Stuart Has Nominated Me For The Sunshine Blogger Award

I have been nominated for THE SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD, by Stuart, the creator of Something to Stu Over, as you can see from his marvellous post below:

https://stubaby777.wordpress.com/2019/11/02/the-sunshine-blogger-award-2019-2/

sunsshine

Rules

  1. Use the sunshine blogger award logo
  2. Give thanks to the blogger that nominated you – THANK YOU STUART
  3. Answer the 11 questions given to you
  4. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions

Questions From Stuart

1. When, what seems like the weight of the world is upon your shoulders, what keeps you motivated to take that next step?

chilled out.pngWell…nowadays, I don’t allow the weight of the world to be on my shoulders. When I was younger I found I used to become anxious about a lot of things. I was given some wonderful advice when I was around seventeen and somebody spotted I was trying to be a perfectionist, finding it hard to say no, and trying to pack too much in without resting properly – they warned me back then about what stress can do. It’s important to have the right view of ourselves.

Nowadays, I recognise what is my responsibility and what isn’t. If I find that I have agreed to do too much, I speak up and explain I need to cut back on some of my commitments.

simple.pngI have seen with my own eyes how damaging too much stress can be. I live by simple practical advice to keep stress minimal. I live simply. I enjoy work and give each task my all. I live within my means. I work to make sure I keep good relations with family, friends and colleagues. I try to stay balanced – eat well, exercise regularly, have sufficient rest and quiet time,  and make sure I enjoy relaxing and socializing with friends.

I am sure our Creator wants us to enjoy life – not to feel constantly stressed. But if you try to keep up with the materialistic world – you will be missing out on so much wonderful. I talk to Him especially when I am stressed. I have a story about “taking the next step”, but it is a long story, so maybe I will share it in another post.

2. What is something that you used to collect as a child that you wish you still had?

collectionI was not really a collector. I inherited my brother’s stamp collection. I had no idea what I was supposed to do with it. I remember with shame that I tried to carefully peel some of the stamps from the pages so I could use them on letters I had written to friends. I was much too young to be entrusted with his stamp collection.

Actually, letters are one thing I have ended up collecting. I have thousands of personal letters that I received from friends and family. I never wanted to throw them away.

3. What exactly gives you a sense of accomplishment?

construction clothesLots of things. I enjoy work, especially the unpaid work I do for charities I have worked with for years. Work is very satisfying.

I have been in many construction projects (I think around fifty in total) from start to finish. It is satisfying to learn new skills and see the results literally take shape before you. I have worked on some incredible projects and i have worked with some amazing people.

However, very early on, it was drawn to my attention that we were not all about bricks and mortar. We were there to help people in the local community. We were training unskilled volunteers. There were some very special experiences I was involved in.

chickensTo explain what I mean, I want to tell you about my friends chickens. She took some chickens that had been on a battery farm. It was so heartbreaking when they arrived. They hardly had any feathers, their claws were all curled up and deformed. They sat in a huddle and didn’t move. I went to visit a few weeks later and they were completely transformed! Now they had beautiful feathers. They were roaming around her huge garden. We played football with the kids and chickens decided they wanted to play! They were no longer the chickens that had been mistreated. They were now thriving and full of life and energy.

timid.pngWell…I have seen similar transformations with some of the new volunteers who came along to one of our projects in the area they lived. There was a woman who stands out in my mind. She was assigned to the painting and decorating team. During the early part of the project, the team are usually working outside. Painting exterior woodwork like fences, gates, outbuildings, priming two by one timbers (used as shadow batoning for a suspended ceiling)…and later on they decorate the inside of the building.

Well this woman was painting outside and we noticed something. She was shaking like a leaf. Now we didn’t know the reason at first. It could have been a medical reason. But as with all volunteers, we got to know her. My eyes are already tearing up remembering her. Her husband had been abusive and violent for years. He destroyed her confidence and self-esteem. That poor lady was beaten by him so severely she lost the sight in one eye. She ended up in hospital covered with bruises and with broken bones. The police carted her husband off to the local nick.

transformed.pngAnyway…by the end of the project a quiet, timid, avoiding eye contact with anyone, standing on her own, shaking with nerves, easily intimidated, scared to make a mistake woman had blossomed magnificently. We ended up discovering she had the most extraordinary laugh. Such an infectious giggley laughter. She was just like those chickens. She was chatting with everyone on site. I remember her chatting, laughing and singing. We patiently trained her and the shaky hand stopped. Her work was excellent.

The satisfaction of seeing someone blossom like that is tremendous. It’s really special. It’s so tangible to see what personal interest, encouragement, kindness, love and patience can do. To see someone start to thrive again – it’s just gorgeous. Seeing how love and kindness can affect people who have suffered is priceless.

Can you or I really make a difference to someone else’s life?

Well…I would like you to imagine the following scene.  (You may have heard a version of this before.)  After a violent storm, tens of thousands of star-fish were washed up on to a beach, beyond the reach of the normal tide level.  Once the sun began to rise, the star-fish were at serious risk of dying.  A local man observing the devastation noticed a little girl bending over and picking up starfish one at a time and throwing them into the sea. He approached the girl and said “I know you mean well, but you do realize you are not really going to make any difference.  There are tens of thousands of star-fish stranded.” The girl little girl looked at him.  She thought about his words for a moment.  She then bent down and picked up another starfish and threw it into the sea.  She said to the man, “I just made a difference to that one.”

Starfish

4. What was your hardest challenge to overcome?

Hmm…

distraughtI have had some challenges to deal with, I had eighteen months of illness around eleven / twelve years ago. I had four surgical operations and had a very unpleasant time with postoperative infections. My immune system seemed to be completely thrashed for some time and I had so little energy. What I found tough was that it seemed as if I would never be able to achieve my long-term goal of qualifying to be ajn international volunteer. But amazingly, I did!

Being the victim of slander and trolling for two years was hard. I found myself facing despair after the accumulative effect of all that nastiness. My self-esteem had crumbled. I was anxious whenever I left my home. But I was not comfortable within my home either.

AmbulanceOf course that led me to make a foolish decision. I was on my own late at night in a park in London (because I felt I couldn’t face going home) when I was the victim of a serious crime. A security guard found me unconscious the next morning. I was hidden in bushes and badly beaten up. When I woke up I was in an ambulance speeding to a nearby hospital. I was told that it is possible my attacker left me thinking I was dead. So…yes, that was a challenge.

After I was attacked, I had access to counselling services. I asked them to stop coming after a few weeks because they were causing me stress. But one thing I remember they all agreed on was that I was struggling more with the “bullying” (that’s what they described it as) that had gone on for at least two years, than I was with what had happened to me that night in the park. They were right about that.

shelves it.pngThe crime I was victim of, I dealt with fairly quickly, I put it in a box, with a lid on and locked that box. I put it right on the tallest shelf where it was hard to retrieve. I only take that box down occasionally when I seem to need to. But the accumulative effect of all the unkind comments made about me caused me to crumble within. That has taken a lot longer to recover from.

Jack has made a huge difference though. My heart is feeling stronger than ever right now. It’s wonderful to have peace restored. Peace can aid healing so much.

5. Why do you feel the church is silent on dealing with real life issues like addiction and sex?

“The church”…I am not sure whether this is referring to one particular denomination or is it all of the 45,000+ denominations that make up “Christendom”?

I don’t feel I need to make comment on any denomination that claims to be Christian but does not seem to following the scriptures. They speak for themselves.

frity

I have been impressed by the way some services I have attended were conducted. Those involved in what felt like a teaching environment, used the scriptures so effectively to reach the heart. I have sat there, interested in the information presented and feeling touched by what I was hearing and seeing in the scriptures. I have attended some services when I have been invited, and also I have read a lot of helpful aids to understand more about the scriptures. I admire and respect those who seem refreshingly clear headed and are humble in the way they discuss the scriptures, using them in a positive upbuilding way.

fruitage.pngI am cautious though I will admit. I am wary of those that get heated up and don’t seem to be sound of mind. There seems a lot who seem rather more concerned with their own self-righteousness and their own salvation, rather that the sanctification of our Creator’s name. There are some who claim to be Christian, but seem to be ignoring Christ’s commands. I know how I feel about that. But what does the Christ think of it?

I see reports of “Christians” enjoying a luxury lifestyle, immersed in politics, blessing military equipment, involved in practices that are blatantly contrary to the scriptures, and teaching concepts and doctrines that are completely unscriptural.

Russian-Bible-photoHow can those who practice a form of Christianity that is so far away from Christ’s teachings and conduct have freeness of speech? What generally will happen, is that when they start to pontificate – others will call them out as hypocrites.

