From The Eyes Of A Child

Children, Togo, Group, People, BlackSo this week, I started to think that it would be better if we were more like children. Children who trust those who are responsible to care for them. I am not sure why adults complicate things so much, bickering and questioning and grumbling.

I also had a wonderful reminder of how special people are. He sent me some videos from the area of Africa he is in at the moment. Jack is washing himself and his clothes with a bucket of water. But wow – the singing and the joy from the people he is working with, training them in skills that will benefit them and their communities for many years to come. When you watch videos of beautiful smiles they become infectious. I am so glad Jack is filming so much.

Something else that is cheering me up, is working on my SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post this week. The questions are of course from our fabulous Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind. Take a look at her original post below:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/04/13/share-your-world-4-13-2020/

QUESTIONS:

What do you do to get rid of stress? 

ewrhgiInstant fix for me is singing. I always knew that singing was good for me, but recently even more so. I especially find songs that are about gratitude help me. There is a line in a song that my friend’s daughter sings over and over that I often have in my mind often as I walk to work (not knowing what the day at work will involve). The line is “when each morning I wake, I remember to take, just a moment to thank Him for this day“.

I find the media would make me drown in stress if I did not severely limit how much I watch. I usually try to just watch some of the BBC Breakfast show because I think they do a great job of keeping their show balanced. But sometimes it means I am leaving my little nest with my heart gripped with worry. So…I start to sing. I love the effect it has on me. I can feel my face start to smile and my heart feels as if it is being healed of all soreness. By the time I reach work I am ready to face absolutely anything that comes.

Kids, Children, Face, Smile, ChildhoodI should explain, my friend is from mainland China. She is teaching her little children to know their Creator. The song was something I saw them singing and so I wanted to know if it is available in English. It turns out it is an international hit.

I was amazed to find an incredibly long list of languages it has been recorded in…including Welsh! I showed it to a Gujarati speaking colleague who started weeping because she thought it was so beautiful. I have to admit, I have been moved by some of the children’s songs I have discovered, teaching children about what life is really made of.

I also sent it to Jack, who was able to play it in one of the more than fourteen languages spoken in the area he is working. He played it to the children and a day later he send me a video of them singing it. Wonderful!

A long time before the current challenge the world is facing, I have learnt to accept that the injustices and suffering in the world are temporary. Death is temporary. They will be undone. Death will be undone. I often dwell on the joys ahead. The joys ahead help me cope with the stress of human independence now. I can’t wait to see a happy healthy human race, who live without fear of violence, disease or any other threat.

In the past people were buried with the items they would need in the afterlife, what would you want buried with you so you could use it in the afterlife?

ughjdsafI don’t believe that myself. But it has fascinated me to visit museums in different parts of the world and to see ancient burial sites unearthed revealing the belief that you could take things with you into an afterlife. In Sweden we saw evidence that people were buried with family, servants, horses and all manner of luxuries and practical objects like tools.

Our Creator has promised to restore life, not possessions, to those who have died. But there is a silly part of me that imagines being laid to rest with my private journals next to me. The only reason is to keep them private. All my silliness, all my worries and my dreams and wishes, laid to rest until the moment I wake up again.

I realized long ago that every thought, every feeling, every tear, every smile was observed by someone who loved me more than anyone else did. I am not afraid because I am sure that if I was to be in the grave for a while, I would be kept very safely within the memory of my Creator until it is time to wake me up.

I have always just hoped that if I went to sleep before the end of the corrupt system, my loved ones would know not to worry about me. I had one major near death experience the night I was attacked. I remember thinking how important it is to make sure the people in your life know how special they are to you. Let them know how very wonderful they are to you. Don’t leave them with any guilt or regrets. Confirm your love so that they remember you with great fondness.

What’s the opposite of a koala?

I don’t know. A pike perhaps?

Do I have to explain my answer?

Koalas live in Australia. So I was thinking of a creature that lives here in the UK. They may have pike in Australia – I should Google this really.

Koalas live in trees. I know because I saw them myself – so gorgeous! Pike live in the water.

Koalas are incredibly cute. Pike – not so cute, in fact they can be pretty aggressive.

Koalas eat eucalyptus leaves I believe. Pike eat mostly other fish, smaller fish or large fish and sometimes even other pike.

What’s the creepiest tech out there?  

uihvhI am not very ofay with tech to be honest. But some people have some kind of app that allows them to track someone else’s phone. I can see some advantages of this. Tracking your teenager might seem a sensible idea. But in other circumstances, I find it a bit creepy.

Aren’t there some weird apps that alter your appearance? I think some of them make you into a cat, others age you. I don’t know…the more I think of these weird apps, the more glad I feel that I don’t have a smartphone.

It does concern me that people can type your name into a Google search engine and find things about you. That’s the reason why I choose to maintain my anonymity. I don’t know what else I can do to eradicate the unkindness that spread years ago when Jack and I first came into contact and then when he moved into our apartment. He does not seem to think it is possible to eradicate all of the unkindness either. He has always said that people move on to someone else, they get bored, they forget what it was that interested them and who it was they were being unkind about.

I guess the point is…all these technical applications are tools, but when they fall into the hands of a creepy person, they become creepy and sinister.

GRATITUDE IS AN ATTITUDE

What method are you using to find your smile right now? 

esuthrdtFinding my smile? I look in the mirror and there it is! My whole face is a big smile because I have been smiling for a lifetime. Maybe it’s the deep joy and excitement about the future that no challenge can eradicate.

People. People make me smile. The people I love, my family and friends who are all being wonderful – and I mean by that, they are all being obedient and trusting of the direction for their protection. I sometimes wonder why so many people question so much that is done for their good. Well, it is either because they do not trust those making decisions or they think they are not being dignified with full accounts as to the entire decision making process. Neither are my family going to extremes. They are rational and content with what they have. But like beautiful children they are doing exactly what they were asked to do over a month ago – they are staying at home. The younger ones shop for the older ones. Family life (amongst my roughly 200 member family) is taking place over the phone and over the internet.

Hat, Fashion, Style, Happy, Man, HipsterThe guy who keeps on turning up at our practice (he has always been prone to anxiety and is a frequent visitor to our practice, but I am worried that his anxiety is climbing to new levels) who is covered in PPE beyond belief. I am not sure whether he is preparing to go deep sea diving or moon walking…but his PPE is a reflection of how scared he is of catching the …you know. Bless him – I always make sure I have a little chat with him. He has a place in my heart now – the little lamb!

