building strong friendships.
Much as I loved being a kiddo, being a legal adult opened up opportunities for me to learn so much more about life. I happen to love falling in love. Jack has brought something very special to my life, sometimes I am at a loss for words to explain it. Although it has been a crazy ride (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) I am so thrilled with the way things have worked out 🙂
Do you enjoy any seasonal traditions around this time of year?
The big activity for me at this time of year is preparing for the cold. I swap the summer clothes in my wardrobe for my winter woolies. I swap the light summer duvet for a heavy winter duvet. I have already started to wear snuggly scarves and hats.
I also start to have more hot drinks than cold drinks. I start looking at comfort food recipes I can make to fill up my freezer – vegetarian cottage pie, hotpots, casseroles etc. I have already started making soups again.
I don’t like the colder seasons. I love spring and especially summer. So for me now is the time to prepare to endure the colder weather, to think about comforts that will make it easier and make the most of every daylight hour, as the dark can be depressing.
Not At All Creepy
Incidentally, I noticed that one of Melanie’s other questions was asking if we had ever seen a fresh corpse. The answer is yes, many times (in my role providing nursing care for terminally ill patients)…and no, it was not remotely creepy. The first time I saw someone’s life ebbing out of them, it was strange for me. But that patient had been suffering a lot of pain and indignity. The last couple of days were hard to see as their deterioration became rapid. It was clear at that point that the patient was unresponsive to any treatment and we just had to make them comfortable in their remaining hours. Seeing those final breaths was emotional. But not creepy.
It just had a very big effect on me that death is not natural. We were not designed for death. Our Creator takes no pleasure in seeing his creatures die and it was never what he wanted for humans when he made them. The first two humans had before them the prospect of life without end. Death was the consequence when they ignored his loving guidance. They chose to rule themselves. They made the wrong choice. They and their offspring suffered. The situations has got worse and worse as wickedness has advanced. But we know that our Creator has made arrangements to undo Adamic death, to heal the human family, to remove wickedness and to ensure our earth is clean for all.
Those patients had simply gone to sleep. Pain had ended. Although they had ceased to breathe I had no doubt they were safe in the memory of our Creator and that he would keep them there until the earth was clean and without wickedness before he restored consciousness to them and brought them back to life in a healthy body. I often think of the patients I was with when they died. I would love to be there to see them back with us, on a clean earth without any harm or cruelty.
The scale of rejoicing that is ahead of us once wickedness has been removed is wonderful to contemplate. Just as our Creator yearns to see precious humans living again, so do we. We long to be united with our loved ones and to know that death, mourning, grief and pain are a thing of the past.
Once the earth is clean…the resurrection can begin!!! Soon, this corrupt system will be dissolved and mankind will work together to fulfill our Creator’s purpose – a clean earth like paradise, a happy healthy human family and thriving creatures. Just a little while longer!
Well….October. Yeah. October. Can you believe it! I have no words! Thank goodness I have a SHARE -YOUR-WORLD post all lined up for you! Our wonderful Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, has provided our questions in her post below:
I have to admit, I am pretty good at making myself at home everywhere I go. I think that’s partly because I see the earth as our home and the human race as my family.
I quickly get on with people because I look for common ground and presume that they share many similar experiences as I do. I always hope for the good in people and try to treat them, dignify them, speak to them with the same consideration and kindness as I appreciate receiving from others. The only time I would feel unsettled is by the behaviour of the people around me. There are certain manners and obnoxious attitudes that would make me flee.
I feel at home with Jack because he and I seem to have similar natures and we share a purpose, a passion for the work we are involved in, and we both have personalities that love to party. We understand each other.
I instantly feel at home with my family. It does not matter how long since we last saw each other…we understand each other. We have the same outlook. We see the universe in the same way. We have the same values, the same attitudes, the same joys. We are all lively and talkative, active and practical, fun loving and friendly.
I also feel at home whenever I dive into a swimming pool. Having spend thousands of hours training for the county swimming club for ten years, I feel almost designed for the water.
Would you rather ride a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car?
Wow – how can I not choose a horse!!! I mean…they are beautiful and my days out pony trekking have been some of the happiest of my life.
I don’t imagine life in the future with cars. Do you? Bikes might be there. I don’t know. But horses will. Horses and so many other beautiful creatures will be around. Not sure about human inventions. When we start working towards the purpose we were assigned, I imagine we might not need some of the tools we have used while seeking futile goals.