Whereas, if a group of Christians consistently apply God’s Word to all of their teachings and all areas of life (rather than the “pick & mix” approach), well, they do not shy away from difficult issues. They know that Bible principles govern all areas of life and the fruitage of their faith is tangible.

nuts1.pngI remember someone from Liverpool saying to me – when it comes to religion – it’s a bit like Cadbury’s Fruit And Nut. You’ll either find those who are displaying the fruitage of the spirit (love, joy, peace etc) or you’ll come across religious nutters, who are kind of scary. And well…yeah, that’s exactly what I have found. The nutters might be shaking the Bible in their hands and they might be praising and blessing, praying and preaching, but they prove that they do not know God. You can tell by their rotten fruit. Their behaviour and often their teachings are not in harmony with Christ, nor God’s Word.

Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the Kingdom of the heavens, but only the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. Many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!’ – MATTHEW 7:21-23

That reminds me of an interview I saw when I was a little girl on television. Maybe I will save that memory for another post.

6. What is your personal opinion as to why it seems more and more little ones are being shot, beaten, kidnapped or worse?

puppeteer.pngWho is ruling this world at the moment? The same person who influenced Adam and Eve.

“…the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” – 1 JOHN 5:19

That is not a political question. No matter what anyone thinks of the current prime ministers, presidents, chancellors, emperors or those who hold other forms of rule…behind the scenes, somebody else is influencing mankind today.

His wicked personality is reflected in the atrocities we hear of and witness. Even the entertainment industry is saturated with a blatant disregard for life. Violent entertainment featuring heinous crimes is in no shortage.

7. Why would any parent, no matter what the hell is going on in their lives, want to take the lives of their kids?

Woman, Despair, Loss, Cover, SadnessWe live in distressing times. Many people are extremely stressed. Debt, addictions, loss of jobs, homes, loved ones. Social isolation. Many wander in confusion and despair. Many are plagued by anguish and grief. Some are riddled with guilt. Many see no way out of their problems. They may feel they have lost everything. They do not have a hope.

For a person to feel so desperate that they would want to take their own life, they must have experienced either a chronic accumulation of stress / burn-out or else a more acute crushing blow. Despair does describe that awful crushing overwhelming feeling that all hope is lost, and there is only more pain ahead.

downIt is desperately, desperately, sad to think of people being in that state. But these are stressful times, and some can experience harshness from others on top of loss after loss. They may have pushed themselves physically and emotionally for a long time before the snap. It makes me want to weep just thinking of how a human can be driven to that point (and make no mistake – the ruler of this world will be laughing).

The second part of your question…well, it’s unimaginable to the vast majority of us. We find it horrific. The immense stress that some have been under due to any of the reasons I mentioned above…and more. People have done things we may find hard to comprehend when they are under that crushing level of despair.

8. What is you favourite post/posts you have written? Share links please 😊

river1.pngMy very favourite is the poem I wrote twenty years ago. It is called River. Yeah…it is special to me.

I have written a lot of personal posts, and all of them are part of my heart. I love writing about my family and the amazing friends who have influenced me. I love writing about Goldfinch and Jack.

It’s been helpful to write about some of the challenges I have had. They are very personal, meaningful posts. However, I prefer for my posts to be cheerful and full of life. Who wants to read about challenges all day? I like there to be a kind of 95% cheery ratio to 5% challenges. It just feels healthier emotionally.

annabelle.pngI am really delighted with my long fictional project – my Annabelle Riley series. I responded to a writing prompt from another blogger with what was supposed to be a flash fiction short story. I think it’s ended up with one hundred chapters! I never thought I had it in me. I want to go back over it and edit the mistakes and search for any holes in the plot and time scale etc. It also needs more descriptive passages – scene setting. It’s a project I have already found tremendously satisfying and I am looking forward to polishing it up.

9. I don’t know if this one is possible but what is the most liked post on your blog?

I think it is my poem River. Which is great! That’s the one that is really special to me.

10. Which post is the one most commented on?

Oh…I don’t know. Is there an easy way of finding that out? I would have thought River…or perhaps Introducing Caramel, which is really just a contents page.

11. And finally, who is your top supporter as far as comments? Give them a shout out 😊

statsHow do I know that? There is probably some WordPress feature somewhere.

The thing is…I try not to look at the Statistics section. It doesn’t help me. I am just here to enjoy writing my personal waffle. It’s lovely to interact with other bloggers. But comparing and competing and all that jazz – it doesn’t suit me.

I feel bad about comments to be honest. I schedule my posts to be published when I am nowhere near my laptop. Sometimes I can use my tablet (when I have signal) to approve comments, but I can’t reply to them on my tablet. The problem is, if I approve a comment when I am out and about, but the time I reach home, I may forget all about it. So I try to remember to go back a few days and look out for any comments I have missed.

Woman hands typing on laptop keyboard on abstract blurred bokeh of city night light background. Focus in the foreground.So rather than trying to find out who comments the most – I will just say this, I am very grateful to all of the WordPress bloggers who have made kind and encouraging comments. I love the international flavour amongst the WordPress blogging community. There are so many lovely bloggers.

Some of the comments are very meaningful and special to me. Those personal thoughtful comments have been the most unexpected and loveliest aspect of blogging.

To me blogging is supposed to be fun…so I don’t want to become analytical about all these statistics – it takes the fun out of WordPress. I want to keep the fun in the party going for as long as possible.

Eleven Questions For My Nominees

  1. DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE HERBS AND SPICES?
  2. DO YOU WATCH WILDLIFE / NATURE DOCUMENTARIES?
  3. DO YOU HAVE A GARDEN? WHAT IS IT LIKE?
  4. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE MUSEUM OR ART GALLERY?
  5. HAVE YOU SEEN MUCH LIVE THEATRE? WHICH PLAYS / SHOWS HAVE YOU SEEN?
  6. DO YOU EVER HAVE ANY DIFFICULTY SLEEPING? IF SO, WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU CAN’T SLEEP?
  7. IF YOU WERE GOING TO COOK / EAT PANCAKES WHAT WOULD YOU SERVE THEM WITH?
  8. ARE THERE ANY NEW SKILLS YOU WOULD LIKE TO LEARN?
  9. HAVE YOU EVER HAD A LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP?
  10. DO YOU CHECK THE WEATHER REPORT REGULARLY? OR DO YOU JUST WAKE UP, GET DRESSED AND HEAD OUTSIDE WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT TO EXPECT OF THE WEATHER?
  11. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SUMMERTIME ACTIVITY?

My Eleven Nominees

Kristian Has Nominated Me For The Sunshine Blogger Award

Back in July, I was nominated for THE SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD by our wonderful Kristian, the creator of Tales from the mind of Kristian, as you can see from his post below:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2019/07/18/the-sunshine-blogger-award-nomination/

SUNSHINE BLOGGER 2.jpg

Rules

  1. Use the sunshine blogger award logo
  2. Give thanks to the blogger that nominated you – THANK YOU KRISTIAN
  3. Answer the 11 questions given to you
  4. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 questions

Question From Kristian

What is your theory on the point of existence?

loving fatherHmm. Why do a couple who are in love decide to have a baby and start a family? Why does someone decide to share the gift of life? I guess some may have their own reasons, but surely a father who wants to start a family is thinking of how wonderful life is and how much he wants to share of all it’s wonder with his child. How much beauty and delight there is. Surely he wants his child to enjoy being alive and to love our beautiful home planet.

family loveIf you have been blessed to have been immersed in an upbringing marked by unselfish love and happiness, and are used to thriving and feeling satisfied and purposeful and secure, the point of existence is not a troubling question. Life should be many many shades of wonderful. It is a beautiful gift. We have been given the perfect home. There is a huge array of satisfying purpose and exciting adventure available. There is endless opportunity to grow inside and develop beautiful qualities. There are beautiful people to forge friendships with and share all the pleasures of life with. That’s what we and our planet were designed for.

child.jpgI am very well aware that many are deprived of what they should have – an upbringing within a safe and secure family life. It hurts to think how many may feel alone and lost and abandoned and let down. Too many are used and abused and robbed of their dignity and of their ability to enjoy life. It just breaks my heart.

But I look forward with eager expectation to major changes so that humans, animals and our planet cannot be devastated – healing on a major scale. Frankly, I feel there are a lot of aspects of the way the world operates today that are not just unacceptable, they are monstrously, grossly inadequate. I saw a news report the other day about “the mental health crises” in primary schools, with an alarming number of young children feeling depressed and despairing.

lifeFor many today – life is just an existence. That has to change. Life will be exquisite and enthralling for everyone breathing. That is what the Giver had in mind – and I am sure he cares diddlysquat for those who have developed a system that crushes people’s sense of hope and enjoyment of the real life He had in mind for us.

But in the future life will be extremely satisfying and rewarding – full or purpose, interesting work, accomplishment, adventure and lots of fun! And that is for everyone – not just those who happened to be born within certain post codes and to have attended private schools.

Do you have a favourite film? What is it?

I have a few favourites, but to be fair, the one that has always held the top spot throughout my life is “The Sound Of Music”.

If you could travel to any place, where would you go?

adelaideAdelaide, Australia – I want to be with Goldfinch always. It was very hard to get on a plane and come back to London. I love him. Enough said.

I have found it really tough since I came back to England. But I am just concentrating on saving money again so I can go back to visit him…maybe in a year’s time. Unless something has changed. Maybe he will have a partner or wife by then. Maybe he will not want me visiting again.