I smile when I see other people smiling. I love to see people happy and healthy. It reminds me of what all this is about. We want people to be happy and healthy and safe. As another of the songs my friend’s daughter has shown me confirms – we are a world wide family and the more we love each other, the happier it will help us to be. We – the human family – we are beyond borders. Soon the whole earth will be united under one government that makes decisions that will help the earth and all of it’s inhabitants thrive!

Forever Learning About Love

Different Nationalities, Children, HumanI have tomorrow morning off work – which will be good for me. I might even go out for some government mandated exercise. Well…only if I wake early. I don’t want to end up out at a time lots of other people are out exercising.

I decided to open a bottle of rose that was in the back of the cupboard. I have diluted it with lemonade, which is quite nice actually, and I am going to sip it while I finish off this post, which I did start last Monday and have been working on little by little.

It is of course my SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post! The questions are from our lovely Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind. Find her original post and all the other bloggers who have shared their world with us in Melanie’s post below:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/04/06/share-your-world-4-6-2020/

Questions

If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make them?

I think that I am very fortunate to have had such excellent parents who helped us learn how to react to mistakes properly. I wrote about one of my memories in this post: Kid In The Kitchen

I remember very fondly how my parents trained us to understand what to do when we realized we had done something wrong. They were so gentle and so loving. They helped to develop our little consciences and shaped us to love doing what is good.

Archery, Hobby, Target, Woman, ArcheryWe all make mistakes regularly. We all miss the mark. We may have to tidy up any mess we cause and try not to make the same mistakes again. Often it is our internal conscience that alerts us to mistakes. None of us like the feeling of having erred.

Some people struggle though. They suffer extremes of guilt for even minor mistakes. Sadly, that is sometimes because people did not have loving parents or teachers who helped us to respond in a balanced way to mistakes. On the other hand, there are those who seem to feel no remorse and whose conscience seems to have become callous.

A balanced view…of ourselves, of mistakes, of others and their mistakes, is a great asset. We are always learning!

How do we know that pleasure is good and pain is bad?

I am guessing we are talking about physical sensations of pleasure and pain?

Montana, Sunset, Dusk, Sky, CloudsWe are material beings. We have been designed in such a way to gain pleasure from our senses. We were designed to enjoy pleasure.

Our sight perceives great beauty in the colours and spectacular nature that makes up our home.

Our sense of hearing derives pleasure in the trickle of a brook, in birdsong and in the laughter if a child.

Lavender Field, Flowers, Purple, FloraOur sense of touch derives enormous pleasure from a snuggly blanket, a cool breeze on a hot day, and from sex.

Our senses of smell and taste relish the delights of freshly made bread, floral scents and sweet caramel.

Pain is often an effective alert that something is wrong. We all know physical pain if we touch something hot, or try to lift something heavy.

We also know emotional pain when we do something hurtful and feel bad inside. Reacting to that pain and addressing the situation helps us to avoid a harmful situation again. We learn from pain.

What problem or situation did TV / movies make you think would be common, but when you grew up you found out it wasn’t?

I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. What did I think was common as a child and later on realized wasn’t? I can’t think.

Fire, Explosion, Danger, Hot, FlameHere is something from real life that was common in the town I grew up in. Every primary school in our town was set fire to by kids. The school I went to was completely destroyed. The same year another school was completely destroyed. We had to be transported on hired buses across town to large high schools with spare classrooms. Three other schools were partially destroyed.

When I grew up I realized that for a town to have a flurry of arson like that, where every primary school is vandalised by pyromaniac children, probably resentful of teachers who had given them too many detentions, was not normal! My learning experience was highly discombobulated by our school being burnt down! Still ended up with top grades though, so it could not have been that bad!

If you drive, do you speed when no one is watching?  Have you ever run a red light late at night on purpose, particularly if it doesn’t seem to change very quickly?  If you don’t drive, what minor law may you have broken?

Beautiful, Car, Driver, Face, FashionI do have a driving license. I used to drive a lot. But I have not been behind the wheel of a car since I received severe head injuries the night I was attacked.

But I was a careful driver. I love life. I felt the responsibility of driving. You have life and death in your hands. I do remember accidentally driving through a red light at around four o’clock in the morning in Liverpool. It frightened me and made me realize how risky it was to be driving when I was not yet fully alert. That was a mistake I never wanted to repeat.

psdfafdHave I broken any minor laws? Not deliberately.

Although…there may have been an occasion when I got a bit overly affectionate with Goldfinch in the woods. Well…the thing is…no, I better not start that sentence because there is no way I am going to be able to finish it!

I’m not going to say a word more about that though! I have learnt from that mistake!

Gratitude

What positive things are you finding to do to occupy your time right now?

aoisdfIt is work that is occupying most of my time at the moment. But that is a positive. I am part of the National Health Service. That makes me feel purposeful.

When I am off work, I take great pleasure in cleaning my lovely little nest. I also love talking with friends and family. It feels good that we are all looking after each other.

The only thing I wish I had more time for is my third book. I would love to have it all finished and published. Just over 80% is complete, but I have lots of ideas that I want to add. I have even been trying to develop ideas for the front cover. It’s something I am very eager to find time for.

iadhfais

I have been editing and updating my first two parts. I am becoming rather the perfectionist about it all. I might drive myself crazy spotting spelling and grammar mistakes!

 

Oh But We Still Have Strawberries And Cream!

Wimbledon, Final, Tennis, Centre CourtI had a sudden thought today…maybe there will be no GREAT BRITISH BAKE-OFF this year. I did say maybe…I have no idea what will happen. The Olympics have been postponed, Wimbledon Tennis Championships have been cancelled and I have no idea what is going to happen with football, but everyone knew Liverpool were going to win – hey!

Moving on…before any supporters of other football clubs take issue with my last statement…this is my SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post. Right now my world is mainly playing out at work (#I ❤ NHS). But there are other things I can tell you about. Thank you to Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, for providing great questions. This is Melanie’s original post:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/03/30/share-your-world-03-30-2020/

QUESTIONS

Pancakes, waffles or French Toast as your breakfast favorite? 

Waffle, Tea Time, Dessert, WaffleOooooh – right now I am thinking waffles. Yeah, right now I would pick waffles. Smothered with some luscious topping – we could put strawberries and cream all over a waffle – whether we have tennis to watch or not! Ooooh yummy! The problem with me is that I just love variety. I have very few favourites. I would get bored too easily with a favourite. If I have waffles today, I would would not want them tomorrow.

If Jack was here, I would say pancakes. He loves trying to make pancakes for our breakfast.

But I have not had French toast for ages. It sounds very appealing. Maybe I will cancel the waffles and go for French toast instead.

asaussaI prefer a savoury breakfast to a sweet though, to be honest. I had a yummy breakfast today. I did not think I was having enough protein in my diet recently. So I decided to make some scrambled eggs. I had them with an onion and chive bagel with sundried tomatoes. It was delicious.

