31 December 2013

Taking stock - December

Time to take stock of December - thanks to Pip Lincolne for the idea!


Making the most of some unexpected alone time.

Cooking Preparation underway for sausage casserole - yum!

Drinking water with slice of lemon - my usual tipple :-)

Reading (still!) A Field Guide to NOW by Christina Rosalie, which I can thoroughly recommend!

Wanting the temporary peace and quiet to continue.

Looking forward to seeing Catching Fire at the Showcase this afternoon.

Playing Bastille's All This Bad Blood which I've just bought - a double CD (including instant download)  for £5.00 - crazy!! 

Wasting as little of everything as possible.

Sowing idea seeds in my journal...

Wishing suicide bombers in Volgograd would desist from their attacks...

Enjoying Molly-cat's gentle company.

Waiting for the sun to shine :(

Liking every song on the CD :-)

Wondering if 2014 will be as fun as 2013.

Loving the pretty Christmas lights.

Hoping we'll get to cinema on time...

Marvelling at the fibre-optic small tree in the window-sill (how does it work??)

Needing nothing :-)

Smelling nice and clean (I hope!)

Wearing my favourite snuggly big jumper - it's cold, wet and windy here in the UK.

Following the candle's steady flame when I glance away from my laptop.

Noticing the distant rumble of a plane overhead.

Knowing every moment of awareness is precious.

Thinking Dan Smith is one hell of a songwriter!

Bookmarking Centrepoint - my chosen charity for 2014 - which helps homeless teens.

Opening my soul to the future.

Giggling at Molly still trying to find the perfect spot to settle...

Feeling warm, safe, blessed.

30 December 2013

Today's card...

... is a very timely reminder to me!

I am struggling with the house being full of people...

I'm still getting up at 5.30 am for my quiet time, my Hermit time, my recharging time, but it all changes from about 8 am onwards...

I take a deep breath, and remind myself I love all these people - they are my Dad, my husband, my son, my daughter - THE most important people in my life! But they make noise, they take up space, they deplete my energies...

Then, I beat myself up for not being happy they are here, happy they're in my life  *sigh*

Then I see today's card and remember 'the unlike' is good, 'differences' are good, and I take another deep breath and remember to love, and to see 'the most beautiful harmony' - for it is here, here in this house, with these precious people.

24 December 2013

Wishing you...

... a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

And sharing today's card...

I was hoping for a jolly, celebratory card to suit the mood of Christmas Eve, and instead I pulled this

I guess it's a timely reminder for all of us who find company tiring, to make sure we find enough quiet, alone time over the holidays to recharge our batteries, to draw breath...

... to then be in sparkling form again when required :-)

Sending all love and blessings of the Season, and looking forward to seeing all that 2014 reveals xx

20 December 2013

Today's card...

Not the best photo - sorry!

My heart's instinct is to hibernate... tomorrow is the Winter Solstice, the longest night, the shortest day.

Also, feeling rather cr*p - had my diabetic review on Wednesday, and my numbers aren't great, so totally changing my insulin regime *sigh*

It means I feel nauseous, tired, weepy...

Hence, I want to burrow, to hide, to wait till my body adjusts, which I know it will.

And after tomorrow, the days will get longer, a new year will be born, and life will feel good again!

In the meantime, I sit with an image by a favourite artist, words by a favourite poet and rest in being a hope-filled Romantic, trusting that the diabetic nurse knows what she's doing...

17 December 2013

December Full Moon Dreamboard

(Click on the photo to enlarge and see more detail)

Sadly Jamie Ridler isn't doing her Full Moon Dreamboards any more, so there was no prompt on the New Moon :-(

But I so enjoy doing this practice, I've decided to go it alone...

I discovered December's full moon in the Northern Hemisphere is called the Full Cold Moon. As we approach the longest night of the year, the Winter Solstice, on the 21st, the focus is on warmth, shelter and family, and I've chosen words and images that reflect that.

Starting top left corner, I found a full moon image from an old We'Moon calender (Drombeg Circle by Kathy Glover 2005), and stuck on top a small poem by Mary Anne Radmacher from her book Lean Forward Into Your Life. I found the book in a charity shop, and once read, I've torn it up to use in journals, etc. (I cannot believe how daring I'm becoming in my old age...!!)

It reads:
as the moon wraps the end
of our day
we sit with the consequences
of our intentions
and pour a warm cup of gratitude 
for our family, our friends,
with such grace 
we prepare for another day.

Below that is another We'Moon image - a painting called Mother and Child by Barb Levine 1999.