If you could do any job what would it be?

Besides being a live-in housekeeper with my principle being Goldfinch? I really working on construction sites.

But I would like to learn more about gardening and caring for crops. I have earned money as a gardener, but it’s the labour I am being paid for. I have very little knowledge. But I mow lawns, weed flower beds, trim bushes and hoe edges.

My dream would be to research marine creatures, especially whales. But at the moment, gardening is more accessible.

Blue whale

What character trait do you find unattractive?

bad traits.jpg

Arrogance / belligerence / haughtiness / selfish pride – there are many traits that I have a lot of empathy with because we are all imperfect, we all have weaknesses, we all make mistakes. It’s important to have a reasonable amount of self-esteem, but when somebody shows a disgusting self-pride…I want to run a mile from them!

When reading fiction, do you prefer reality or fantasy?

reading as a littlinI think reality. Yes, very much so.

Even as a child I was more drawn to stories that felt real, and were not set in a mystical fantasy land with imaginary creatures. I read an enormous amount as a child, a lot of which was not fiction at all. I loved reading encyclopedias. But when it came to fiction, I think I mostly opted for Enid Blyton’s “The Famous Five”, “The Secret Seven”, “Mallory Towers” etc

What would you like to see on tomorrow mornings newspaper headlines?

peace.jpgAll weapons have vanished. No guns, knives, nuclear weapons, military forces can be found. They have all disappeared into thin air without a trace.

In addition, disease and old age have ended, people have woken up without aches and pains and without any wrinkles.

The air is clean, waterways are pure, all evidence of pollution has faded. The whole planet and it’s creatures are thriving.

paradise newspaperAn announcement has been made that now that all the corrupt and unjust elements of the world have disappeared, it is time for the event we have been longing for since Adam condemned the human race: tomorrow morning, the Resurrection will commence. You will be contacted with the date that your loved ones will be raised to life and invited to one of the newly constructed centres to welcome back and orientate your loved ones, and help to settle them into this wonderful world, where wickedness is a distant memory and we cannot remember the pain of the past.

What advice would you like to give to your ten-year-old self?

  1. cutting hairAlways listen to your Mum and Dad, they are two of the wisest and loveliest people on the planet
  2. Do not try to cut your own hair
  3. School will end eventually – you are just going to have to endure it
  4. You should not spend all your pocket money on sweets
  5. Ask your parents if there is anything you can do besides your usual chores to help out around the house

What song always makes you smile?

Gene Chandler – Duke Of Earl

What television programme would you love to see back on the airwaves?

blue planetI am not particularly fussed about television…but I don’t think I would ever tire of seeing more and more episodes of the BBC’s The Blue Planet. As far as I concerned it should just keep on running all year round. The more we learn about and love our gorgeous planet and it’s creatures, the better. We should be doing a better job of caring for it.

I am fascinated by the ocean and would love to see more and more and more footage of it’s inhabitants – especially blue whales.

Have you ever played a practical joke on someone?

whoopeePerhaps. I am a very caring person, so I would be very reluctant to risk harming or upsetting anyone. But I think I was probably involved in some tame practical jokes years ago. They would not have been my idea because I don’t have those ideas, but I probably did the deed.

I remember the fun we had as eleven year olds on a school trip to Conway Castle near Colwyn Bay in North Wales with a whoopee cushion.

yuck drinkThe only thing I can remember right now is making a drink for a woman who came to visit my mum (she was up to no good I sensed – the woman, not my mum). I was very young, around four or five. That woman was saying nasty things about people. My mum is exquisitely lovely and mild and there was no nastiness about other people in our house. I knew there was something not nice about that woman. I could hear bad words and a meanness in her tone. I put milk, orange juice, tomato ketchup, butter, mouldy cheese I had found in my toy kitchen set, sugar, salt and mixed it all together and gave her the cup to drink. Mum was surprised when I remembered that visit many years later, and she explained who that woman was and why she was complaining about people.

Questions For My Nominees

  • What do you do when the sunshine is out?
  • Did you or do you still have a favourite cartoon character?
  • So do you have a crush on someone right now?
  • What did you do over the weekend (or your days off work)?
  • What was the biggest surprise you ever experienced?
  • What will you be eating for dinner tonight?
  • What makes you frightened or anxious?
  • What’s the last event you dressed up for?
  • When you gaze up at the stars, what kind of thoughts run through your mind?
  • What kind of music do you listen to?
  • Do you find that blogging sometimes distracts from things you ought to be doing – housework, exercise etc? Or do you have a lot of discipline and self-control when it comes to time?

My Nominees

 

 

Jeanne Has Nominated Me For The Sunshine Blogger Award

I have been nominated for THE SUNSHINE BLOGGER AWARD by the wonderful Jeanne, creator of A Jeanne in the Kitchen, as you can see from her post below:

It’s a Sunny Day

Sunshine Blogger Award

Rules

  • Feature the Sunshine Blogger Award logoquestion mark1
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you – THANK YOU LOVELY JEANNE!
  • Answer the 11 questions you have been asked
  • Nominate other bloggers
  • Ask 11 questions

Questions From Jeanne

What do you like most about yourself?

IMG_20180704_153905I am content with the outer me. I am a little self-conscious of the right side of my head after my head injuries. My feet are a little clunky. But they are alright, I should not complain about them after the way I treat them! Sometimes my tummy looks too bloated, but I have decided that is normal, and nothing to be overly concerned about.

I like the inner me though. I take pride in making the inner me lovely. Probably more so than the outer me!

What do you like least about yourself?

eyebrowsWhat do I like least?? Hmm. As I said above, I am pretty content on the whole. I suppose my eye-brows are a bit odd. They are almost an non-entity. They are there, but I can’t really do anything with them. They are wispy and faint. I see other people’s eye-brows and I wonder why mine look so malnourished. They are not ugly in themselves, but they don’t enhance my face at all. But I think if you are going to start trying to enhance your eye-brows you need to be cautious.  I look at the eye-bows of some women and they are scary, which frankly puts me off from trying to change my eye-brows. But still…some women get it so right and they look amazing.

Who was your biggest influence on who you are today and why?

window cleanerMy family, especially my parents. I think they are gorgeous. I often think of their incredible example of being faithful, hard-working, reliable, humble, kind, cheerful, fun-loving, patient and modest. My Dad who has been window-cleaning since I was six months old, up and down a ladder countless times day after day, and training us to work for our pocket money. My mum who has worked as a nurse, as well as washing and ironing clothes, cooking and cleaning and training all of us in all aspects of house-keeping.

mumI love that they taught us such valuable lessons and they lived by those lessons themselves. They practised what they preached as it were. They were honest about their mistakes, they involved us in major family decisions. I remember their words and many experiences we shared, but it is their shining example I am so proud to have. They have been and still are wonderful role-models and wonderful friends to me and my siblings. I could not have asked for a better start in life. It’s easy to love my parents because they are so very lovable anyway.

What motivates you?

restaurantA happy mix of healthy emotions. I thrive on all my interactions with people. My family, friends and others. People make me tick. Life is not fulfilling if you are isolated. But fill your life with good people (and yes they are imperfect so there will be some stress at times with working out occasional misunderstandings and overcoming challenges that occur due to imperfection), and you seem to have tremendous energy and always an invitation to go here, there and everywhere.

I gain enormous pleasure from nature. What I see in creation fills me with gladness to be alive and excitement about the future. It makes life sparkle for me.

What hobbies and/or interests do you have?

hiking in group.jpgI have always been sporty. For years we swam competitively, so I have great stamina. But since my head injuries I have had some issues with my breathing if I push my heart too much. So I have had to tone down my physical activity. I still love walking and swimming. I love to visit interesting places like museums and National Trust properties. I love spending time with friends. I like baking. I am enjoying trying to write a little on this blog and reading all the posts from other bloggers.

Do you believe in reincarnation?

Only for recyclable materials. I believe in recycling – I have become borderline obsessive about plastic being recycled. I believe in reincarnation for materials like plastic, glass, aluminium, paper,  a magazine one day…a newspaper the next…the papery surface on a sheet of plasterboard the next.

With regards to human life, I believe that death was never part of our Creator’s original purpose for humans. Throughout the scriptures there are repeated reassurance that our Creator will undo Adamic death. I am looking forward to the resurrection of all those who have died. But I know that our Creator is looking forward to it even more.

Is there life other than life here on Earth?

Yes. Our Creator made hundreds of millions of creatures like him before he ever created creatures made of matter. The scriptures refer to these creatures as angels, but the words used for “angel” in the original languages the scriptures were penned in, also mean “messenger”. They often served in this capacity.

There is a verse that I love in the scriptures. It is about the reaction of the angels when our Creator made the earth. When they saw this beautiful planet, what was their response? They  “joyfully cried out together and…began shouting in applause“. 

When one angel led a rebellion against our Creator and claimed that intelligent creatures can rule themselves and decide what is in our best interests, it was an issue that effected not just humans, but angels too. In fact, this issue, being settled on our planet, will effect all intelligent creatures, whether they are made of matter or not.