I don’t usually buy bagels. They are an occasional treat. But I have been working so many hours, doing my bit for the NHS, that when I saw a pack of bagels left on the shelf at the supermarket, I thought it was perfectly appropriate to treat myself.

My advice for you is, during this time of stress and worry, treats are not a bad idea. Especially little treats. Little inexpensive treats. They brighten the day and lighten the load. This situation is feeling like a marathon stretching ahead of us. So let yourself have little treats and highlights to cheer yourself during these tough times.

I decided I would take a photo of my breakfast for you. It tasted much better than it looked!

IMG_20200402_080321

Do you think a person’s name influences the person they become?

Maybe. I think my name may have influenced me in some ways. I didn’t always like my name, but now I do. I think it has a pleasant connotation.

Would things get better or worse if humans focused on what was going well rather than what’s going wrong?

Glass, Water, Reflex, Reflection, DrinkWhat are the “things” we are talking about? People everywhere have a slightly different outlook. There are the glass half full and the glass half empty types. Some see the positives, some see the negatives. Some see problems, others see solutions. Some see a crisis, others see an opportunity. Personally I am a bit wary of anyone who is extreme in their thinking either way.

posaiaPeople who will insist everything is great make me think they are delusional, whereas those who only see doom and gloom are exhausting. I prefer someone who keeps a balanced perspective. Someone who sees the end goal, but is able to recognise challenges and think about how to adjust or deal with them effectively, so they can continue towards that goal.

I have so many thoughts on this, I don’t know which direction to go in. But at the end of the day, no matter what any of us individually think of something, our own perspective may be limited. Once all aspects of something are manifest, a more accurate judgment can be called.

Is math(s) something that humans created or something we discovered? Is looking at reality mathematically an accurate representation of how things work?

Hmm. I am not sure I understand the second question entirely.

My first thought when I read this question was the Periodic Table of Elements. What we have discovered about the mathematical laws in the building blocks of every substance known to us is quite breathtaking. The order and precision are humbling.

Periodic System, Chemistry, Science

Mankind has remarkable capacities for learning. Humans have remarkable potential when it comes to researching, discovering, contemplating, comprehending and being inspired by the natural world around us. It is no accident. Creation is no accident. The more we learn about creation the more we learn about our Creator. Our magnificent Creator – who will soon undo all of the damage caused by human independance, including death.


GRATITUDE

What are you grateful for right now?

I read this question and my mind flooded with lots of things. So I am going to give you a little list of things I am grateful for:

  • awaoawIt’s a fifteen minute walk to work!
  • Blue skies
  • My parents trained me to work hard
  • I have wonderful colleagues who are working very hard and very long hours at this time
  • My manager is a great trainer
  • I have very comfortable work shoes
  • We have plenty of PPE where I work
  • There are lots of volunteers who want to help the most vulnerable in our community
  • There are the prettiest tulips growing in the garden
  • Masterchef
  • Singing
  • I found toilet rolls back on the supermarket shelves this week
  • jdsodscThe older members of my family and those with chronic conditions that make them vulnerable are all obediently self-isolating. They are taking the direction very seriously
  • The younger members of my family are doing a great job of cheering us up with their videos
  • My bed is really comfy
  • My legs are very strong
  • The bakery at the end of the road reserve a dark sourdough loaf for me every weekend
  • I have a wonderful hope for the future – that life will be restored to all those who have gone to sleep. It helps me know that all of the precious members of the human family who are suffering are going to be safe in the memory of our heavenly father. He is longing to heal this earth and wipe the tears from our eyes. The future resurrection will be the most wonderful era in all human history.  – “I have hope toward God…that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous. – ACTS 24:15

areadasf

Blessings, Braces And Boxes

balsoaI had a burst of energy when I came home from work on Saturday. So I used it to do some housework, send some emails and work on a few posts to be published during the course of next week. I was disappointed that I didn’t find time to work on last week’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD questions, but I am pleased that this post is all ready and just in the nick of time!

These were the questions that fabulous Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, gave to us in this week’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD, and this is her original post where you can find all the other bloggers who have taken part:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/03/23/share-your-world-3-23-2020/

Questions

On A Scale Of 1-10, How Strict Were Your Parents?

I would not use the word strict about my parents. However, they did provide what I would describe as training and a wonderful example for us.

Adult, Mother, Daughter, Beach, KidsMy parents were great. They are great. If they were strict we did not know it. They trained us, they spent time with us. We learnt from them, we copied them. They not only gave us advice and guidance, they lived in such a way that we would want to do what pleased them. They were and are lovely. I think some people misinterpret the word “discipline”. Discipline should not be about punishment. It is about training and educating, shaping someone and preparing them for life. My parents prepared us for the day when we would have to make our own choices that we would be accountable for. They provided the best possible start in life for us.

They are brilliant company. People in our town loved them because they helped others. They trained us to do the same. I don’t remember being fearful of them. There was a lot of love and kindness at home for most of my childhood. I love the memories I have of being trained in household chores. If you did a job well, the reward was praise and you were entrusted with more responsibility (ie more important work) and then pocket money.

momesI do remember occasionally being told off for being naughty, but it usually came with questions from my parents about why I had done something and then they would reason with me about why it was wrong and why I should not do it again. They made it clear that I could choose how to behave, that I could control my behavior. They showed me that we choose who we are. They showed me how to react to mistakes and weaknesses and how to become a stronger and better person. I still remember how they shaped my thinking with beautiful reasoning that touched my heart and made me want to be a nice person.

I think the main reason we would be in trouble as children was for squabbling with our siblings. My dominant impression of my childhood is that my parents allowed us to be children. They helped us feel valued and useful. Rather than praising us for high grades in school work, they praised us for acts of kindness and generosity. They gently encouraged us to blossom, rather than putting pressure on us. They set the example. We saw them reading and studying, we did the same. Any kind of recreation or entertainment was a family event, so they knew what was going into our minds. They wanted to nurture good in us and protect us from harm.

assoaLife was never about what we could not do. It was about what we could do. They filled our time (outside of school) with ways we could show kindness to our neighbours or others in our town who might be lonely or struggling. They also made plenty of time to play with us. They encouraged us to be active (we swam for many hours a week and we only gave up the local swimming club when our trainers there were putting pressure on us to be more competitive as we did not want to be competitive) and Dad taught us to climb trees and took us jogging and played sports with us. Mum is more of a walker than a sportsperson. But she also loved taking us outdoors. We would often go for rambles and picnics with mum.

