These are my musings and observations on my daily life, loves and the laughter that are all a part of my experience of living now in the shires of England.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Testing time

A true test of character comes when those who profess love and care for you want one thing and you want another – what do you do?

Do you do what is right for you?

You think of everyone – and are loved for that – but there are times in your life when you will really have to put yourself first in order to be able to give back more.

When the testing time comes you must always do what is right for you.

I am continually being tested. I hope I will constantly do the right thing for me.

Saturday, 26 February 2011


There are some places in my mind that I thought were closed but unexpectedly they were torn open and it was a big surprise to my heart.

This evening I was going about my business in the normal manner of a busy woman – with about 10 things on my mind at the same time. I was juggling thoughts and future plans when suddenly I felt as if I had been hit by a ten ton breeze block.

Whilst I was reeling from the impact of this unanticipated memory I thought to myself “How did that happen?” I carried on driving and chatting while my brain raced into the past.

I thought I had forgotten it all. I hoped I had done what a friend told me she has done – put all her painful, sad or “can’t deal with” memories in the smallest Russian doll possible, then put that doll in progressively larger dolls until there is one of sufficient size to lock into a heavy chest; then that chest is bound with several chains that even Houdini would struggle with and cast into the deepest unreachable part of her mind. I can almost imagine a huge ‘Please do not touch’ sign plastered across the outermost barrier.

So, after doing all that, it would be putting it mildly to say I was a tad surprised that when I drove past a place this evening it conjured up magnificently vibrant Technicolor images, sounds and scents of a time that I thought had forever been buried in my past. It felt as if I were viewing a large screen showing a lost reel of my autobiography.

That physical space gave me pleasure tinged with sadness. Then the surprise washed me with a glow of delight because it had really been a magnificent time in my life. Momentarily I wondered why I had strived so hard to forget it but then I knew ... it was because it was so absolutely wonderful that I wanted to forget. That’s not quite as crazy as it may at first sound. The intensity of perfection and beauty that I experienced made it one of the special links in a chain of places that were like stepping stones from an island of torture into a land of freedom and peace.

That particular place - that I breezed past in the car - but that still lingers in my mind, was only associated with the purest pleasure. Even now as I relive the memory my eyes dash about in their sockets as I picture the scenes of happiness, my internal gaze is focused on that past time and ... that particular space when I was right there.

Being totally present in a moment and in a place is an outstanding feeling.

When joy is so complete it may seem impossible to replicate it. I think this is why I tried to erase that memory of that place from my mind.

Today I have realised that some places need time to become visible and positive signposts in my life. I didn’t know this would happen, however, without forethought I have discerned a shift towards acceptance of a clean and pure space for these memories in the forefront of my mind.

I am moving into new places.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Watch out world!

The writers of this book were so busy compiling it that they didn’t have time to do all the things in it.

I feel it is my duty to right this wrong.

Therefore I have purchased this volume and will henceforth set about doing more of just about everything. Watch out world!

Thursday, 24 February 2011


First childhood lesson: lying is OK.

On one hand we teach that lying is abhorrent in society and yet on the other hand we teach our children that lying is acceptable. I mean by this that some people teach that lying is acceptable by the routine purveying of ‘facts’ that are not true: the tooth fairy, Father Christmas ... etc.

Then the tables are turned when the children start to practice the lies they have been taught were OK. They learn the old lies, expand on them and create new lies for themselves. Then they are reprimanded and told to do better. Do better? Like who? The parents that have been feeding them lies about lies? Mmmm.

Second childhood lesson: lying is not OK: lying is bad.

“I don’t want to know.” The words may not always be said to someone’s face but the actions and the persistent deflection of conversations can bring the truth home that someone may rather you lied to them than tell them the truth they didn’t want to hear spoken.

First adult lesson: lying is OK.

It is my belief that this is a lie.

Lies languish life.

Selfish people like lies because they do not have to look at the truth. Selfish people are not caring people. They are perpetuating lies by refusing to hear the truth. Some people who live by the word of God are as guilty as others who live by the word of the world: they prefer people to lie rather than speak their own truth.

People start to die because they cannot live their lives in a lie. The lies suffocate the very breath of life.

Final adult lesson: lying is not OK: lying is bad.

By then it is too late.

How many headstones will need to say “Here lies someone who died because of lying” before it is clear to all that lying is not OK?