Are you the life of the party or do you prefer to keep more to yourself?

party1.jpgI am happy with my own company. But I thrive on being around people.

At a party, I give my all to making sure others are having fun. I am usually one of the first up on the dance floor…and that goes without speaking if there is karaoke. I always have something funny or interesting to share…but I like to get others chatting and laughing.

If you could have dinner with anyone, past or present, who would it be and why?

Oh…so hard to choose! There are so many people from past especially I would love to meet and I have many questions for. I can’t wait to meet people of from all eras and all walks of life.

romantic dinner dateBut of course I have a favourite person. If I could have dinner with anyone, it would of course be Goldfinch. Somewhere wonderful, were we could look out on stunning scenery or a sunset or the night stars. I would try to cook something he would love…and I would of course make a naughty pudding. And, I hope he would be able to stay over for the night 😉

What is your spirit animal and why?

I don’t know understand the term, it is something that doesn’t register with me. But I love animals, and these are some of my favourites: 

If you could change something about yourself, what would it be and why?

holding breathThe only real cloud that casts it’s shadow over me is my head after I received severe injuries when I was attacked. It is a problem.

I find it hard to plan. Not from day to day, but long-term. Since I left hospital after I was attacked four years ago, well-meaning people and professionals have told me just to take one day at a time…and I have. But it would be nice to think a little beyond “one day at a time”.

fainted.jpgI want to go back to my career, but it’s too risky for them to send me on international assignments. If I met someone who loved me and wanted to build a life with me…well, I would be so anxious because I don’t know what will happen to me. I don’t want to become dependant on someone and become a burden to them. Nor do I want to let someone fall in love with me and then lose me. I think I would find it easier to be more confidant if I did not have so many black-outs and episodes with difficult breathing. It scares me sometimes. I am not scared of dying. But I hold back from some aspects of life because it is distressing to find myself in A&E.

People say the loveliest things encouraging me to stay positive. I am positive, but I am stuck in a situation that is confining my options and I don’t know how long for and what will be the outcome. So, for the moment, I just carry on living life one day at a time and enjoying it. There is a wonderful man in my life whom I love and because of the 10,100 miles that separate us, I can love him without being scared of being a burden. I am near to my family. They want that. The NHS (the free health service here in England) are doing a grand job of looking after me, and for the most part I am ticking over very well.

An Extra From Me

I was looking for a sunshine song to tag on to this post…and because of the beautiful photos in this video I chose Vivaldi’s “Summer” from “The Four Seasons”.

Eleven Questions For My Nominees

  1. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE FLOWER?
  2. WHO OR WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START A BLOG SITE?
  3. IF MR (OR MRS) PERFECT WAS TO WHISK YOU AWAY ON A SURPRISE TRIP TO A CITY BREAK – WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE IT TO BE?
  4. WHAT IS YOUR OWN FAVOURITE POST FROM YOUR SITE OR THE ONE YOU WOULD RECOMMEND READERS CHECK OUT FIRST?
  5. WHAT WOULD BE THE PERFECT DAY-OFF WORK FOR YOU?
  6. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE ICE-CREAM?
  7.  FANCY DRESS PARTIES – WHAT HAVE YOU DRESSED UP AS?
  8. WHICH SONGS WOULD YOU SING IN THE SHOWER WHEN YOU THINK NOBODY CAN HEAR?
  9. DO YOU HAVE A SCHEDULE FOR YOUR HOUSE-KEEPING (CLEANING/LAUNDRY ETC) OR DO YOU JUST FIT IT IN WHEN YOU CAN?
  10. IF YOU WERE A TOURIST VISITING LONDON – WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO VISIT?
  11. CAN YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST CRUSH YOU HAD ON SOMEONE?

My Nominees

The Luminescent Kristian Has Nominated Me For The Sunshine Blogger Award

I found out recently that Kristian, the creator of Tales from the mind of Kristian, has a fabulous telephone/radio/podcast voice even when he is dying from manflu. If you have not heard him already, please make sure you listen to the podcast interview conducted by Bottomless Coffee 007:

https://bottomlesscoffee007.com/2019/01/16/kristian-stops-by-and-talks-chickens-and-english-history-tidepodcast-episode-37/

The lovely Kristian has also nominated me for The Sunshine Blogger Award, as you can see from his post below:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2019/01/20/sunshine-blogger-award-nomination-7/

sunshine blogger 4.png

The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them. -THANK YOU KRISTIAN!
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

Questions From Kristian

If you knew someone who had given up on reading, what book would you give them to get them interested?

It depends on them. I need to find out what they are interested in. I would need to identify which genre at least might tempt them.

If they have not read for a while, I would not recommend to them anything too heavy going. Something light and easy and witty. Perhaps some Jane Austen to cheer them up. I forgot how much I enjoyed “Sense And Sensibility” until I read it again recently.

But if they don’t like that genre…I don’t know what to suggest. Something with a happy ending.

What do you consider one of your character flaws?

My flaws! – how long do you have Kristian?

Oh – you only asked for one.

There is a new development in my character that is troubling me. I don’t believe it was ever part of my personality before the events that have changed my life and taken me away from where I want to be. I have noticed I am more likely to take certain risks that I did not before.

For example, I left a job in the summer, before I had another one to start. Things worked out though. I ended up in a job I enjoyed more working with a fantastic team. I met Goldfinch – a complete stranger – and started an amazing romance with him. I have agreed to go on a “blind-date” (yeah I know!) with a friend of a friend at the end of February.

This risk-taking side of me is new. So far things have worked out just fine. But what if one of these riskier more daring decisions does not work out?

The thing is I am taking these risks, because in a sense, the worst thing has already happened. I was crushed, my world came crashing down. There is a part of me that doesn’t care what else I lose. That is a flaw, because in actual fact there are more things I could lose, there are more ways I could be hurt.

And yet…I can sense that while I am just existing without purpose, I am likely to take risks. When I had a strong sense of purpose, I was much more careful and protected what I had.

What is the last song you listened to before reading this?

Funny enough, I was working on another post and trying to decide whether to add a certain song. (Zoe – Sunshine On A Rainy Day) I decided to leave it out in the end. But it fits pretty perfectly with this post I think. I don’t know why the screenshot is such an unfortunate angle of such a beautiful woman:

What would you like people to know about you, that may not be obvious?

Erm…

I don’t really know how to answer that. I try to be obvious in most of my posts whilst not publishing any information that could compromise my safety or privacy.

Here is something I have mentioned in another post. My motivation for blogging changed a while ago. I stopped looking at statistics, because I am not interested in how many strangers read my posts. I love the friendly camaraderie with those who do read my posts. But my motivation for some time has been my family – who still don’t know about my blogging. Some of the experiences I have written about I withheld from them in the past. For example, they have no idea of the challenges I faced during my first job in London with my boss.

I want them to have this if anything happens to me, as a result of the head injuries I received. I want most of this site to be of great enjoyment and comfort to them, with a few eye-openers I have not wanted to share before.

What impression would you like to leave people with?

I think the same impression as I am desperately trying to give to my family, friends and others who worry about me:

I am alright.

  • They worry about my problems and the events that crushed me. They worry about my head injuries and the health-scares I have had since that night. I keep saying that I can hardly wrap myself up in cotton wool and stay indoors everyday.
  • They can’t forget what was done to me that night (whereas I seem to have got that one firmly in the box, sealed it tight, and it’s up on the very top shelf of my mind. I wish they could let it fade. They seem to see me as the victim of this violent sexual crime. They want me to talk to them about how I am dealing with it. I honestly feel I have dealt with it! It does not cause me major issues nowadays and it hasn’t for a long while.
  • They worry that I might become isolated emotionally with all my worries. I have learnt to talk to the right people when I need to and this writing malarkey is very helpful too.

I do understand them worrying, but I want everyone to know that since this all happened, I have been taking one step after another, one day at a time. I am doing alright. I am enjoying life. I might be a long way off from where I want to be. But what can I do? except keep taking one step after another, one day at a time?

I want everyone to have the impression that I am doing alright.

If you had to sing something in public, what song would you choose?

So easy! My go-to karaoke song has been the same for years – I love it!

Name a book that you are intending to read, at some point.

Well, I mainly read the classics to be honest. I read them over and over. There’s enough of them. I really want to read Mrs. Gaskell’s “North and South” again soon.

A more modern book that I need to read is the squeal to “Me Before You” by JoJo Moyes. The squeal is named “After You”. I think it will be a good book for me to read now that I have had to say goodbye to Goldfinch.

Do you have a favourite artist/painter, who are they?

I really am a bit ignorant when it comes to art I am afraid. But I do really like American landscape art. Have you heard of Albert Bierstadt for example? Here are some of his:

When I was in Houston, Texas, I loved the exhibitions on landscape art in the Museum of Fine Arts. An artist who can capture some of the aspects of creation I love and put them on canvass grabs my attention.

What subject that isn’t normally taught in schools, do you think should be?