Does my heart not flutter everytime we pass a field with horses? Have I not always dreamed of being able to gallop across fields like in the show I remember from childhood, “Black Beauty“.
I used to live in an area where there were a lots of race horses in particular, which were rather splendid creatures. I despise race-horsing as an industry, but I loved seeing those gorgeous horses.
What song would you sing on “Karaoke Night”?
Well….I would start off with my usual warm-up song…
…and then choose other songs, hopefully including some duets with other singers (I have Kristian at the top of my list) that would help me build up to my grand finale, which will stun everyone! Truly! Until you have seen my version of “River Deep Mountain High“, you just cannot appreciate what karaoke is all about.
Jack wants to give you his top karaoke crooner picks, but I have told them we will save them for another day!
University or life experience, which do you feel best prepares you for life?
I am a big believer in education, just not necessarily in university education. But neither do I think that unsupervised life experience is going to have good results. Real education should focus how to care for responsibilities and how to love, how to love life. Taking care of physical and emotional health – love goodness. Taking care of other people physically and emotionally – love kindness. Taking care of our home, our planet and other creatures – love work.
My view of education is that rather than so much of it being in a classroom or lecture theatre, or involving essays and thesis and docturates….education should be out there in the real world. Education should mean learning about the human family and our home. Education that teaches that one nation is above another, or that people can dominate and abuse others for the sake of profits is monstrous.
I also think it’s laughable that there are university students who have hardly any life skills or practical skills. I think all education should involve spending at least a year in a land without the modern conveniences the West think are essential. For at least a year every person should know what it is to wash yourself and your clothes in a bucket of water….and make the most of daylight to perform tasks, because in the dark it will be harder.
Every person should be educated in a range of practical trades including cooking, cleaning, gardening, repairing and/or making your own clothes, furniture and a home. I cannot understand how this system has churned out so many people without those skills.
Education should not be about spending time with people of your own age range, who are going to give you some of the worst advice you will ever be exposed to. Real education will mean interacting with people of all ages, especially older ones who have tremendous perspective and wisdom.
Just going out into the world and “living” won’t necessarily provide beneficial experience. It may be harmful to go out unprepared for the trappings of the commercial system and it’s manipulative marketing messages. A person venturing forth without any clear moral code or set of values is bound to get themselves into a pickle before they know it. I think that within a person’s practical and academic training there should be mentors, wise counsellors who can provide guidance and help someone to reason.
I think I have a lot to say on the subject of education, and I know I have written about it before. I am all for education. But I think it needs to be more balanced, holistic, rounded out, practical and useful than the university courses some students are signed up for.
What are you grateful for?
I had whopper headaches over a couple of weeks. The pain was relentless, except for when I was asleep. I slept so much longer than normally. But it feels good. Sleep is good, really good!
Slowly slowly I have put together another post for SHARE-YOUR-WORLD. I like this week’s questions. They were straightforward and it was easy for me to answer them. (That has helped because my head has been bullying me with more pain than is normal.)
I like salad. It is the main part of my diet for most of the year. I the coldest part of winter, I may ditch salad for cooked vegetables. I especially like green salads.
I have had a habit this summer of making a huge green salad every few days which I have a portion of every single day as part of a meal. The green salad is made up of kos lettuce, lamb’s lettuce, rocket, cucumber, celery, spring onions, parsley, and sometimes some green pepper.
But when I have a salad on it’s own it would have all sorts of other goodies thrown in…seeds, nuts, chickpeas, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, other veggies either fresh (peppers, grated carrot, beetroot, sweetcorn, radishes, avocados) or cooked (maybe roasted butternut squash, caramelised onions or new potatoes), sometimes a grain like couscous or freekeh, sometimes a mix of herbs or even something yummy like pomegranate seeds. Every salad is unique and delicious.
There is one distinguishing feature in most of my salads. I like to finely chop everything. I am not sure why, but I love every mouthful tasting different. Finely chopped ingredients help to mix up each bite.
If you care to, share something that really irritates you.
I am a mild mellow person on the whole. Some things irritate me though. Qualities like arrogance I guess. People being rude as rude can be. But I try to remember that everyone has a bad day. Rude might not be their default mode.
Political propaganda seems like a farce, a joke, and it is beyond me why people can become so inflamed and dogmatic and unreasoning about politics.
I know someone who is constantly telling us about her wonderful work and how many mistakes she finds her colleagues making. The team are amazing. They all work hard. Dissing the team is not appreciated. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and because the colleague who seems to think she is brilliant regularly calls in sick, the rest of the team are often under extra pressure. I don’t know I just think humility is the way to go…and claiming you are better or superior than everyone else is just not the way to go about life or work.