Wednesday, 23 February 2011


Photo: Diver Aguilar

The hand that first plucks a diamond from dark obscurity rarely wears the final polished stone. The eye that initially sees the beautiful gem in the dirt seldom delights in the refined treasure.

But I can reveal the brilliance in my own life and I can behold it every day.

I am my own diamond.

© De Beers LV Limited

Monday, 21 February 2011

Same but different

Isn’t it strange that the same thing can cause different reactions in you at different times?

Take for example families.

A few weeks ago I heard a comment from a family member that came as a complete surprise to me. It was totally unexpected and mind-blowing at the same time.

It was the most inclusive and positive comment I had heard from that quarter in over two decades. That time scale alone shows you how much it meant to me.

Then ... there was this other communication with my family that was such a strain that I almost wept from the sad intensity of it all.

On one hand families can unexpectedly warm your heart and then, on the other hand, the tension loaded words from another avenue in the same area can shatter your dreams into a million pieces.

This can happen in birth families, work families or church families. It’s the same thing, but different.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Rear view mirror

I can’t remember the last time I went to the hairdressers, this is because I do my hair myself. My locks take a lot of time to re-twist but it’s a task I have gotten used to over the years. One of my sisters used to do my hair before I grew my locks – as she is a trained hairdresser, and the only person I felt comfortable with doing my hair. So, I guess I really should say ... I can’t remember the first time I went to the hairdressers, because I have never been to have a stranger do my hair.

The point of all this is that when you are at the hairdressers you spend a lot of time talking to them in mirrors. In the normal interaction between a customer and a hairdresser there is not a lot of face to face contact. As the customer sits facing the mirror the stylist will look at them through their reflection.

Taxi drivers are also adept at carrying on conversations through mirrors. They ask you intimate details about your life, and because you are unlikely to meet them again, the normal personal reserve is abandoned. You spill the most highly guarded facts about yourself as the journey progresses. Then you walk away from the cab without another thought about what the driver thinks about your revelations.

It is the same with the hairdresser or barber – because you are not looking directly at them you feel free to share amazing personal facts. This is how I sometimes feel about blogging: I am neither embarrassed nor inhibited here. I feel that this is my intimate space for myself and I’m willing to share it with ... anybody who glances in and sees what I am currently reflecting about myself and my world.

I guess I am blogging through a rear-view mirror.

Friday, 18 February 2011


Friends are like jigsaw puzzles – they just fit together, naturally.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Just what the doctor ordered

There are pockets of time when I’m just tired. Plain and simple tiredness.

When I am lost in these cul-de-sac periods I often just want to cry.

You see, I get tired of stuff – all kinds of stuff. Things that don’t matter one iota one day can suffocate me the next.

What has brought all this on? That’s a question I asked myself just now. But I think I’m even too tired to think about it in any great depth because ... I’m just tired.

Following a deep breath I exhaled and some reasons dashed across my mind like a startled deer in front of my car headlights on a dark country road.

So here are some of them:

I get tired of taking the initiative. Sometimes I also want to be surprised.

When I hear the same conversations regurgitated I just want to yawn. My heart yearns for some challenging thoughts to stimulate me.

Quite frequently I annoy myself because I get tired of trying to fix something that I didn’t break (I am still learning to let things go) – especially when nobody else seems to care that it has been broken.

I am drained because right now I don’t have a ‘go-to-person’ to go to with my questions. My reservoirs are running low and I’m all out of answers today; it’s exhausting to keep going when you’re running near empty.

I weep without tears at the sense of unidentifiable emptiness; it drains the already vacant void.

I am tired of being in control. I long for a chance to relax in the back seat for a refreshing change.

Maybe I need to both cry and rest for a while then I can move past this tiredness because it’s just making me weary.

I’m glad there is a holiday around the corner ... just what the doctor ordered.

Maybe when I wake up tomorrow this feeling of tiredness will disappear as quickly as so many night-time dreams. And when the sun rises, so will my energy levels – tiredness will then be banished.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011


What shape is hope?

Before you dismiss this as a drug induced post let me try to explain my thinking. I guess the first thing to ask is can hope ever have a shape? I believe it can. In fact I know it can.