My parents had seven children to rear on a very low income but they made plenty of time for volunteering with local charities. That made a huge impression on me. I saw what real joy involved. My parents beaming smiles are an inspiration. They are a very hard working couple who care about others. They are kind, generous, modest, sweet, mild, humble and joyful. They are outstandingly reliable and faithful. I am very blessed to be the child of a wonderful couple.

Girl, Teenager, Young, Beautiful, TeenAll of us children had a grumpy teenager moment (except beautiful Milly). My parents must have found it difficult when we no longer wanted to communicate with them. But they never gave up. They could guess some of what was going on in our minds and hearts and they carefully appealed to us.

When I was fourteen I started working for a record company and going to live music events in Manchester and all over the North of England. I learnt for myself in my teenage years that everything my parents had taught me was true. That filled me with respect for them. They told us the truth. Their training and guidance was in my heart and it empowered me to reject what I could see was harmful and turn my back on people who had chosen degraded practices.

I made my own choice. I wanted to be like my wonderful parents.

 

What Wastes The Most Time In Your Day To Day Life?

I try not to waste time. I am a big believer that you ought to make the most of each day and show your appreciation for life.

But having said that, there are things I do that are more important that others. I prioritise on the more important things. The lesser things I still manage to make time for and I enjoy them. I don’t consider those lesser things as a waste of time.

You probably have seen one of those pictures showing that if you put the big things in first, then you can often add lots of other smaller things around them. But if you concentrate on all the smaller things, it is less likely you will have room for the big things.

What am I trying to say? I guess that time management and learning to prioritise are very useful skills. Some people pack an extraordinary amount into each day because they know how to make the most of every minute. They often have time for work, play and rest and still manage to keep in touch with friends and family and enjoy relationships.

The only things that waste time are those that are harmful and reckless. They waste other people’s time too. I can’t abide the idiots who make prank calls to emergency services.

Do They Bury People With Their Braces* On?

oarhsaI have no idea.

I have been with a number of people when they died. After the Doctor came and issued a death certificate, we would do a number of things before the undertakers would arrive. As many of them were older, we usually put their dentures back in. I don’t know why exactly. We usually washed our patients and put them in a clean nightdress (or another article of clothing they had chosen) and brushed their hair neatly. Then the undertakers would take them away. I always presumed they didn’t make any additional changes after what we had done.

Why Does A Round Pizza Come In A Square Box?

Session, Pizza Shop, AcusticoI have had as many square slices of pizza in my life (when you live and work with 800 people everything is done large scale) as slices from a round pizza.

Is this question a joke? Or a serious question? It reminds me of that expression I heard when growing up…”for being obedient people might call you a square, but if you are obedient you are going to be a-round for much longer than they are”.

Pizza – round. Box – square. Why? Because it is cheaper to make square cardboard boxes? Is that a sensible answer? Packaging design is not something I give enormous thought to I will admit.

Cue the Pizza Hut song!

 

Gratitude  

Share something you are grateful for right now

llkaunxaI am grateful for my lunch tote, my thermos flask and my water bottle.

I started using them just over four weeks ago. I could see what was developing in other countries and I so I decided to stop using public transport completely. I also stopped using the kettle and microwave at work or going out to buy lunch.

Every night I come home from work and make my sandwiches for the next day. In the morning, I fill up my water bottle and then make some fresh tea or coffee for my thermos flask.

They have been very helpful in helping me stay in a little protected bubble so I could be fit and strong for work.

You should see me on my way to walk, swinging my little lunch tote and singing to myself to cheer myself up before the demanding day ahead.

 

Protecting The Precious

My parents are in their seventies. Jack’s parents are in their eighties. Goldfinch’s parents are in their nineties. We are going to do everything we can to protect them and support them and love them. They are precious to us! This weekend is all about Jack’s parents. I am hoping it all goes well. I really want it to go well.

Although I am absent again for another weekend, I have been working little by little on my SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post and I am pleased to be able to schedule it to be published during my weekend.

The SHARE-YOUR WORLD questions are provided by wonderful Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, and this is her post for this week:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/03/09/share-your-world-3-9-2020/

Questions

Are you a sweet, sour, tangy or other type of person?  Take that as you will!

carmaI think if you ask anyone who knows me, they are going to say sweet. Afterall…I am Caramel!

My mum is very sweet. She is so very very sweet. She loves people. I think I have inherited her sweetness and love for people.

I love people. I love people. Some might see harsh, rude, ignorant, selfish…I see neglected, unloved, lost and lonely. All I want is for people who have suffered to be loved the way they ought to be. I want people to thrive. I want them to learn how wonderful life should be, how wonderful our planet home should be and what they need to do to contribute to that.

happinessIf you dig deeper and deeper into Caramel what you will find is a hope for the entire universe to be at peace and all to thrive on love and joy. I have all sorts of quirks and oddities, my strengths and my weaknesses, the things I am proud of and those I am ashamed of, the lovely parts of me, the naughty parts of me. But at the end of the day, I want very wonderful things for the entire human race – don’t you!

Does the whole coronavirus phenomenon worry you?  Or are you more a “meh – it’s just another severe flu scare” type of person?

Hmm. That’s a good question. It’s an important question.

From what we know of the virus so far, I personally have little to fear if I was infected myself. Someone of my age can expect a relatively mild illness that lasts for around a week or so.

However, I have grave fear for the wonderful vintage generation. Those who have inspired and encouraged us and been there for us when we needed them – well they are at great risk.

I am concerned because although I have seen some people panicking, I have also heard others make remarks that indicate they don’t think it’s a big deal. I was talking to a man in his seventies today. He said he is self-employed and there is no way he is able to give up work. He also said he would not want to be told he could not see his grandkids. He is worried about his holiday in May. He does not want to be told that he can’t go by the government. I came away from that conversation wondering whether he gets what is happening, what is about to happen.

We are being asked to take very seriously the advice on handwashing regularly and thoroughly. Currently here in the UK, we are being asked to strictly self-isolate if we have a fever or a cough. It seems very likely that during the weeks and months ahead we will be asked to take further measures. It may well be particularly our older generation who are asked to self-isolate. We are mindful that this could be very challenging for their emotional health. We are being asked to think of everything we can to cheer them up and make them know how much we love them, how precious they are to us.

There is great concern for our older generation. They will be worst hit. We want to try as much as possible to reduce the peak of the outbreak, “flatten the curve”, delay the spread (it will spread, but we want it to spread slowly rather than rapidly). Why? Because many of our most vulnerable will need intensive or extensive hospital care. We want to make sure that care provisions are available.