But you know what…what she is doing is simply a human weakness. I feel more empathy more than irritation. Most of us finally come face to face with our weaknesses and realize what an idiot we have been. That is an opportunity to change, to be a better person. We are all learning about life about love and about what really matters. Most of us have all the basics in the right place, we need more fine-tuning though to be at our best.
We are all little children who need better guidance.
What are your favorite ‘lounging around the house’ items of clothing? Now that a lot of people ‘lounge around the house’ waiting for the all clear in respect to Covid being shown the door, have those lounging items changed?
If I know I am going to be in my little nest most of the day, doing housework or working remotely, I tend to put on a pair of chinos. I have navy, olive, white, beige, red chinos that are smart and I have two pairs that are particularly comfortable – one pair are white, the other turquoise. I usually wear them with a T-shirt.
I am quite practical and functional when it comes to clothing. Some people use clothing to express their personality. However, I just wear what seems to fit the activity ahead of me. I have a section of my wardrobe that is perfect for wearing with steel toe capped boots or hiking boots. Then I have smart clothes for paid work. I have a lot of pretty dresses for nights out or social events. I have summery clothes and winter clothes.
I have my own fairly simple functional style, but I love to wear gorgeous dresses whenever I have the opportunity.
Please feel free to share something about Autumn (or Spring if you’re gearing up for that) that you especially enjoy!
lol – 2020 has taught me not to think too far ahead! Let’s take Autumn first. I guess I am looking forward to more walking in the autumn months ahead, soup and buttered toast, hot chocolate, cuddling up with Jack.
Last autumn we were secretly dating. It was so special. We may be able to enjoy our second autumn mostly enjoying evenings in alone. That is pretty amazing. I want to do lots of autumnal things with Jack. I want him to keep me warm over the next few months. I want to be closer to him than ever.
If we have learnt anything from this year, surely it is that not to leave the people you love in any doubt that you love them! I love Jack! I love him!
I am trying to get to grips with this block edit that has suddenly appeared on my computer. I have tried to start with shorter posts as the longer posts take me so long.
This is my SHARE-YOUR WORLD post for this week…which took me a lot longer than it normally does! Perhaps I was being too ambitious. We are all in this together! If they change the software…we will find ways to conquer!!!
I am sure you know that the questions for SHARE-YOUR-WORLD are provided by Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind. You can find her original post below:
I don’t know for certain, so I don’t want to be dogmatic about this. I have not read anything about DNA research on emotions like fear.
But even if there was a tendency to be fearful, or for what exactly incites fear within us embedded in our DNA, I still am minded to think that the more significant factor in our inclination to be fear would be an environmental cause.
If you could have your hair any colour for 24 hours, what colour would you choose?
I think blue.
I saw this question recently…was it one of Sandmajazz questions? I think overall I would say electric blue. But unlike the girl in this picture, I would smile.
I will not be dying my hair blue though. I have never dyed my hair in my life. If I was going to start dying it I am sure it would not be blue.
As a teenager, I thing I wanted hot pink hair and to be the bass guitarist in a rock band.
When do you think a person gets old?
That’s an interesting question.
The volunteers I have worked with never seemed to get old. We had volunteers in their nineties who were determined to keep working full time. They were usually the first to arrive in the dining room (breakfast was served at 7am) and they had a habit of greeting as many people as possible as they came through the door and having a chat with anyone they were out of touch with.
I think some people think in terms of slowing down, winding down…whereas others don’t see any need to slow down. Often the body dictates and there comes a point where even the most mighty of men have had to acknowledge their limitations in some areas. But retaining a sense of purpose and recognising how much you have to contribute is a good way to help you stay active.
This gives me a chance to tag a song that I have wanted to share with you for ages. It starts “…We are young, we are free….” Some of you will know it well!
Please feel free to write about an uplifting moment in your life this week!
I have had a nice week. I have been busy. But it’s all good busy. I am seeing more people that I know. That’s so good. It’s so good to see people I have not seen all year.
People are seeing me and Jack together. Social distancing gave us a bubble of privacy we did not have to fight for. But now we are working together on projects, walking around both North London (near to Jack’s home) and all around the area I live holding hands, without any anxiety of what anyone thinks. Face-masks are great. People are less likely to recognise Jack. We can go into shops together and nobody notices Jack floating around. I have to admit I like it.