Not very convincing so far I think, so how’s this as an explanation. I didn’t always have this injection of positivity in my life, but hope has been proved as an unquestionable reality to me. Consequently I have hung on to my belief of the beauty that I know is there - in people and things (somehow) and, without even realising it at first, I began to see evidence of that hope appear in my life more frequently. It’s a bit like a magician’s trick: “Now you see it, now you don’t,” then ... “Voila! Now you see it again.” In my heart of hearts I know that what I have seen and known is real so, while getting on with the business of living, I have experienced so many different types of hope materialising in my life; hopes that I didn’t know existed until I saw them, hopes that I had forgotten about, hopes that were once only in my dreams.

It is my belief that things always change; circumstances occur that are a bit like wearing steamed up glasses – you just can’t see anything clearly, but then, like moving back from a suddenly opened oven door, the steam begins to dissipate.

In my life hope has taken on many different shapes at different times. Hope has also been different colours.

Today, my hope is blue – a vibrant blue – and it is alluringly shaped.

Now I always have hope in my life because to me hope is the basis of many wonderful expectations and promises.

If pressed I could even draw you a picture ... and you’d see exactly what hope means to me today.

Hope means ... the world to me.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Eat, drink and be merry

When you are offered food choices from all corners of the world what do you do? Well, try them all of course, bit by bit (or should that be bite by bite?)!

Let's get started ...

Mmm, this looks good enough to eat - all in one mouthful!

Who me? Eat all that dessert? Nothing to do with me... tra la la la lah!

A good time was had by all ... even though they (accidentally) tried to charge me 10 times the real cost of the meal!

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Another look at friendship

Friends have a way of making you feel like you are in the middle of a summer’s day walk in the country.

When a friend looks at you there is a smile in their eyes even when no words are spoken.

Sharing time with a friend is knowing that you are understood or that you soon will be understood because they will take the time to listen to your real voice.

Friendship is looking at yourself through someone else’s eyes and being well pleased with what you see.

It’s always a good time to have another look at friendship.

Deeds and Words - Poetry by Ken Walsh

Why is it that what men do

(Or are planning to do),

Always stands in front

Of what they say?

I wish I didn’t know.

I wish I could believe

All the words,

They want me to believe;

All the words,

They want to believe


Ken Walsh (from his collection – Sometimes I Weep)

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The friendship journey

I have discovered, in what my son would call my ‘long life’ that the journey to friendship can vary in length and direction.
With some people I have found that friendship is immediate and ever-lasting. With other folk I have become aware that the road to friendship may be a slow and long one, but you do get to a solid place at the right time for both of you. This last journey may follow a windy and bumpy road but all the time you know the destination is certain.
Recently I also realised that some relationships never reach the level of friendship because the pre-requisite trust is never achieved. This revelation came about after meeting with some people in a neutral environment and attaining some degree of comfort in each other’s company. Fast forward to a different environment, for example, the home of someone. Once inside this building that provided familiarity and comfort to one person they let their guard down and a different side of their character was shown. I felt that they were still very friendly and genuine – I guess that’s where the concern arose for me, but in their unfettered state they spoke without barriers. Their free speech caused me to raise my own barriers and not feel as relaxed as I previously thought I could be. While they freely shared their opinions on the situation of a third party’s family I cringed and reverted to a super polite demeanour. I left as soon as was convenient, without being blatantly rude.
This person will never know, from me, what that conversation did to my perception of them because I don’t think it is worth the drama and potential confusion and back-pedalling that it will cause if they ever know that that other person so casually (and cruelly) assassinated could easily have been me. In fact, it may well be me in a few months time.
Some battles are not worth fighting at the time – especially if the collateral damage includes irreparable harm to your children who are present and implicated by carelessly used words. These situations do, however, remind you that at times caution is sometimes necessary before removing the chuck blocks and taking a friendship flight.

Well, that’s what it did for me anyway. So there will not be any loud calling of ‘chocks away’ in this area for a long time. I’m staying grounded.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Our parents are right!

I think we have to get to an age that our parents were when we first began to disagree with them before we realise that many of the things that they said are right.

The reason I say this is that a while ago someone told me something and I didn’t think it was the best decision (it involved me) but I had no choice but to go along with it. Anyway, as time passed I began to realise that instead of being sad about that decision I began to feel undeniably happy about it. It was not something I would have chosen right there, right then, but looking back from where I am now I know that without that person making that brave choice I would be in a much poorer position now.