This is not a time for panic. It is not a time to horde toilet rolls. But it is a time to listen and obey. It is very important to be unselfish. It might be inconvenient, there may well be financial losses, but we are all much more concerned with the loss of life ahead. Some of the most wonderful people we know, people who have worked hard for decades, reared families, been steady and reliable, generous and hospitable, shrewd and practical – so many of that special generation who saw things like the second world war, rationing, and many challenges and changes – we now want to protect them as best as we possibly can.

They are a wonderful and priceless asset to us. Even before the weeks and months ahead, I am already sensing the sadness and grief to come. Your older family members or neighbours are at great risk. So please please please take this seriously. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly. If you have a fever or a cough please please please self isolate.

When was the last time you were snooping, and found something you wish you hadn’t?

Snooping! Me! Never!

Well…I was not deliberately snooping. I was helping a friend to move some furniture around their office. I was with them the whole time moving things as per their directions. They asked me to open a drawer to look for something. This friend had obviously forgotten that they had hid some slightly embarrassing material in that drawer. It was a photo of a woman’s derriere from a particular angle.

As soon as my friend saw my face, he jumped across the room to close the drawer! He was obviously embarrassed. I tried not to make too big a deal of it. Although I was shocked to see the photo myself, it did not surprise me that he had images that I guess would fall under the category of pornography. He is a guy who likes women (note I deliberately used the plural). By the looks of things, he likes a nice round derriere.

But it was his office, his desk…none of my business.  Still I laughed.

What’s the most pleasant sounding accent in your personal opinion? Everyone has a pleasing accent to someone!

Ooooh…I do love an Australian accent nowadays.

I have some colleagues who are French. I love to listen to them chatter away. Their conversations sound so beautiful. I often have no idea what they are talking about – it could be the price of bread for all I know. But it sounds poetic and romantic and sigh…just lovely.


Gratitude

Your chance to share your joy!

Joy…My joy! Ahhhhhh! Life on planet earth!

I see the earth thriving, and all it’s creatures thriving. I see war, crime, disease and death as long forgotten. I see all the damage done since Adam’s choosing independence from our Creator being undone.

My hope and joy is anchored on the Creator, the giver of life. He alone can undo the damage. He alone can restore life to those who have lost iit unjustly. He alone can wipe our tears and heal our hearts.

There is nothing, nothing, that he cannot undo.

Lighter And Brighter

londsprIt’s getting lighter each day. Despite the grey rainy days, I have noticed the days are getting longer. Today is looking delightful, and I suspect I know the reason why.

On this glorious day of Jack’s return, I am trying to make the time go faster by doing finding little tasks around my flat and adding to some of the unfinished posts in my drafts folder, There are a couple of award posts taking me ages to complete. But they will be finished eventually – little by little.

But my SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post for this week has been much quicker to finish. Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, has given us some light bright lovely questions this week, as you can see from her original SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post below:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/03/02/share-your-world-3-2-2020/

QUESTIONS

Can you bake a cake?

If I have a recipe in front of me, then yes, absolutely – I CAN BAKE! Without a recipe, I would not know where to begin. My brain does not retain baking instructions. I just read and obey baking recipes and it almost always works out a treat!

Here were the cakes I made last year for THE 2019 GREAT BLOGGERS’ BAKE-OFF!!!

What’s one thing that can instantly make your day better?

My sister Milly calling me. Any of my family calling me really. But I am especially close to Milly.

There are lots of things that can make the day better – from blue skies, to people’s smiles, flowers in bloom, the smell of the local artisan bakeries. There are so many little lovely nuggets of delight everywhere I go.

When you were a kid, did you eat the crusts on your sandwich or not?

saI think I did actually. I also remember going off white bread at a very early age and preferring wholemeal. My parents told us to eat up every crumb.

We were very active children. Most children are active I suppose, but I think we were especially active. Three times a week we would go straight from school to the local swimming baths. We would be there for anywhere between four to six hours swimming up and down, up and down. We climbed trees, we  played football and all sorts of other energetic activities. We needed our food to keep us running round like that.

memsoOne of my favourite memories from childhood is when Mum would take us on impromptu picnics in the summer. She was studying for her Open University degree in psychology. In the summer she would make jam sandwiches and pack a big carton of milk into cooler. Then Mum, Mandy, Milly and me would head up to the county park behind out house. She would find somewhere to lay her picnic blanket so that she could study in the sunshine, while us three girls were climbing trees and playing Hide and Seek. Happy memories. I don’t remember any of us being fussy about crusts.

Memories! I want picnics with Jack to build happy memories!

What’s something your family would be surprised to learn about you?

I can’t think of much that my family don’t know about me. I don’t have an answer really. Am I supposed to be springing surprises on my family?


GRATITUDE IS AN ATTITUDE!

Please feel free to share some gratitude from this past week!

llosprriThe thing I am most grateful for at the moment, is that Jack is back with me in London! I have missed him so much!

It felt as if to welcome Jack back to England, the rain stopped, the sun came out and the sky turned a beautiful blue! Jack is back…the world is a happier place for it!

Jack and Caramel…happy times ahead! He will be next to me again tonight.

 

In The Dark

I am late again! So much to do, so little time! I don’t like to miss the weekly SHARE-TOUR-WORLD questions provided by Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind. This is her original SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/02/24/share-your-world-2-24-2020/

Questions

What do you think of best friends of the opposite sex?  Or to put it another way “Can men and women ever be platonic friends?  Doesn’t sex always get in the way?”  

platonicI don’t want to be dogmatic about a question like this. But a lot of the relationships I have had with men have ended up with one or the other of us developing a crush on the other at some point. If the feelings are not reciprocated, then sometimes it’s been no big deal, other times it has become awkward.

I have lots of friends who are of the opposite sex. But best friends? If I was so close to a man to call him my best friend. I think there would be an attraction there. Touch…you know hugs and sitting close together and hands…it can so easily lead into more. Before you know it…I fear we’d be at it like rabbits!

What is the greatest struggle you’ve overcome?

Some of you might recall that for over eighteen months this blog was called CRUSHED CARAMEL. I changed it just a couple of months ago because a situation that had crushed me was resolved to a large extent.

gosI faced a situation that was new to me. I didn’t face bullying at school. I was on the school sports teams and in Set One for everything. I had lots of friends. But I was just over thirty when I started to be the target of what I can only describe as teasing that developed into something very malicious. It started because of Jack taking an interest in me. At first it was just teasing from people that knew us.