The temperature is pleasant. I have had some nice walks and enjoyed the breeze. I would like to make sure that I have a daily walk throughout the autumn and winter. It is good for my spirits.
I have been eating huge amounts of salad and not much else recently. Even though that is simply due to my body craving spring onions and lettuce I feel good for having a sort of “detox”. Every two or three days I make myself up a large green salad – lettuce, rocket, parsley, cucumber, celery and spring onions. I love it.
I found a new show to watch. I struggle with television. So it is nice to find a show I can enjoy. Beautiful scenery and so far the first episodes I have watch have been great.
Tuesdays 9pm Channel 5…”All Creatures Great And Small“.
That’s a loaded question isn’t it! But from time to time, it is good to pause and take a breather. We’re all in a right pickle at the moment. Some are feeling up the creek without a paddle. Some are overwhelmed by anxiety and are juggling more than they can manage.
There is a saying…SHARING IS CARING. Each week we take some time to read the SHARE-YOUR-WORLD posts from other bloggers and to work on our own. It’s a good chance to take a breather and think about other members of our human family and what they are going through. As most of you know SHARE-YOUR-WORLD is hosted by Melanie the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, who provided us with this week’s questions in the following post:
I am losing track of time. Somehow, I totally forgot that yesterday was a Bank Holiday Monday. It also somehow escaped my notice that the children are starting out back at school today, or at some point this week. I seem to be living in a time warp!
Time! Time can do so much! I spent a very lovely week with family recently and since then I have been in a reflective mood. It started on a sad note, but Jack has helped to steer my reflections. Jack is a prize, an absolute prize and I treasure him. We had some deep conversations with my family and with each other recently. We talked about the potential for harder times ahead and the threat of propaganda.
For over four years I was thoroughly discombobulated because of the damage that started with Jack and I not communicating properly, and was made miserable by a situation that seemed beyond our control to address. But look at the outcome. Look at the complete turn-around in events! To me…the way things worked out with Jack taught me lessons for life. Lessons in endurance and in keeping your hope sharp and bright. Lessons in patience, humility and keeping focused on peace.
There are so many of us who are feeling discombobulated by this year, one way or another. My Dadda said to me last week that there seems to be something eerie in the air…and I don’t think he was talking about the virus. There is a feeling of trepidation, of “what will happen next?” I have lost count of how many people have said to me in conversation that they are uncertain about so many things right now.
I have thought about that a lot and I decided that it is at times of uncertainty that we really need to be absolutely certain about what is good. I feel more passionate than ever about doing what is kind, choosing to do good and not allowing myself to lose my grip on right and true values in times of trouble or propaganda.
Each week, we SHARE-OUR-WORLD…and usually that means we give others a little glimpse of what is going on in our minds, our household and our neck of the woods. But in a way that title is a reminder that we all SHARE the same prime location in this universe as our address. We live on a stunningly beautiful planet which is being mismanaged. However…many of us also SHARE the same dreams, the same yearnings for a clean earth with thriving happy healthy creatures.
So although times seem uncertain, I am going to try to keep my focus on what I am certain will contribute to a peaceful clean earth that is safe for all living creatures.
What is the last song you sang along to?
I was working on my posts for Jim Adam’s SONG-LYRIC-SUNDAY for the next few weeks and one of the songs that I was looking at it…well, I find it kind of emotional.
What was your scariest nightmare about?
Sometimes I am not sure if I am fully asleep or not when I have flashbacks. Is it a flashback or a nightmare? It doesn’t matter. It still has the same effect on me. I will be in bed and it’s dark and I suddenly feel as if I am back there that night in the park. The same terror creep back over me. Because it was a very warm night it is easy for the dark and the temperature in my bedroom to stir those memories. That is frightening because it was a very real event.
I don’t have many scary dreams. I don’t watch scary entertainment so my brain does not have much in the way of disturbing images to churn up.
However, I sometimes have a dream that upsets me. I dream I am on trial in a court. No matter how I explain myself, the prosecution twist my words and make me look like the worst person on earth. That horrible feeling of not being believed, of being condemned, people not being willing to see the good in you – it does upset me. In those dreams I can feel my stomach is in knots as I desperately try to defend myself and show how I am being unfairly accused. But nobody believes. They all look at me with hatred.