I’m not talking about financial wealth either – that hasn’t changed substantially for a while, I’m talking about spiritual and social health.

I took time today to thank that person for their wise choice (that I didn’t agree with at the time) because I see that they were being true to themselves and to me by making it. And that must be all good.

I have learnt that when my parents used to say “All that glistens isn’t gold,” they were, of course, right.

This muddy field that I inhabit now is much more rewarding than the palace with its false facades.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Feeling sorry for myself

Yep! That’s me. For the last week something has been niggling at me and it keeps coming up when I least expect it.
I was in a supermarket last week and I picked up a packet off the shelf and then suddenly cried out in pain as the cardboard tore through my skin like a razor and I just felt a searing pain. I dropped the package on the floor and held my hand up. Strangely I couldn’t see the cut for a moment, but I knew it was there. The pain didn’t lie.
After what seemed like an age but was probable about 10 seconds my blood starting pouring from the cut. I didn’t cry or fall to the floor writhing in agony – as was suggested as an appropriate reaction by my son – however I did wince a lot and shake my finger to relieve the symptoms. What I had gained was a deep paper cut on my knuckle. It really, really hurt and since then I’ve been feeling really sorry for myself.

The reason for this prolonged bout of suffering? Well, I obtained a plaster from the customer service section of the store as I didn’t want to continue dripping blood all over the floor and when I got home I cleansed it and covered it properly. However, all week it has failed to heal properly. You see, what I thought was a simple, albeit deep, paper cut has refused to heal as expected. When it was not fully healed I carelessly hurt it again in the same place and each time it seemed like the wound was deeper and more painful on the repeat injuries. Every couple of days it would bleed again and I’d have to start the healing process from scratch.
I started to get frustrated. I tried to think of a better way to save myself from the repetition of pain.
This made me think that this cut has been just like life.
It’s still not healed completely but it is getting there. I just have to treat it with more loving care. I am protecting the area of pain.
Poor me!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Emotional sponge

How do I explain that there are moments when I feel like other people’s emotions are dripping into my very soul? I have this experience too frequently for my own comfort and it’s at times like these that I have the sensation of almost drowning by emotional osmosis.

Being – what some would term – sensitive does mean that I have become finely tuned to pick up mood changes. Some days ago, when I sensed a downward shift within the group I was with, I did the visual checks, they confirmed what the alteration in the tone of voice had already told me, and so I asked if everything was OK. Although I was assured it was fine this was not the entire story. So, over the next few hours the weight of unspoken feelings began to drag me under until I was struggling to stay positive... and the negativity did not even stem from me!

I guess I am an emotional sponge.

But frequently I wish I wasn’t because when these negative emotions flood my body it takes me a long time to regain my own equilibrium.

Luckily I have many good reasons to stay positive and so it was on that day. I took myself away from the negativity, I mean I physically removed myself to a quiet space and then I could focus on my positives not their negatives: it worked.

Wrung free of sapping emotions I filled myself up with my own feelings and after regaining that balance I was able to return to the fray – so to speak – and with a little time, and with some gentle persuasion I managed to encourage Mr. Negative to open up and talk freely about his feelings.

It wasn’t all roses by the end of our conversation – that’s not this reality, but Mr N. did start to share why he had become moody suddenly. With some clarity gained we went our separate ways and by the next meeting everything was on the up again.

It seems like I shared some of my positivity that replaced his negative feelings. Therefore it wasn’t such a bad experience after all as it seems I learnt that this emotional sponge works both ways.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

White spaces

My mind is always so busy that I rarely get the time to really stop and think. Meditation seems inviting when things get hectic but then there’s the reality that meditation means separation and quiet for deep clear thoughts.

Just envisaging that brought an image of a clear mountain stream just trickling gently over smooth stones as it wends its way down between the grass covered mounds. I could even see mountain goats raise their heads to look and listen before continuing to graze peacefully.

Maybe I do have enough space, maybe it is more than I imagine because if I can conjure up that image at the end of a busy day I must have been gifted my own thinking space.

The New Year is often the time when hoards of people start a new diary or journal. And on the first day of the year thousands of people awaken to an empty white space – like freshly fallen snow – that they can make their unique marks on.