That teasing advanced though. As it spread, it warped into something very different from teasing. I was called so many cruel names. I was called a tart, a slapper, a slut, a slag, a whore, a witch and other names. In addition I was called miserable, ugly, fat and grotesque. People claimed all sorts about the relationship between Jack and I, especially after he moved into the huge flat I was living in (six of us shared an enormous flat. We had our own rooms and bathrooms but shared a massive kitchen dining area.

cruThe worst of the comments came from strangers in their comments on social media. Social media is not my world, but friends showed me what was being said about me. I became upset and I made a hash of addressing the issue with Jack. I was too emotional. He wanted me to ignore what was being said. But I found it hard to.

Looking back the worst comments came from strangers. But people I saw every day, friends and colleagues were teasing me. Most of the teasing from those I knew was fairly innocent, it was more along the lines of Jack and I being a couple (even though we weren’t) but some of it was becoming outrageous. The people who were allowing their humour to become more and more shocking were laughing, and I think they thought I was laughing along with them.

annie disappointedThe truth is, I found it hard to separate the outrageous teasing from my friends from the vicious insults that came from strangers. It was two years of not being able to go anywhere without someone mentioning Jack and I. (He and I were not even on speaking terms.) It seemed to be an inescapable situation.

Over those two years of nastiness, my self esteem eroded, my relationships with friends suffered as I started to resent the comments they were making about Jack and I. I kept on pushing myself, I was working at least 40 hours a week as an international volunteer. I was pushing myself to socialize with people, even though I didn’t feel like it. I was also swimming twice a week, running for around fifteen miles a week (three or four times a week I would run), playing basketball and going to a boot camp. I was hardly eating. I hated the photos other people had taken of me without my permission and posted on social media.

By the end of those two years, I was battling despair. I thought Jack hated me. I had no idea who was my friend, who I could trust. I hid the situation from my family because I did not want them to know how much I was suffering. One night just after my birthday, I felt that I could not go home. I had seen Jack four times that day, and I could not bear to see him again, it hurt so much. Instead I went to a park and sat on a bench and cried.

distressedWhen I arrived it was light (it was the end of June, when the days are longest), but I sat there lost in my sadness until it was dark and there was nobody around me. At some stage a man sat next to me on that bench. Anyway…I don’t feel like writing about what happened, but the next morning a security guard found me unconscious and my head bloody.

So, my answer to this question is…all of this was a struggle to overcome. It took some time to rebuild Melody Finch. But look at the outcome…Jack and I have ended up in love! Who would have thought!!!

What is the darkest thought you’ve ever had? What about the darkest thing you’ve done that you’ve never told anybody about? 

illDarkest thought? I don’t really know. I think my thoughts had been darkening during those two years I mentioned above. I had come to feel I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up ever again. But perhaps it was worse when I was in a hospital bed a couple of days after I was attacked (a security guard found me in the bushes and called an ambulance) and feeling desperately sad. I felt very alone.

Throughout the previous two years, I had kept going despite the cruel things said about me. I kept giving, I kept on pushing myself. But I remember when I was in hospital thinking to myself that there was nothing left to give. I felt completely hollowed out.

loneThe two years of bullying I had endured before the night I was attacked had fractured so many relationships with people around me in London. My thoughts had gradually darkened and it had insidiously pushed me more and more into a state of emotional isolation from people I knew. Constantly putting a brave face on and pretending I was happy, when the truth was that I was crushed by the cruelty.

So at first, I did not know who to call. I didn’t want to be a burden to my family. I knew they would be devastated by what had happened. But I remember a passage from Psalm 139 came into my mind. Memory is a funny thing isn’t it? But at that moment, I could recite every word from Psalm 139, including the verse:

Even the darkness would not be too dark for you,

But night would be as bright as the day;

Darkness is the same as light to you.

daI remembered a friend of mine explaining that we might feel trapped in a state of mental darkness, unable to see any bright future, swamped by gloomy thoughts. That kind of darkness can be a scary place. But our Creator can see our situation as clear as day. he knows exactly what it will take to help us to recover.

Those words brought me enormous strength when I needed it. I realized that my sister Mandy was the person to call. I was sure she would be less emotional than the rest of my family and that she was very practical. That’s what I needed right then.

What is your least favorite food?

broaBroad beans. I have been vegetarian since I was six years old, but the one vegetable/legume I cannot get on with is (or should that be “are”?) broad beans!

Other than that, I don’t really have any strong dislikes. I love variety. I won’t eat anything that used to have a face…and I try to avoid broad beans wherever I can. I love trying new flavours.


Gratitude

Share a thought, write a story or poem or share a meme about gratitude.  If you’d like to.  As with the other questions, this is optional.  

I wanted to share this for a little while. I have a postcard perched on to of the alarm pad next to my front door. I look at it almost every day. It is a lovely thought to leave the house with. I never know what the world is throw at me. But, I am ready for it.

I am not a fan of cheesy quotes…but I love this one, and the way it lifts my spirits everytime I leave my little nest.

IMG_20200301_185244

 

Gold Stars, Super Stars, Seeing Stars

heasIt’s a very late entry from me for this week’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD. This week has been tough. Nothing out of the ordinary – just working too many hours and suffering blinding headaches! But, I keep on telling myself to keep going and if things don’t look as if they weill change – I will give my notice in and find more suitable paid work.

It is always a pleasure to answer the SHARE-YOUR-WORLD questions provided by Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind, and although late, I hope my post was worth the wait!

This is Melanie’s original SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/02/17/share-your-world-2-17-2020/

QUESTIONS:

How can someone win a gold star (i.e. win your approval and/or admiration) with you?

Ooooh, great question!

Woman, Old, Senior, Female, ElderlyI guess be human. What I mean by that is I feel drawn to people who are not afraid to admit their weaknesses. I find it endearing. Of course I am drawn to beautiful qualities like kindness and industriousness. There are many people I admire. But of all the wonderful qualities I am drawn to is HUMILITY.

There are some amazing people on this planet, and most of them are packaged in an ordinary exterior that you might easily walk past without realizing how extraordinary they are.

My best friends are those who had struggles and won my admiration by the way they battled with challenges. They found a lifelong place in my heart.

If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?

tearDance! Dance like a superstar! Well, that is the at the top of my list. I would love to have more time to kick my shoes off and dance to my favourite tunes. I manage my time well. I am able to keep on top of work, studying, housework, keeping in touch with friends and family and lots of other important aspects of my life.

If there was a bit more time in the day, I would like to do some of the things I enjoy for pure fun.

There are a lot of things I would love to do if I had more time. But I will have more time! A lot more time. So I am content that right now, I have to give attention to the more important things and make the most of my spare time.

Do you have a favorite type of exercise?

walskSince my head injuries, walking is the best form of exercise for me. I have to be careful with more strenuous exercise. When I have tried running I have blacked out several times. It’s not good. I even have to be careful dancing – yeah, it sucks! Too vigorous and I will be on the floor seeing stars!