My theory is that during those years when Jack and I were having problems, what upset me the most was the cruel gossip spreading around me. It still shakes me up to think of the horrible names I was called and the lies told about me. People were making me out to be something I was not. I tried to just be me. I tried to be the person I am and hoped that those rumours would fade away, as friends and colleagues who knew the real me poured water on them. But I learnt something that saddens me. People like a sensational story, some salacious secret. It felt as if no matter what I did, no matter how I tried to refute the slander, people still had me on trial…and they judged me guilty of things I would never dream of doing.
And the truth is…deep down, I have still not recovered from that.
Not everyone will understand this, but the one thing that helps me most is thinking about the slander and vicious words that have been spread about our Creator, the maker of this incredible planet we live on. Back at the start of human history, the rightness of his rulership was challenged and it was claimed that humans would be better off ruling themselves. The court case that has been conducted since that day is soon to end.
What food do you crave most often?
When it comes to food, I am rather faddish. I love variety so much. So if I do have a craving, it will be a temporary one. Tomorrow I will not want the same food.
Today I have a craving for sun-dried tomatoes.
When I was up north we made lots of buffet food. I made salads and puddings. But I also served some finn crisps with a scraping of cream cheese. Half of them were topped with smoked salmon, the other half with sundried tomatoes. They disappeared within minutes.
What’s your grossest bug story?
I remember being hugged a lot by people in Ghana. It was gross because we were all dripping with sweat. Sweaty hugs are kind of gross.
I think my eyesight is failing. I just re-read the question and realized it said “bug”, not “hug”. Do I have a gross bug story? The only time I get annoyed by bugs is when they are trying to feast on our picnic or garden party buffet! When we were up north, everything had to be in a container with a lid because there were wasps and flies buzzing all over the garden.
I have a really really awful snail story. It was at the home of a woman we were trying to help. She was battling addictions. I remember she bought a box of slug pellets and one evening in a drunken episode, she dropped the box and it split open on the edge of the patio. It may have been a few days after she dropped the slug pellets that I went into the garden to take her rubbish out and found a mound of snails. It made me feel so ill.
I love snails. I think they are such amazing and beautiful creatures and it still upsets me to think of that scene.
I was feeling blue on Sunday. Jack was worried about me because I had a few tears and I told him there was a sad heavy lump inside me that would not go away. At his encouragement, Jack and I went for a walk that evening and I felt my spirits gradually lift. I am so pleased I live near to beautiful parkland with ancient trees and pretty flower gardens. I am thrilled that those parks were quiet on Sunday evening except for a few smiling families and cheerful dog-walkers.
I am so glad we were out enjoying creation. I am thankful for trees and flowers and fresh breezes. I am so happy we have pretty skies and that there are always ducks on the pond. I am grateful for squirrels and woodpeckers who catch my eye and make me smile.
I am glad that I have someone to share all of that wonder with, someone to put his arm around me when I am a little tearful and I am not sure why. Someone to nudge me to put my boots on and go out for a walk with him. Someone to grasp my hand and kiss the back of my fingers.
Someone to buy me a vegan Magnum ice-cream on the way home. I know right! Isn’t he the best!! Seriously, the vegan ice-cream was the cherry on top of the cake of what Jack did for me on Sunday.
I am deeply deeply appreciative for the miracle of having Jack back in my life. Believe me, sometimes that alone is enough to make me wonder why I ever feel blue or anxious about anything. He is the most wonderful happy ending and I do know I have more than any Disney Princess. But sometimes the world still creeps in and chips at the inner me. Jack knows just what I need to cheer me up. He knows to get me outside and to remind me to breathe in the joy of creation and put out of my mind the trouble that the corrupt system keeps churning out.
When I see the beautiful planet we have been given as our home it convinces me…that we…you and I…have the prospect ahead of living on an earth in much better hands.
“…Let your will take place, as in heaven, also on earth…”
Useful, healthful, playful, joyful, grateful and purposeful. I have to say, I really enjoyed the questions provided in the SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post from Melanie the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind. Here is Melanie’s post:
Jack and I just arrived back in London after spending most of the week with my family. It was wonderful. I am sure I will share more of the loveliness I enjoyed this week, but I found ways to weave some of the joys of this week into my SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post.
It’s been a very special week for me…and now I have a weekend ahead full of working on charity projects with Jack (still planning and training remotely before it is safe to gather volunteers in the same location). I love that we get to chat with so many fabulous volunteers, who are an absolute tonic to associate with, even if it is only online at the moment.
Is intelligence or wisdom more useful?