I think there should be more provision to help teenagers recognise their own emotions like anger, jealousy, inadequacy and stress and practical strategies to deal with them.

Teenagers especially might not have that help and support with their emotional health at home. I wish there were qualified instructors at schools to prepare teenagers for the fact they need to learn how to control their emotions and if they become overwhelmed at any point with stress or challenges, who to turn to for support.

Do you have a pet? What animal is it, or what animal would you like to have?

I am not currently allowed to have a pet within my tenancy agreement. If I lived in the countryside, I would love a dog, long walks in the countryside and loyal companionship. But it would be cruel to have a dog here in London. You have to work so many hours just to be able to afford to live in London – a dog would be stuck on their own all day. I could not do that to a dog – it would be cruel.

fluffy bunnyWe had cats for years growing up. But one pet I always wanted was a fluffy rabbit! I just wish it could run around all over the garden safely – I wouldn’t want it to feel trapped in a cage all the time.

Did I ever tell you the story about our neighbour’s rabbit “Rambo”? I will have a look though my posts…and if not, I have to tell you about him.

You wake up at 2am and can’t sleep. What do you do?

IMG_20180722_123051 (2)I send a text message to Goldfinch because it will be lunchtime for him.

Oh my goodness – he is even cuter than the fluffy bunny.

Have I mentioned lately how much I miss him? He went to a wedding last week. He texted me telling me about it – romantic and small. Aaaaah sigh!

Questions For My Nominees

  1. WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP FIT AND ACTIVE?
  2. YOU ARE WOKEN UP BY THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE WHO HAS MADE YOUR FAVOURITE BREAKFAST TREAT – WHAT WOULD THAT BREAKFAST TREAT BE?
  3. ARE THERE ANY NEW-ISH FILMS OR TV SHOWS YOU ENJOYED RECENTLY THAT YOU WOULD RECOMMEND I WATCH?
  4. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO KEEP BLOGGING?
  5. IS THERE A PLACE WHERE YOU GO WHERE “EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME” – A CLUB, GROUP, PUB, CLASS, CONGREGATION?
  6. WHAT DO YOU FIND INSPIRING ABOUT NATURE?
  7. WHICH SONG WOULD GET YOU UP ON THE DANCE FLOOR AT A WEDDING RECEPTION OR PARTY?
  8. HAS ANYONE BEEN ABLE TO PULL OFF A BIG SURPRISE FOR YOU? or HAVE YOU PULLED OFF A BIG SURPRISE FOR SOMEONE ELSE?
  9. DO YOU REMEMBER WHO YOUR FIRST CRUSH WAS ON?
  10. IF WE WERE GOING OUT FOR DRINKS AND I WAS GOING TO BUY THE FIRST ROUND – WHAT WOULD I BUY FOR YOU?
  11. DO YOU FIND IT EASY TO BE HOPEFUL ABOUT THE FUTURE OR DO YOU TEND TO WORRY?

My Nominees

Novus Lectio Has Nominated Me For The Sunshine Blogger Award

I will admit that Novus has posed me some very thought-provoking questions and I have taken my time over answering them to try to do them justice. Novus is very deep – me thinks!

But it has left me feeling upbeat and positive about what I need to do in my own life to make sure sunshine makes it mark on each day of my life, even during the darkest days.

Take a look at the Sunshine Blogger Award that Novus herself published:

https://novuslectio.wordpress.com/2019/01/18/sunshine-blogger-award/

sunshine blogger 3

The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them. -THANK YOU NOVUS!
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

Questions From Novus Lectio

What would you do if you knew that today is the end of the world?

I just kind of hope I am not on my own, but with someone I love and trust. I don’t believe the end of the world would mean the end of the planet. In fact it’s on record “I will bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”

The end of the world is the end of the corrupt agencies that dominate and influence society today. Soon there will come a point when all on earth will have to make decisions over whether they want a corrupt system to continue dominating and ruining this earth, a world that allow extremes in wealth and depraved poverty. Or are they for a trustworthy government that cannot be corrupted and will care for this earth and all of it’s inhabitants properly? That is what the end of the world is. Out with the corrupt.

Although the end result is wonderful, before then there is a marked period of trouble on a scale never seen before – this corrupt world will turn on itself and there will be a lot of damage caused. This period will be the most difficult time in human history but it will proceed the best era mankind has ever experienced. But for those who know why this is happening – surely it will help them to endure and to stay out of the conflict, and not be influenced by the fervent propaganda at this time.

in better handsA fresh start for the inhabitants of Planet Earth – learning to live in harmony with our home planet. Making sure all parts of it flourish and all life thrives. Our planet in better hands – a trustworthy form of governing this planet so that all are happy and healthy and at peace. Same planet but in every respect a  new world, one in which there is no corruption, war, abuse, cruelty and deceit. A new education system, justice system. A world in which everyone is of value.

There will be a lot of work to do, to restore the damage. No magic wand is going to be waved. All will be involved in the biggest clean up project the earth has ever seen.

And then…then and only then, with the earth more like the beautiful home it was intended to be, something spectacular occurs. It is my favourite part of the entire scriptures. The restoration of life to all who have died (except those so wicked, the Creator chose to eliminate from his memory) is surely the most exciting event in the human history – tears of joy on a scale never seen before. The Creator is not going to wake people up while the world is dominated by corruption. That will happen once he earth is cleaned up and the earth is a stable peaceful home for all.

I think there are many who are longing for a fresh start for this earth and it;s inhabitants – the end of the “world” of corruption, injustice, wickedness – even though it will be a turbulent end – it makes way for much better times.

Does God have a place in your daily life?

I have no doubt at all that there is a Creator. I have read so much about physics and science and have so many friends who are scientists and are convinced that there has to be an intelligent mind behind our existence. I think a lot of religions are alienated from the Creator though – as manifest by their doctrines and their practices. I think that our Creator wants to have a friendship with each of His creatures.

I talk to Him and I have read the scriptures many times. I can’t fail to sense the tremendous appeal of a Father to his children. It’s clear that the way we act can make us more appealing to our Father or can alienate us. The same with a human father. I know that even within my own family, the choices, persistent habits, behaviour of each of us has effected the feelings of my parents. How can it not?

I know when my conscience is telling me I am pleasing my heavenly Father. I can sense that He is smiling. I am also aware that there are times I am getting it wrong. But I sometimes feel I need help to understand what I am doing to hurt Him. Sometimes it’s hard to decipher between my conscience and my emotions and my tiredness. Does that make sense?

I am sure help is out there. It’s funny that when I am feeling most sad and lost, I always seem to pass these beautiful happy people who are all over London with their displays have offered me their pamphlets. They are such a breath of fresh air to read. They have helped me to understand things so much more clearly. At times I feel as if I am drowning in my own mind with my worries and concerns and pain, and reading something so logical and clear is like a lifebelt.

I know they have said in the past they do a Bible course. It’s something I would love to say I could commit to – it’s just that sometimes life and work are all over the place. But that’s a bit silly isn’t it? I make time to speak to every member of my family. I make time to do other things that keep me healthy  and clean. I MAKE time. I think that I need to prioritise my time more carefully and MAKE time for feeding myself with what I know helps me tremendously.

maria von trapp 2bridget hones 1I sometimes feel my heavenly Father is pointing out where I would find help with the confusion I have at times about what I should not be doing or what I should be doing. I am convinced He is like any good human Father (only better of course) and wants me to be happy and healthy. I do want to please Him truly. I want to be like Maria Von Trapp…but apparently I am more like Bridget Jones (although as I have mentioned before, I have never seen the Bridget movies).

In the same way I want my human parents to be proud of me and feel happy with my decisions and habits – of course I want my heavenly Father to feel that way. I am aware that sometimes I am like that naughty girl who disappoints her father. Now you might laugh at the idea of me comparing myself to a naughty girl – but if any of you are parents – when you teach your children, it’s not because you want to make a perfect robot who never makes a mistake. You love your child and you want them to be happy, healthy and safe. I think sometimes, I need to listen more carefully to my heavenly Father. I am sure there are times that He must be worried.

Years ago, one of my own siblings decided they wanted to spend less and less time with the family. They engaged in heavy consumption of alcohol and used tobacco and other substances my parents could never approve of. They chose to move away and pursued their goals of wealth and fame. They were successful in achieving those goals.

For some time this particular sibling seemed to look down on my parents and some of the rest of the family who had a more modest way of life. Of course my parents were sad, as the rest of us where. My parents rang on a regular basis to keep the lines of communication open. I wrote to my sibling, although I never heard back directly. Although they often told my parents to thank me for my latest letter.

But in all honesty it was apparent my sibling had chosen to distance themselves from the family. But then my sibling made a very serious mistake. I don’t want to go into detail. But their world came crashing down.