I’m wondering how many people are still – a month into this new year – using their clean white spaces every day to ... do whatever they planned to. Here is some space that I haven’t filled yet ...

I wonder what I will do with it?

Friday, 4 February 2011

How strong is hope?

The grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.
Allan K. Chalmers

How strong is hope?

Hope is belief in the unknown. It is trust in the future. Hope is also confidence in your ability backed up by actions. Hope is not stationary; it is active.

Hope can move cars off trapped children.

Hope can study for hours.

Hope can find strength for that extra mile.

Hope can believe in something no-one else does.

Hope is beautiful.

Hope is simple and yet makes what seems impossible possible.

This week hope has made me smile. It has excited me and has given me an extra spring in my step. Hope has opened my mind up to unknown possibilities and has given me more confidence in what the future holds for me. With an extra dosage of hope this week I have been encouraged to dream and see the best. I have also been reminded that possibilities are endless so my dreams must never be limited.

Hope has bolstered up my actions and clarified my visions. It has become the turbo-charged engine to my days. It is the unseen hand that guides my journey.

Because I know that hope is necessary I have embraced it and felt its magnificent power moving me forwards. I have seen a reality and I am working towards making it true in my life. This week hope has been like receiving a top-up charge. And, as usual, it feels wonderful.

Hope is as strong as you make it.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Who likes being a sheep?

Who likes being a sheep?

Usually being a sheep is seen as a negative thing. But I think that it can be a good thing once in a while. When I become associated with a group I feel like I have joined a flock. I feel like I belong somewhere again. Sheep have a strong sociable instinct that reminds me why minorities group – be they social, religious or cultural - gather together: it is for preservation – to save themselves from persistent persecution. This natural sheep-like flocking instinct is to ensure their survival.

The way I hear it is that when sheep get separated from their own kind they lose the will to thrive as sheep, they often go off to a desolate place and quietly give up the fight to be a sheep. This isolation can defeat the determination to survive.

Joining an appropriate group of like minded people can be like coming back inside the flock; it is a return from the wilderness. This fellowship imbues each person with the desire to flourish and grow. Sometimes when you feel like society is preying on you, you also feel as if you are in danger of succumbing to the experience of loneliness within the wider community. That’s what being lost in a crowd feels like: it is terrifying. Finding a flock is life affirming and comforting.

Because I have been fortunate enough to find groups that accept me for all I am I have to say how glad I am to join their flock of unique and beautiful sheep.

I am grateful to my fellow sheep for remaining in the flock. I am blessed to have found my way home.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

I have

Even with the most positive attitude and the best will in the world you can have bad days. I have.

Some days are just not what you expected. They don’t go the way you planned and you fall into bad habits again. I have.

So what do you do on those days? Do you give up and think ‘I’ll never be able to accomplish anything again because I failed today’? I have.

But I know it’s not true.

I know that, although tomorrow isn’t promised to me, I have today, I have now and I can plan to have a better day. I have.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Virgin thoughts and throwing the rattle

Sometimes the best thing to do is not to think.

What I really mean, is not to think too much. I occasionally have a thought and instead of just acting on it I will dissect it, turn it over, manipulate it and eventually destroy it.

Why do I do this? After all, the initial thought was a gut reaction, so there must be some truth or mileage in it – surely?

Anyway, I had a thought yesterday. I acted on that thought yesterday. I acted on the first thought before I had time for any more thoughts that would bury it.

When I went to sleep I had a small niggling doubt that I had done the wrong thing but, just before I eventually slid into my slumber, another brighter thought appeared in my mind. I went to sleep knowing that I had done the right thing.

The reason for this sudden certainty at such a late hour? It’s simple really, I realised that I trusted myself that no matter what the outcome was I would be OK with it.

I have begun to realise that far too often we (well, I say we, but I mean ‘I’) act as if the only outcome is the one we have a preference for. We behave like spoilt children who will have a tantrum and throw the rattle out of the pram if we do not get what we want.

I guess in some ways I’m still growing up.

The ability to accept whatever outcome occurs seems to me a sign of some maturity of outlook. And that sounds good to me.

The other bonus to this not-thinking-too-much mode is that I open myself up to different possibilities when I act on my virgin thoughts. Most of them I could never even begin to imagine but they become real once I have released my thought without damaging it.

That leads to contentment all around after that – no muddied thinking or screaming to deal with at all!

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