I knew that I had answered this question before. I found this answer in a post I published a while back:
It might be fair to say that you can’t really have the latter without having at least a little bit of the former. But as for which is more useful, I would have thought most would agree that wisdom is finer and more useful.
Generally, I associate intelligence as the accumulation of information or knowledge. Computers and machines are said to possess a form of “intelligence”. However, since there is an abundance of false information, false knowledge riddled with inaccuracies – the amassing of information and knowledge is not necessarily a positive thing.
A person can have little knowledge of the trillions of subjects out there, but they may have a little true and accurate knowledge that is far more empowering and enriching than the abundance of nonsense that has been published.
The acquisition of knowledge is the start of learning, I suppose. Yet the ability to discern between true and false is of vital import. Understanding the information one has acquired and how it relates to the foundation of true and eternal principles is the next key step to learning. This ability helps one to reject information that clearly does not fit the pattern of truth.
But beyond that is what could be termed the end of learning: wisdom. Correctly applying the knowledge and understanding one now possesses. It is wisdom that shows true evidence of superior learning, not the possession of a vast amount of information.
I was talking to a colleague recently. I think my colleague is curious about some of my decisions in life. I explained that I had choices. I was achieving A grades throughout school. I come from an academic family. My older siblings and cousins had been to renowned universities and were immersed in lucrative careers. I was the rebel perhaps, although I did not have a rebellious spirit.
I chose to prioritise unpaid volunteer work over the opportunities within the commercial world. I have rejected all sorts of notions this “world” promotes. I have no wish to get on to the property ladder. The concept of a mortgage is baffling to me. Why would I enslave myself like that? I have no wish to become a slave to a business intent on making profit.
I have lived a rich and rewarding life on a shoestring budget. Working as a volunteer has opened up opportunities to me that I would not have had if I had pursued my own material comforts.
Some people make a snap judgement when they learn that I rejected higher education. This is a decision I have never regretted. I saw what higher education did to some of my family members. Those who pursued academia have not ended up with the more balanced education and practical training that the rest of our family opted for. I have never stopped learning. I am a long term student who is fascinated by many subjects. I read a huge amount of material and I exercise discernment as I read. There are so many opposing theories and philosophies, many of them a mix of half-truths and conjecture.
Having a clear grasp of basic truths is a huge aid to sorting through the never ending “information” overload that we are bombarded with.
I think wisdom today includes a knowledge and experience in how people behave. Wisdom is reflected in how you react to the way others treat you. If someone had poor relationships with others, I would tend to question their “wisdom”.
I also believe wisdom is also manifest by the choices and decisions someone makes, their habits and lifestyle. When someone appears to be unable to look after themselves properly, I find it hard to credit them with wisdom no matter how many “qualifications” and “certificates” they may profess to have.
There are so many other areas that show whether we are truly wise: how we use time, how we spend money, our attitude to debt, how we view and treat our possessions, how easily swayed we are by sensationalism and propaganda, our abilities to reason and consider what may contradict some of our treasured beliefs.
Some seem to be focused on the acquisition of more and more conflicting, confusing, and capricious information. Others appear to have a tight hold of basic truths and show they have developed discernment, understanding and wisdom.
Many people are pursuing things that do not bring true happiness. In fact, this world is designed to encourage people to pursue vain, empty goals. Is it wise to conform to a system that pats you on the back if you pass it’s tests? Follow it’s goals? Define success by it’s standards? It is alarming how many people are seeking things that will soon be gone forever!
All that glitters is not gold. So much of what this world promotes as “success” is vain and empty. Many find that out too late. Wisdom is better than gold! It is better than the goals of this world.
In fact…just to add a little to my original post…I now think that wisdom involves rejecting the “intelligence” this world professes to have. The sum of it’s intelligence for centuries has been the aspiration of being great, or greater than others. The most “enlightened”, the most “educated”, the most apparently “civilized” and “developed” of nations have made vast profit from oppressing others.
I feel very proud of my nieces who just found out their GCSE results….wait for it… all A*s. Across the board. What are they doing next? They have both enrolled as full time volunteers. Why? Because they want to do something that counts. They will work part-time to support themselves and spend most of their time giving of themselves freely to help others. Rather than being part of a world that seeks to amass more wealth, living simply and working to help others who are struggling. Their decision. I am proud of them because they have already proved wise.
How important is play in living a healthy and fulfilling life?
Short answer: it is an essential part of a balanced life. It is hard to keep working without knowing you will have chance to play and let off some steam. If you don’t make time to play, you will struggle to remain balanced and maintain enjoyment of work and life.