The next few years have been interesting. At first it was clear my sibling was ashamed. Then once they started to receive some professional help, my parents received letters from my sibling expressing all the ways they felt let down from childhood onwards. I have to tell you, the rest of us were scratching our heads wondering how our sibling could possibly feel that about our parents, but we did not interfere, we let our parents deal with it in their own way. I wrote a letter to my sibling to express that although I did not have the same view of our parents, they had every right to express themselves and I felt that actually it was important, because for many years there had been virtually no communication from them, so none of us had any idea how they felt.

But things have changed dramatically. There is a very moving story in the scriptures about a son who turns his back on everything his Father had taught him and goes off and ruins himself. When at last he comes to his senses, his father welcomes him with open arms – and you just know his father is going to help him to get back on his feet.

As my sibling has made changes to their habits and lifestyle, the communications have changed. Recently my sibling wrote a rather beautiful letter expressing their gratitude towards my parents for all of their support in recent years and saying that actually the happiest memories they have are from family life at home. My sibling stated that their unhappiness started when they wanted to do things my parents could not approve of. When my sibling removed them-self from the family, they were free to do as they pleased, but it led to damage and heartbreak.

I will say this, my sibling is back on the road to being happy and healthy – which is all our parents would ever want for us. That’s what all of us have wanted for my sibling – for them to feel happy and be healthy.

I am sure that there must be many times when our heavenly Father is so sad to see the decisions we make and longs for us to communicate with Him and seek His guidance. He wants us to be happy and healthy and to thrive on this beautiful planet He designed as the perfect home for humans.

I know I would only be happier and healthier if I were to make more time to make sure I am doing what pleases Him.

Do you agree with Trump’s choice to feed his hosts with McDonald’s food?

I will be completely honest, I don’t know what this question refers to? Did the President of the USA stay over at someone’s home and decide to treat them to a McDonalds? Was this event in the news? The BBC news? If so, it has escaped my notice.

I will say this, and I do not mean this disrespectfully, but what he or his acquaintance choose to eat is of no interest to me. His culinary choices are of little consequence don’t you think? A man has to eat. If he wants to eat fast food – that’s his choice.

I am a vegetarian – I rarely eat of McDonalds fare myself – I think when I have been with a group of friends who wanted to buy something there I have eaten some kind of vegetarian burger or wrap.

But in general – neither the president of the USA nor McDonalds are on my radar in any way!

Ketchup or Mayo?

Mayo! Love it.

I should never buy it – but is does keep jumping from the supermarket shelves into my shopping basket. I never have it with salad. But if I am on my lonesome, I would happily add a dollop of mayonnaise to almost any meal – which is probably shameful – but I love it! Is that really gross? I do apologise. I only do it at home on my own – never ever in front of anyone else. Not even my family see my absurd use of mayonnaise!

It probably is just piling on calories onto my plate and extra padding to my hips. But there is something so yummy about it.

Are you afraid of the dark?

Not really. Not the dark itself.

I feel nervous in London when it is dark and I am walking back to the little nest and there don’t seem to be many people around. I do feel nervous walking down a more isolated street in the dark. It makes me very tense. It is one reason why I find winter hard. It was dark at 4 o’clock in the afternoon in December. It is growing a little lighter each day now.

But if I am somewhere where I feel safe, the dark is not a problem at all. I don’t like bright lights because they give me a sharp pain in my head.

What do you worry about most?

Hmm.

I suppose my family. They are all fine. It’s just that after I was attacked, they were very upset – which I understood. I have just never seen that level of upset. In some respects I think I found it easier to let go of my feelings about that night than they have.

They have worried about me ever since due to the side-effects of my head injuries. I worry about how it would effect them if I did die. That sounds so morbid I know. But, this possible “ticking time-bomb” as one Doctor called it, is a worry until my CT scans show the Doctors something they can do something about. I am not afraid of death itself. But I can’t bear to think of my family suffering pain.

IMG_20180722_123051 (2)I am a bit worried at the moment because I need to have a proper conversation with Goldfinch about “things”. I have tried to prepare him by dropping a few hints in text messages. But I need to be open with him. I work long hours Wednesday, Thursday, Friday – so it is going to have to wait until the weekend. I worry about hurting him, or being a burden to him. I never ever wanted to be a burden to him and I am petrified that he might feel some regret.

What is “It” if I tell you “Hold it there”

The prefect pose? I am so terribly un-photogenic. I would love a professional photographer to take the perfect photo!

crimewatch.jpgI always look rather tipsy (when I am most certianly not). My photos seem to resemble “Crimewatch” line up photos. For some reason cameras really do not like me!

Nobody seems to be able to capture me at my smiley best.

So if if someone could do a photoshoot with me and had the patience to take a million photos and try to catch me smiling and looking wide awake rather than delirious I would be delighted.

4 things that you do before taking a trip

  • Buy my tickets (paper copies)
  • Pack my suitcase
  • Check check and check again I have my passport/visa/tickets
  • Research the area I am going to, deciding where to visit and obtain local currency etc

This question just makes me thinks of how much I would love to do those things and go and see my gorgeous Goldfinch in Adelaide, Australia! But it would be a very difficult expedition at the moment.

Did you ever leave something important behind?

Umbrellas!

All the time! On buses and trains, in the cars of my friends, in all sorts of venues I have visited during social events.

I have spent more money on umbrellas than I have clothes.

Are you righty or lefty?

I am a righty.

Pretty useless with my left hand. Except, I eat the wrong way round. I use my left hand to hold my knife. I have a story to explain why that it is so. But it is too long to tell here. It’s all a miscommunication between my Dadda and me.

Am I cool?

Who? Me – Crushed Caramel – or you Novus Lectio?

coolNovus – you seem pretty cool to me. You seem to be utilizing platforms for blogging and know what you are doing with social media.

You host the Swimmers group for bloggers which we love. That is super cool!

I am sure many other bloggers would agree with me that you are one cool chick!

As for me – well I am just too old to worry if anyone thinks I am cool or not.

However, I will share this. I was out at the weekend. I was wearing a navy knee-length dress and a little navy bolero over my shoulders. I noticed I had a few stares from men at the venue and a bit more attention from a couple of the guys in our party. At the time, I just assumed it is because they know Goldfinch has gone so they consider me as back “on the shelf” and also…I must admit, I have lost a little weight since Goldfinch left – have not always felt like eating…and I have had a couple of weeks were I have not been able to keep my food down…so I am looking a little leaner than I do usually.

Anyway, one of my female friends told me I looked “smokin hot”! So – am I cool? I have no idea. But apparently at the weekend, I was “smokin hot”. Right now in my fleecy pyjamas and bed socks I am completely uncool and not remotely hot either. But you have to be allowed your rough moments.

Questions For My Nominees

  1. WHAT DO YOU DO TO KEEP FIT AND ACTIVE?
  2. YOU ARE WOKEN UP BY THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE WHO HAS MADE YOUR FAVOURITE BREAKFAST TREAT – WHAT WOULD THAT BREAKFAST TREAT BE?
  3. ARE THERE ANY NEW-ISH FILMS OR TV SHOWS YOU ENJOYED RECENTLY THAT YOU WOULD RECOMMEND I WATCH?
  4. WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO KEEP BLOGGING?
  5. IS THERE A PLACE WHERE YOU GO WHERE “EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME” – A CLUB, GROUP, PUB, CLASS, CONGREGATION?
  6. WHAT DO YOU FIND INSPIRING ABOUT NATURE?
  7. WHICH SONG WOULD GET YOU UP ON THE DANCE FLOOR AT A WEDDING RECEPTION OR PARTY?
  8. HAS ANYONE BEEN ABLE TO PULL OFF A BIG SURPRISE FOR YOU? or HAVE YOU PULLED OFF A BIG SURPRISE FOR SOMEONE ELSE?
  9. DO YOU REMEMBER WHO YOUR FIRST CRUSH WAS ON?
  10. IF WE WERE GOING OUT FOR DRINKS AND I WAS GOING TO BUY THE FIRST ROUND – WHAT WOULD I BUY FOR YOU?
  11. DO YOU FIND IT EASY TO BE HOPEFUL ABOUT THE FUTURE OR DO YOU TEND TO WORRY?

My Nominees

The Auroral Wondering Belle Has Nominated Me For The Sunshine Blogger Award

What do I hope for 2019? That spring and summer come quickly and last a very long time!

Every day is going to be a little lighter from this point on. I am so excited that life and colour and warmth will soon start to return. Looking forward to being back in shorts and sandals.

To brighten up the winter, there are nomination posts in my drafts folder that need to be completed. The first I wanted to work on was another dose of glorious sunshine.

I have been nominated for The Sunshine Blogger Award by wonderingbelles wonderingbelles, the creator of Wondering Belle’s Blog as you can see from her post below:

The Sunshine Blogger Award

…and I loved her questions. I made a start on this post before I went away during the holidays and it is time to finish it and polish it up before I publish it.

The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them – Thank you Belle!
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it on one of their own posts.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

Belle’s Questions For Her Nominees

What makes you the happiest about your blog?

Well…there came a point when I started to feel that this blog could be something special for my family to enjoy at a later date. I would like it to be a gift to my family at a later date. Even though, they do not yet know anything about it, thinking of my family as my target audience has been the governing influence on my posts for some time now. It makes me very happy to think of them reading in the future and deriving some comfort and enjoyment out of silly things I have written.