Before I was attacked, I ran a lot, an average of fifteen miles every week. I loved basketball which I played every Friday. I also went to a boot camp every Thursday, which was awesome.

I am also a lifelong swimmer. But after a couple of scary experiences (after my head injuries) I need to go swimming with a friend.

Do you sleep with a top sheet? Why or why not?

I do. I think it’s just the habit of a lifetime.

I love making my bed look lovely! Making the bed look pristine and inviting has been an art I enjoyed since I was in my late teens. In my school days, I would not have cared at all.

In the past I had a top sheet and several blankets. I think many people would wash their sheets, pillow cases, and duvet covers once a week. If you used woolen blankets, they would be washed less frequently.

Anyway, now I have a duvet, which is snuggly warm. I have a summer duvet and a winter duvet. Twice a year they have a trip to the laundrette to be washed and tumble dried. I guess the idea of a top sheet is that it is another layer between you and an item of bedding that is not washed as frequently.

This is the official song of bed making apparently:

This is your space to write about anything you’d like

What? Anything? Ooooooh…what do I want to write about? How about Part Two of my LEARNERS AT LOVE Series?

Surprise surprise! WHERE IS THIS PLACE THEY CALL “HOME”? in Kindle format is on Amazon right now! The paperback is on it’s way!

Life’s Little Pleasures

blaWell…it’s Wednesday. All the days seem to be blurring into one giant conveyor belt of work, work, work and very little play at the moment. I went through a minute wobble yesterday at work, where I thought I was going to burst into tears and cry “I can’t do this anymore!” However, then my manager arrived, and I witnessed her have a horrendous afterternoon and still hold herself together. That made me feel better. Aaaaah! Sigh. Most of patients are great, but occasionally we receive abuse extraordinaire!!!

To cheer myself up, I came home and worked on my SHARE-YOUR-WORLD post. Writing is one of life’s pleasures. I am sure you know that these questions are provided by Melanie, the creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind. This is Melanie’s original post below:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/02/10/share-your-world-2-10-2020/

Questions

Do you snore?  How do you know it, if you do?

snoI don’t think I am a regular snorer, because nobody has ever mentioned it.

But I am sure that when I have a cold and my nose is all bunged up I have snored. I am sure I have woken myself up with my blocked nose snoring.

I think I have always been on my back when I have been aware of stuffy blocked up nose snoring. Usually I would roll back onto my side and breathe in some olbas oil to try to decongest my nasal passages.

What do you find funny? 

I grew up in Liverpool. Teasing seemed to be a part of daily life. Honestly, I liked that. We laughed at ourselves, we laughed at each other. It’s harder to enjoy nowadays because not everyone likes that mild sarcasm. But it’s still a very dominant aspect of the humour within our family.

comI also sort of find it funny when someone does that fake boasting/showing off thing. For example, a colleague was talking the other day about how she has had to recognise her stress limits. She said that she has come to realize she is not Superwoman. To which I immediately replied, “You can’t be Superwoman because I am.”

Or if someone pays me a compliment (I always feel a little bit cringey when I receive praise), I have a habit of saying, “Well, my father has been telling me I’ perfect for years, and I used to think that’s just Dad being biased. But when other people tell me the same, I start to think maybe I am pretty amazing afterall!” Hee hee! The look on people’s faces!!

I like that kind of exaggerated statement kind of humour. Especially when someone is dramatic along with it. I love physical comedy and impersonations (so long as they are not cruel.)

What was the last furry thing you touched?

coaSome of my friends have pets, but I have been busy these past few weeks, so have not seen many of them. Other than some friends of mine who have dogs (I went up to Hampstead for the day and we walked their dogs), I think the last thing I touched that was furry was the faux fur trim on Jack’s parker. He has an expensive coat, with a big hood. It is useful for him to have a big hood sometimes.

It gets a bit old when strangers recognise him and want to chat to him. One or two in an afternoon is alright. But I think two interruptions to our time together is my limit. After that I appreciate if Jack and I can just be left alone.

How do you handcuff a one-armed man?

I guess you would handcuff them to something or someone else. I don’t know. I have never thought about it. Hopefully this hypothetical man will have enough sense not to get arrested, and not to need handcuffing!


Gratitude

This week I challenge you to list five things you’re grateful for.   

annie asleep swissFive things…I could easily give you five things. There are so many things I am grateful for! But thinking back to this past week:

  • I am grateful for sleep. I have been working so many long hours. I just love slipping into bed and drifting away into unconsciousness.
  • I am grateful for my colleagues. They all work very hard. We are very short-staffed, and it is tiring. But seeing how hard the whole team works does help me to endure. If people were messing around and wasting time, it would be harder.
  • Marks And Spencers Food Hall. I keep nipping in after a long day at work. I have had some lovely M&S food this past month.
  • I am grateful that even though he is away, Jack keeps in contact every day. He is a keeper!
  • I am very grateful for all the wonderful support and encouragement from other bloggers and writers on WordPress. I am grateful to all those who host prompts and challenges, which have helped me to find my own style of writing. This past weekend, my first ever book went live on Amazon. In the acknowledgments, I expressed my thanks to those on WordPress who have made it possible for me to hold a copy of a story I wrote in paperback!

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Thank you to the amazing group of writers and bloggers who use WordPress and have provided support, encouragement and inspiration during my epic writing journey.

Special thanks to:

Kim, whose writing prompt inspired Annabelle’s story

http://www.writersideoflife.com/

and

Paula, who helped Annabelle’s story become a real book

https://lightmotifs.wordpress.com/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/HIDE-WHAT-ABOUT-OURSELVES-LEARNERS/dp/B084DQ4NF7/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=melody+finch&qid=1581371162&sr=8-3

https://www.amazon.co.uk/HIDE-WHAT-ABOUT-OURSELVES-LEARNERS/dp/B084DQ4NF7/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=melody+finch&qid=1581371162&sr=8-3

https://www.amazon.co.uk/HIDE-WHAT-ABOUT-OURSELVES-LEARNERS/dp/B084DQ4NF7/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=melody+finch&qid=1581371162&sr=8-3

https://www.amazon.co.uk/HIDE-WHAT-ABOUT-OURSELVES-LEARNERS/dp/B084DQ4NF7/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=melody+finch&qid=1581371162&sr=8-3

A Breath Of Fresh Air

wodslI have the afternoon off work! Yayyyy! I am going to go out for a walk and fill my lungs with some fresh air. Well, that is a relative term for London air!