Long answer: I could answer this in so many ways. But the first thought that came to mind was this past week in the north of England. Our family fun involved lots of running round, playing games, dancing and laughing. Ages represented on this occasion were seven months (due to be born in two months time) right through to seventy-two years of age.
I cannot speak for all of my family, but I know that for me, that time will sustain me for a long time when I am back at work.
We all need some kind of recreation, to recreate ourselves. There’s no doubt about it, a balanced healthy life involves work, rest and play. The benefits to every aspect of our physical, emotional, mental and social health are tremendous.
Is happiness just chemicals flowing through your brain or something more?
I normally have a lot to say on the subject of happiness. But because I am sleepy right now, I just typed into my Google search bar “what is happiness?” Google came up with a lot of references, but right at the top was an article called “The Recipe For True Happiness”. I am so glad it did. What a brilliant article.
I guess the only reference it made to “chemicals flowing through the brain” was right at the very end when in a footnote it mentioned that researchers report “that positive, optimistic people have lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which is known to suppress the immune system“.
Prior to that, the article contained ingredients that are an essential part of the recipe for happiness. They included “work, play, time with family and friends, and spiritual activities [and] also more subtle factors, such as attitudes, desires, and goals in life“. The article contained wise advice regarding our view of money and pleasures, it discussed how generosity and gratitude can contribute to our happiness, and concluded by promoting unselfish love and hope.
For me personally, and I think that when it comes to our physical and emotional health, many of us are in a position where we can look at our own habits physically and emotionally and identify areas we could address, I think a good place to start is looking at our attitude to money, responsibility, relationships, giving, balance, and our outlook in general. I normally find that if I take some time to work on any of those ingredients in the recipe for happiness that I am missing, I normally do feel better.
When it comes to chemicals in our brain affecting our happiness…I am too tired for a comprehensive explanation, but I do think that people can suffer with emotional illness because factors that have led to (please forgive me if this is inaccurate terminology) “an imbalance in chemicals” within our brain. I work within the NHS and I am familiar with many patients who have prolonged mental health challenges and many of those patients benefit from medication.
I think that options when it comes to addressing chronic symptoms of depression or other emotional health challenges are personal and should be researched by an individual and their closest supporters, so I prefer not to endorse any particular treatments myself. Mainly because I do think we are all different, and what works for one person, may not work for another.
One thing I am sure of…we were meant to live a very different life to the life many of us live under a greedy political economic system that has an insatiable lust for profit no matter the cost. But this system is inadequate, which is why it is falling apart. No fear, what will replace it is going to be so much better.
I heard a song a little while ago that made me laugh. I laughed because the lyrics are pretty nuts!
Feel free to share some photos, an image, a meme, a story or incident or a poem that helps you feel grateful.
Family!!! I had such a great time with my nearest and dearest this past week.
I love being a part of an empire of around two hundred relatives, most of whom are passionate about volunteering. (Some of our family chose to pursue wealth and acclaim, but most of us rejected those empty pursuits). We work part-time for money and pull together when times are tough. We love life. We love work, especially unpaid work. We love creation. We love the prospect of a clean earth, a healthy happy human family who look after our beautiful planet and it’s creatures well.
One of the things I loved seeing is how my relatives are keeping in touch with their neighbours and other volunteers who are local to them through phone calls, emails and zoom meetings. They were in daily communication with volunteers who are in their seventies and eighties and have been making sure they have everything they need and a giggle each and every day.
I have a fascination with history. I am often astonished that so many nations committed wicked acts feeling vindicated. There is a lot of disgrace recorded in history books. But there have also been some true heroes. Such is the record of mankind, so many being swept up in their own interests, their own wealth, their own glory…and yet some living a life of true integrity and proving exemplary. I feel proud of those who have lived courageously, adhering to ways of goodness and peace.
I guess I was thinking of some of what I have been reading recently when I worked on my answers to this week’s SHARE YOUR WORLD questions from Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind. You can find Melanie’s questions in her post below:
How do you think you’ll die? IF you do think about it?
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Do I think about death? No. Death is not part of plans at all. I have seen death many times.
Working in with patients who were terminally ill for around eight years in total meant that I was sometimes with a patient, holding their hand as they took their last breaths. I always felt it was important to give them every care, every comfort, every dignity right to the last moment (and even after they had died). I guess I would hope that someone would be there to help me if an illness ever cut my light short while we are under human rulership which is unable to eliminate disease.