When I first started this site, I was not sure whether anyone at all would look at my posts,  I was frankly amazed by the response. The lovely comments and interaction with other bloggers has been an unexpected bonus. However, I think I would have run out of steam some time ago if it wasn’t for the change in my motive to continue writing and creating posts.

I have had problems ever since I received head injuries over three years ago and even this year I have been rushed through accident and emergency a few times due to some of my more worrying symptoms. There came a point when I was struck by the thought that it would be really nice for my family to be able to have this site if anything happens to me. My family know I have been writing stories in my free time, but they don’t know about this site yet. I am not sure when and how I am going to introduce it to them, but I want it to be there for them so that at any time in the future they can look at posts and I don’t know, I guess draw some enjoyment from them.

What is your all time top goal?

I used to have a goal. It was to become a full-time international volunteer. I reached that goal eight years ago. It took over thirteen years of disciplining myself and sticking to a demanding schedule and living on a pittance. It was like climbing Mount Everest. But I made it…I was one of a very small number of single women who have ever been invited to take up a post like the one I was.

However three years ago, I was the victim of a crime that caused me serious physical injuries and emotional trauma. I had to take almost a year out to recover. For the past two and a half years I have been back in London and working, trying to rebuild my stamina and strength. I would love to return to my life, my home, my career as an international volunteer. It feels like a long way off though.

Sometimes my ultimate goal of returning to my career and life, seems so far off. Even though sometimes I feel dispirited and despondent about whether I will ever make it back where I belong…I still believe that having that as a goal is a huge protection to me. It prevents me from setting my sights on worthless, meaningless, shallow goals in this money orientated, me-first, world.

I aspire to giving everything I have to build a world that is as beautiful as it should be!

What is one thing on your bucket list?

I don’t have a bucket list for myself really. Staying alive is the main focus now, and making each day count.

I would love to live to see the human family living in harmony with this beautiful planet and other creatures. I would love to see tears of sorrow wiped away from people’s eyes and heavy hearts, and instead tears of joy and merry hearted, happy, healthy people who are truly at peace in every possible sense of the word!

Where would you suggest someone go visit?

Ooooh – it depends how long for and whether you are a townie or a country bumpkin.

If it is for a weekend and you want to see everything a city offers and see gorgeous historical buildings and eat in charming cafes, then I tell my mates here in London to pop over to Bruges in Belgium. Lovely for a weekend getaway.

If it is just for the day…I recommend Eskdale in the Lake District – head to Wastwater and climb Skafell Pike or Great Gable.

I love Eskdale…many camping trips and a lot of fell-walking with friends and family for many years.

I don’t know why I thought it would be good for a day trip…spend a whole weekend there.

What do you think would make a difference to this world?

I have read a lot about why there is so much trouble in the world, from many sources. I agree with those who point to the need for a huge change of rulership. I don’t think humans are capable of governing themselves. We are not designed to be independent. It is like small children telling their parents they don’t need them or their rules.

Every conceivable form of government has been tried. Monarchies, dictatorships, autocracy, democracy, communism, capitalism, liberalism, republicanism…it’s all been tried. Our history books may well serve as a lesson learnt for the entire universe in millenniums to come, a judicial statute in a way.

Current governments provide a degree of stability – a framework of law and justice and other provisions which benefit us, but we need help. Too many short-term decisions have been made that have put wealth and power first and have sacrificed quality of life for many humans and have damaged our planet and it’s environment. There is a lot of damage that needs to be repaired.

Although there may have been some genuine, well-motivated politicians with integrity (yes – some of them) they are limited…either because the legal framework limits the duration of their term in office, or because they are ousted by a political rival, or fall victim to sickness or old age. Plus some of those who they work closely with may not be trustworthy. There are many reasons why human rulership fails to satisfy mankind’s basic needs. It’s time to end the chapters on humans dominating each other.

This planet has an abundance of everything we need. It is being mismanaged.

I would love to see a world government supervising and educating all humans to care for this earth properly. A rulership that does not allow monopolies and extreme economic situations. To me, every millionaire probably means more are being deprived of the basics. Millionaires, billionaires are not a success. They are a sign that this economic system is a failure. We need rulers who care nothing for money and wealth, but are genuinely motivated by wanting the very best for this planet and all it’s creatures. A world that values every man and woman and child no matter where they are born.

What is a hobby you wish you had more time to enjoy?

Swimming!

My sisters and I were competitive swimmers for years.  I love swimming.  Being in a pool feels wonderful to me…peace, calm, happy place…and then as I swim up and down for an hour or two I feel adrenaline and power rushing through my limbs.

I am finding it hard with my current schedule to go regularly though, at least once a week. I do wish I had more time for swimming.

What is your favourite song right now?

My favourite song change on a daily basis! But right now…I have been singing this all day:

What would you like others to know about you?

Erm…

I am very grateful. I know I don’t own many things and I have very little money. But I feel immensely wealthy. My life is very rich.

…I have a very very wonderful family who gave me a brilliant start in life. I have been trying to make decisions and develop habits that would make them proud and show appreciation for all they taught me.

Have you ever written a book? What is the name of that book if so?

I have not written a book myself. However I have proof-read and assisted in editing an auto-biography for a celebrity.

I have written thousands of letters, e-mails and pages in journals that could fill books.

I filled six journals full of detail about what was going on in the lives of me and my friends for a very close friend of ours who was intensely ill for six months. We thought we were going to lose her. When she came round and her health recovered, I gave her the journals I had kept with her in mind. They were full of photos and pictures and detailed accounts of what had been happening. It was a big help to me at the time to keep my mind positive. But when she received them and read them, she was blown away by what I had done. She told me years later how much she treasured them.

I have been writing a special book for my niece since she was born. She is far too young fr me to think about giving it to her yet. She would probably tear it to shreds! It is very much a token of love and special thought for her. It will be a special day when I can give it to her. I shall go and take a picture so you can see what I have been up to!

 

The book is mainly full of pictures and a little writing. There are lots of pictures of animals, fish, birds and of Wales. There are family photos. There are lots of pictures off my niece too. It is something I can work on when I am really missing my family and I look forward to the day when she is old enough to have a book that has been inspired by her without trying to crumple the pages or eat it!

What is one thing that would make you happy right now?

Goldfinch! I miss him 😦

I want him here with me! I wished I could have taken him to Wales to meet my wonderful family.

However, months ago I realized that it is better for Goldfinch to be without the burden of worrying about me being rushed to hospital on a regular basis. I have said my goodbye and can accept that I had a very wonderful year with him. Now my future happiness is hearing from him that everything is going well for him, that he is happy.

List 5 things you love:

Only five? There are so many things I love…in no particular order here are five of five million things that I love:

  • PEOPLE – especially my family and friends and Goldfinch!
  • THIS PLANET – meadows, mountains, rivers, beaches, lakes, waterfalls, forests
  • MUSIC
  • FOOD
  • ANIMALS – frogs, whales, horses, giraffes, bunny rabbits, butterflies, little lambs

I would like very much for my family to be able to look back and be absolutely sure that I have lacked nothing at all! They taught me pretty much everything I needed for life. Their demonstrating their love by being joyful, hard-working, fun-loving, kind, generous, faithful, reliable, consistent, balanced and wonderful examples is an immensely valuable inheritance.

Eleven Questions For My Nominees:

  1. DO YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS KNOW ABOUT YOUR BLOG?
  2. ARE THERE ANY LESSONS YOUR PARENTS TAUGHT YOU THAT YOU ARE VERY GRATEFUL?
  3. ARE YOU A SWIMMER? WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SWIM?
  4. DID YOU HAVE TO HELP OUT WITH CHORES WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP? IF SO, WHAT WERE YOU ASSIGNED TO DO?
  5. HAVE YOU EVER HAD A PENPAL?
  6. WHAT DO YOU DO TO CHEER YOURSELF UP ON RAINY DAYS WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL HAPPY?
  7. HAVE YOU EVER RESEARCHED YOUR FAMILY TREE? WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT YOUR FAMILY’S ROOTS?
  8. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO IN THE NEXT TWELVE MONTHS?
  9. DO YOU HAVE ANY REGRETS?
  10. WHAT NEW SKILLS OR TALENTS WOULD YOU LIKE TO LEARN OR DEVELOP?
  11. DO YOU FIND IT EASIER TO BE HOPEFUL OR DOUBTFUL ABOUT A BETTER FUTURE FOR THIS EARTH AND ALL IT’S CREATURES?

My Eleven Nominees:

The Glittering Cadie Mclendon Has Nominated Me For The Sunshine Blogger Award

I know this might sound a bit daft, but I was so impressed the first time I flew in an aeroplane and realized that above the thick grey clouds the sun was shining!

So it is with moi – currently a thick cloud of sadness about Goldfinch is hovering…but I promise you the sunshine is still there.