This is my post for this week’s SHARE-YOUR-WORLD questions! I am sure you know it, but these delightful questions come from the wonderful Melanie, creator of sparksfromacombustiblemind. Take a peek at Melanie’s original post below and see all of the other bloggers sharing some of their world this week:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2020/02/03/share-your-world-2-3-2020/

QUESTIONS

When was the last time you tried something new?

IMG_20200205_161039If we are talking about food, I am always on the lookout for fresh flavours for my tastebuds to trial. I have been vegetarian since I was six years old. For many years I had a fairly boring diet, and finding new flavours became very important to me. I tried the new Greggs vegan steak bake recently. I think I prefer their vegan sausage roll. Oh and then there is The Cornish Pasty Company – they have some lovely vegan options that are quite exciting There is a limit to how much pastry I can face in a normal week, but I will look out for them when I am on my travels around London.

I have a number of “foodie” friends and they often give me something they have recently discovered to try for myself. A friend of mine bought me a jar of passionfruit curd. I have always loved lemon curd. Who would have thought passionfruit curd would be so delicious!

leosI recently tried a vegan burger from Leon. It was yummy! Because it has been January / Veganuary, there have been lots of new vegan products to try. I have enjoyed most of them. I love their lentil masala, and their cheesy jackfruit bites. I also liked their vegan hot chocolate which I had made with coconut milk. One or two of the savoury vegan products I tried tasted too much of coconut for my liking, but everything else was lovely.

IMG_20200205_161241Jack bought me a jar of sea salted caramel spread just before he went away. I have tried caramel spreads aplenty, but this one tastes just perfect!

I have been working in a medical field again these past few months (after over a twelve month gap away from anything medical). I really do like the team I work with. They are wonderful, everyone of them. But during my normal shifts (I have done a lot of overtime to help them out recently) the colleague who I work with most is always getting me to try something new to me. She is a lovely person and I like the way she teaches me. It does feel like every shift I work with her I try to do something new to me.

I must admit my friends and I are like hungry vultures! We talk about new food, new cafes and restaurants a lot! I guess I try new recipes on a regular basis, new cafes and restaurants. My friends sometimes take me to places that are new to me. I like discovering new music. There is a fair amount of NEW that I encounter in my life and enjoy.

If you were forced to eliminate every physical possession from your life with the exception of what could fit into a single backpack, what would you put in it?

Well, I have an emergency backpack under my bed with some useful things inside it already:

  • Photocopies of important documents like a passport, birth certificate, driver’s license
  • Bottled water and non-perishable food. (Every year we check the food in our grab-bags is still in date)
  • First aid kit
  • Wind-up torch
  • Wind-up radio (not to listen to my favourite tines)
  • Some cash
  • A list of important contact details and phone-numbers
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Several pairs of clean underwear
  • A little purse with a fold away toothbrush and toothpaste and soap in it
  • A tiny fold up microfiber towel that opens up to be the size of a bath-sheet

Backpack, Bag, Woman, Girl, FemaleIf I was told I had the time to add a few things, I guess I would probably stop to add some of the contents of my handbag and some other useful things. I have a bunch of keys which has front door keys for all of my close family member’s homes. I would pop that in the back-pack, My little basic phone, it’s charger, and my debit card would go in. My London A-Z maps book.

I don’t know how much space I would have left, but maybe I should grab my sleeping bag? I would make sure I was wearing my walking boots and my fleece and waterproof. I might add a notebook and a couple of pens or a pencil. I have a very small pocket Bible too. I would make sure I had written down all the important phone numbers of my close family and friends and I was not just relying on my phone to be able to contact my loved ones.

Nobody really can know for sure when they are going to have to grab whatever is in reach and run run run!

What simple fact do you wish more people understood?

Simple fact? I feel a bit cautious with this question. Everything that has popped into my head seems a bit patronising! But meeting volunteers who work part-time and keep their life simple was a huge breath of fresh air to me as a teenager. I met them at just the right time. Before I complicated my life with debt.

desI guess I am baffled by how many people spend their time/life to reaching the goals this system thrusts in front of them. Students study at university, often accruing thousands of pounds of student debt. They have no choice but to then take on a full-time job (some of which are soul-destroying) to start repaying the debt. The first big pat on the back they receive from this system is when they are told they can have a mortgage to buy a box to live in and call their own. That means they are now trapped for many years to come working full time to repay the mortgage.

So far I have managed to avoid all of that. I have avoided debt, I have lived in beautiful homes, none of which were my own, mostly rent free (in exchange for being “security” when the owners were abroad).

basicAs a volunteer I have been provided with basic accommodation (sometimes I was in my sleeping bag on the floor wedged in between a bunch of other volunteers, but mostly we had a bed to sleep in). I have learnt many many new skills in a wide variety of fields, travelled all over the UK and several other lands, worked with many people of other cultures and languages and made wonderful friends for life.

Although I have not been paid wages for all the work I have done as a volunteer, it has been incredibly enriching and simply a wonderfully exciting life! The thought of being tied to full time paid work to pay for a box is suffocating to me.

Buildings, Skyscraper, Sky, CloudsThe way this system works is frankly baffling to me. I have fought against it’s mindset since I was a child because I saw it as unhealthy. I have been inspired by people who have managed to avoid becoming a slave to this system. One of the stories I have heard many times, I included in a post. I think it highlights the trap of being sucked into a system that defines success in a way that does not make sense: There’s More Than One Way To Skin A Fish

So, I guess I do wonder why many people fall into the trap of pursuing the goals and dreams that this system suggests. Why people celebrate having a stressful full-time job that robs you of really getting out there and living and enjoying creation and the rest of the human race? Why people celebrate being given a mortgage that will enslave them for many years? The attitude many have towards debt is quite alarming to me.

What food item do you go through fastest in your house?

Hummus, Chickpeas, Paste, Basil, FoliageI eat a lot of salad. Every day I have a large portion of fresh salad vegetables.

I go through a lot of hummus each week. (I make my own.) I experiment with flavours. Coriander, basil, or sun-dried tomatoes, beetroot, caramelized onions, spices. I am always looking for new ideas to give a different flavour to hummus.

I have been vegetarian for years but I am not very good with dairy anymore, so hummus has become one of my staples.

GRATITUDE

Please feel free to share something that really makes you happy!

mesaI love seeing messages from people I love. Sometimes text messages, but because those close to me know I don’t use my mobile phone much, most of my loved ones send me emails.

I love emails from friends and family. Most of them are volunteers and work on projects both in this country and all over the world. When I come home from a long day of work and look at my inbox, there are messages and photos from my loved ones near and far. My heart lifts to see them and it brings me enormous pleasure to read their words and see what they are experiencing in their little corner of this amazing planet.

I love my friends!