If I had to die, I would want it to be for right. What do I mean by that?
Years ago, I met an amazing German woman who had spent her youth in concentration camps before and during World War Two. But it was the story of two of her older brothers that astounded me. The family were not of Jewish ethnicity, they a typical German family and lived by their Christian faith. Although they paid their taxes and obeyed the law, they refused to use a common salute hailing Adolf Hitler as the source of salvation, because they viewed Christ as their Saviour. They also refused to join the German army. Why? Because they were determined to obey their Creator when a human rulership asked them to do something they knew was prohibited by their Creator.
Two of her older siblings were executed by Nazi soldiers for their stand. She still has the letters her brothers wrote before their deaths. These courageous young men were at peace. They were fully convinced that they were doing the right thing. They wrote wonderful letters empowering their family and all who would do what is right. I was deeply moved by their words. They were not alone when they died. I am sure they were being empowered by the Sovereign of the Universe.
They are still an inspiration to me when I think of their words. I am so impressed by those who have integrity like that. Around the earth today there are thousands suffering terrible conditions in prisons where they are incarcerated because as true Christians, they do not want to train to kill. When I learnt of their outstanding courage and faith, I was so proud that they are willing to take a stand for what is true and right and good.
People who are that strong that they will live by what they know is right, and even when threatened with death, courageously uphold what they know is right. They refuse violence…they are incredibly precious. I am sure their Creator must be deeply appreciative of their loyalty to Him. They are true heroes. I am sure their Creator longs for them to live again…just like Job, Abigail, Daniel, Hannah, Enoch, Abel, Ruth and many other men and women who made their Creator proud.
What’s the best online screen name you’ve seen? “Best might mean the oddest.
Online screen name? Is this the name of a blog? Or an actor’s pseudonym for the screen? I am sure there are plenty of odd screen names out there. I am just not sure that any unusual names have made an impression on my memory.
Hold on…doesn’t Elon Musk have a child with a weird name? Hardly a name at all, more life an algebra equation. But as long as that child receives love, protection and guidance…the algebra equation name is probably irrelevant.
What’s invisible that you wish people could see?
I guess 2020 has thrown up the wish to see harmful viruses and bacteria.
Before this year I would have said that I wish you could see emotional pain. Sometimes you can tell someone is hurting because they are in tears etc. But I am convinced that an enormous of amount of people live their life regularly putting a brave face on, hiding their pain. I have often wished I knew who was about to break, so that I could offer some kindness and support to them.
In fact, it became a theme of my Annabelle Riley three part series LEARNERS AT LOVE.
This is part of Chapter One from the second book “Where Is This Place They Calle “Home”?:
If you are sitting next to one of the small cabin windows on the Swiss Airlines flight from Chicago to Zurich, you’ll find the view either obscured by layers of thick white cloud, or on a clear day, miles of grey blue sea stretch out below. From a height of 35,000 feet the ocean below may seem calm and serene. However, a long-distance view can be deceptive. From so far away, we may fail to recognise that raging waves are crashing against each other as an angry wind whips up more turbulence.
How many of the people we pass each day are successful in maintaining a serene composure, whilst hiding raging emotions that surge within them? If we really knew the battles that others faced, the storms brewing in their lives and the secrets they are terrified to share, perhaps we would prefer to keep a safe distance.
My main character has been hiding her challenges, her emotions and her damaging behaviour. The secrecy she has tried to maintain, the pretending, the hiding, the fear of admitting her problems has caused her damage and strained her relationships with those closest to her. The books are partly about finally facing those challenges and mustering the courage to ask for help to deal with them. They are a lesson and an epic journey in life and in love.
It sometimes alarms me that there could be people walking past me who are crushed. They might be carrying huge burdens on their heart, scars from the abusive treatment they have faced, overwhelming anxiety. I just wish I could see who is deprived of love and kindness, respect and neglect, warmth and encouragement.
If over time you replace parts on a car, at what point does it stop being the same car you bought? How many parts do you need to replace to make it a new car?
I thought this question was familiar. Back in August 2019 I answered this question as follows:
Wow – I so don’t have any intelligent answer for this question.
I guess for it to be a 100% new car you would have to replace all of it’s parts at the same time, making it an entirely different car. Because if you were only replacing parts gradually, it would always be a mix of new and old.
How many parts are even in a car at all. I don’t know??? Hold on, I will ask Google. Google says there are an average of 1,800 parts in a car. Goodness, you learn something useless every day don’t you.