Cadie Mclendon the creator of Cadie’s Corner has nominated me for The Sunshine Blogger Award. You might not think I am particularly sunshiny at the moment – well, I am not, I am gloomy. A heavy cloud has lingered on my heart. But Cadie kindly nominated me before I started publishing heaps of posts about my sad goodbye with Goldfinch as you can see in her post below:

Sunshine Blogger Award

A reminder of the rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blog so others can find them – THANK YOU CADIE!
  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it on one of their own posts.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or your blog site.

Cadie’s Questions For Her Nominees:

How old are you?

Next summer I will turn 2,179 years old. Only a baby really!  I have to say for my age, I look amazing!

I think it’s due to the amazing genes from my parents, being vegetarian, and doing a jiggy kind of work-out (all of my own design) each afternoon.

What are you currently reading?

I am very glad you asked!

I have bought a few books that were written by some of my favourite bloggers during the past few months. I think it is a great way to support the talented writers amongst the blogging community.

I wrote about this recently in fact:

One of my favourites is Teresa Grabs aka The Haunted Wordsmith who has recently published a novel named “Reflected Echo”.

I have enjoyed her previous books which were full of shorter flash fiction pieces. But, it is great to be reading Teresa’s full length story.

What is your biggest turn off?

I am guessing you mean with regards to men? A couple of my friends like the BBC show “The Apprentice”. When I have watched it with them, I see exactly the kind of man that would make me cringe. The behaviour in that show is horrid to witness. It’s like watching the a nightmare result of “the education system”, oh yes, that’s the system I rejected so that I could become a volunteer. The contestants are all: money money money…profit profit profit! It makes me feel sick.

I can’t bear a man who wants to be Sir Alan Sugar’s next business partner and talks about how brilliant he is (himself, not Sir Alan Sugar) and talks about wasting money on parties and flash cars. A man who tells me how expensive his watch is and how much it cost to have his suits made and his luxury holidays in exclusive holiday resorts.

It makes me feel sick, because I have spent most of my life working on an unpaid basis for charities. I like someone with a good work ethic, but not to enrich himself and win glory for himself. The kind of man that wastes money on bling and pampering himself is the complete polar opposite to the kind of man I would adore and respect.

window cleanerI love humble, honest and hard-working – and down to earth. I love a man who is kind and mild. A man who is reliable and responsible and is willing to admit his mistakes and learn from them. I love a man who is noble and gregarious.

Oh – I have just described my Dad!

Which do you prefer: chocolate or fruit flavoured candies?

I love fruit, especially in the summer, but I don’t always enjoy artificial fruit flavourings as much as I would hope to. So I am going to say chocolate…dark chocolate. But I like my chocolate to come with something, peanut-butter, raspberries, ginger, chilli…

However I do prefer caramel to chocolate – everyone knew that though didn’t they???

Who is your favourite person?

I always feel a bit bad picking favourites.

I love my family so much – every single member!

But I have a special affinity to my youngest sister Milly. I have always been extremely fond of her. We shared a bedroom and I used to help her with her reading and cheer her up whenever she was anxious. She learnt sign language from watching me and other interpreters, and has gone on to be an excellent interpreter. When she married her husband, she became incredibly practical and dynamic. I am so proud of her since she has become a mother. She is wonderful:

IMG_20180812_130703 (2)Outside of my family, Goldfinch is my favourite person on the planet!

But I have some very wonderful and inspirational friends. As I said, it is really hard to pick favourites!

What is your favourite blog post that you’ve written and why?

My favourite post is:

RiverSimply because I am not very good at poetry. I wrote this poem twenty years ago and I have been fond of it ever since. It expressed something deep inside of me that needed to escape. I am so thrilled that I expressed it in the form of a poem!

I don’t think I will ever be able to express my feelings in poetry again like that. So I am glad I did it once.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hmm. A question that stirs my thoughts I will admit.

I want to go back to my home and career. But that goal seems like climbing Mount Everest. Well, climbing it for the second time, because it took me years to qualify originally. I need to have virtually perfect health to qualify to be an international volunteer again. They have been very patient with me. But my head injuries are still causing me problems. But other than that – I do not have any goal. There is nothing else I want for myself. There are lots of things I would want for other people. But for myself, I don’t have a wish-list.

I don’t dwell on the thought…but I don’t take it for granted that I will be alive in ten years time. I don’t have an agenda. I just try to make sure everyday counts. I live my life the way I would if I was going to live forever. I try to make sure I contribute to what I want for this earth and my fellow human family. Be kind, be good, be loving. Don’t have any regrets and don’t have any enemies (that’s why I need to sort things out with Jack).

What is your favourite meal?

I love variety. I can never pick one favourite. I love food. I have been called a foodie by many of my friends, but I am not sure I am deserving of that epitaph.

Probably, my “go-to” meal of sure pleasure is a vegetarian lasagne or cannelloni – with salad and garlic bread.

I enjoy a bit of everything…sometimes traditional dishes, from a vegetarian roast dinner to a baked potato. I also love Persian, Italian, Mexican, Greek, Thai dishes…I love something completely new to my taste-buds. One of my favourite discoveries from Ghana was peanut butter soup – wow! And I can’t resist a yummy pudding!

What is your Myers-Briggs personality type?

I have just had to google “Myers-Briggs” because I was not sure what it was. I have no idea. Looking at the descriptions…I think I might possibly be ESFJ or ESFP??? The description for both sound familiar. I do remember vaguely a friend getting me to answer a long list of questions, and after totting up the results, she told me I am an entertainer…crossed with something else?

The description of an ESFJ here is interesting…I will say this, I don’t feel any kinship to the Pope, Whitney, Elton or Barbara Walters! Yikes! But I have had all the jobs listed. The characteristics are true of me too.

But looking at the description of an ESPF, there are many things that tick the “me” boxes in this description also.

I think the big difference is the rules thing. I don’t mind rules. I don’t mind an established set of values, standards, ethics. I think without rules, things get really crazy, with everyone setting their own standards. It is a big security factor for me.

Hmm…I think I am one of the above, but I am not sure which. On other personality tests I have done over the years, I am always on the scale around helping or giving to other people / entertaining other people. Apparently, I like to make sure everyone is alright, and I also tend to perform and make sure everyone is enjoying things along the way. I like to keep people happy. However, I am not necessarily a people-pleaser, because I stick to my principles and don’t follow the crowd. I stay within the realms of what I feel is right and avoid offending people. After all, I love people.

I know I am not a leader, I am a supporter. If someone has an idea, I am good at working hard to make it happen. Goldfinch says I am a bear – as in a worker. I am also a very big communicator – probably too much. I like feedback – I thrive on someone saying “Well done! Good girl!” and when my conscience tells me that, I glow with joy!

How many pets do you have, what are they and what are their names?

IMG_20181114_165943In my current tenancy agreement, I am not allowed any pets. However, the lady upstairs has goldfish and I feed them whenever she is away. The only little critter who is allowed in my little nest is my glass frog.

When I grew up, we had cats, and over the years I have cared for lots of animals for clients – dogs, ponies, chickens, sheep, cows, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters.

How do you plan what you will write about?

The ideas come rather randomly. But they are normally based on people and events in my life. I am not very good at flash fiction or anything creative like a poem.

Whenever I have an idea for a post, I usually start it and then I work on it little by little when I have chance. Some posts I try to complete quickly as they are from writing prompts. But others might linger in my drafts folder for some time before I manage to bulk them out and polish them over.

I have to work long hours on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, so I have started to schedule posts for those days in advance, and on those days I just try to read other blogger’s posts.

At the moment I am writing a lot about Goldfinch – I think everyone understands why. In the future, I need to write more about Jack – as that is key to the theme of my site “CRUSHED Caramel”. I want to expand the “CUP OF TEA” series which is all about Jack. I want to arrange my site differently too so it is easier to find posts about Jack, posts about Goldfinch and then other subjects.

I want to write a lot more about my family. There are many more special people I want to write about too. I want to write about my teenage sweetheart. I want to write more about the places I have travelled to: Ghana, Texas, France, Belgium, Romania, Germany, Turkey, Spain, Sweden and the experiences we had in those places. I also want to write more about more about England and Wales and especially life in London. I should be taking more photos and telling you more stories about the events I am going to and the projects I work on right here. I want to write more about what I think is really wonderful about life and this planet.

My Eleven Questions For My Nominees:

  1. Do you have any blogging achievements you are pleased with…or a particular post you are really proud of?
  2. Do you like parties?
  3. What are your next door neighbours like? Do you get on with them?
  4. What would be some of the features of your dream wedding? (if not your own then the wedding of a beloved family member or friend perhaps)
  5. What is your favourite food “on toast”?
  6. Do you have any bad driving habits?
  7. What’s the most romantic thing that someone has done for you?
  8. Have you ever been harassed at work?
  9. What kind of food / snacks would you take with you on a picnic?
  10. Have you ever been the victim of a crime?
  11. If you were a tourist in England, where would you like to visit?

My Eleven Nominees:

Eleven bursts of sunshine in the blogging world:

Winnie Winnie – Musings