To the right of it as an image from Toast's Winter catalogue on which I've stuck the words 'The gift of hope' clipped from a fairtrade catalogue.

On the right-hand page, is a large frosted berries image from World of Interiors, on which I've stuck the words 'Made It' and added, 'through another 12 months' (yay!)

To the left of the berry photo are more words by Mary Anne Radmacher:

i lean forward
full of the
possibility, the
hope of color,
growth, warmed soil
and being loose of
the chill of this
garden's long winter.

And underneath is another page of hers: 'celebrate the holidays that make sense', which I interpret to mean ignore the world's definition of what we should be celebrating, and make your own sense of the holiday season. Hence, my focus on the Winter Solstice, the primal need for warmth, shelter and family, and the chance to gather with loved ones and celebrate their being in my life.

And finally, there's a small picture of a farmhouse on the hillside, lights blazing as the daylight fades and the fog rolls in...

A bit of fun...

I've just submitted a Shelfie to the Guardian...

... much more fun than the ubiquitous selfie - especially for self-conscious bookworms :)

I've shown mine, would you show yours?? *grin*

16 December 2013

Feeling rather flat...

... no more inspiring emails from Susannah :-(

But today's card reminds me of the important things...

... so I'll try and rouse myself to do something creative today. I know I'll feel so much better when I'm done!

I'd forgotten how much I adore Degas - especially his ballet pieces... *sigh*

13 December 2013

Today's card is...

... just lovely for the last day of the Blogging from the Heart course!

I don't usually read the wee booklet that comes with the deck, but this time I love what it says:

Harmony, exuberance, fulfilled wishes

This is exactly what I wish for each of us on this course (and Susannah herself, of course!)

May each of us find 'A happy life... in accordance with its own nature', and as we live it, and blog about it, may we find harmony, exuberance and fulfilled wishes!!

Consider yourself        

And I do hope we keep in touch...

12 December 2013

Word for 2014

I have sat with my Word(s) for over a week now, seeing how it 'fits'...

Susannah's questions in the Unravelling workbook helped it crystallize and take shape
If you lived and breathed your Word every day in 2014, 
what would be different for you?...

List some ways you are already being/experiencing this Word...

My Word for this past year has been Be a Vessel and it has, indeed, been a year of learning, filling, receiving, and as the year closes, the truth is My Cup Overfloweth (that's the book/film title for my 2013!). I have been so richly blessed, and challenged!

I know now, my response to Being a vessel throughout 2013, is to actually DO something! 

2014 is to be a year for action - it's the year I turn 50, the year Nick and I celebrate our Silver Wedding anniversary, the year a dear friend visits from the States, the year our son leaves school... 

And it's the year I express a sense of purpose (finally!), it's the year I...

... and I've started by making this for my screensaver and writing this post :-)

As with this year's Word, I have no idea how I will exactly Make known, how the Word will unfold itself, show itself... I just know, from past experience, that it will!

And as the Blogging from the Heart course draws to a close *sigh* I hope we'll keep in touch and share our Words for 2014 as they appear, and our other words, and thoughts and images for many months to come. For it's been fun and I, for one, don't want the fun to stop!

11 December 2013

Taking shape...

I've had a great time this morning - this getting up at 5 am is so the way to go for me!

I've completed Susannah's Unravelling workbook

I've left several sections blank - I'm not a planner by nature, and when you've survived a curve-ball like a stroke, you learn to not plan, but see what life throws at you, and roll with it...

But I have found her prompts enlightening, and several things have crystallized in my mind...

The main thing is the desire/need/urge to write - and write every day!

So I've signed up for this and have added a button on my sidebar.

And today's card is another perfect reminder to see what's right in front of our eyes and embrace it, describe it, share it... For we already have all we need to grow, develop, expand, we just need to really see it.

9 December 2013


I know several of us on Susannah's Blogging from the Heart course have begun new blogs (you're reading one!), or are already thinking of the new year and dreaming/planning for what 2014 may hold...

So today's card is just perfect...

Be bold, today; be courageous; begin!!

6 December 2013

Like Barack Obama...

... my first political action, as a 16-year-old, was a march against apartheid...
The world has lost a great, and a good, man.

Here's some of my favourite quotes from this most inspiring of human beings...

A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.
For to be free, is not merely to cast off one's chains,
but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
It always seems impossible till it's done.
For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/nelsonmand178787.html#GVHTUwo82xi1Qkxh.99
For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/n/nelsonmand178787.html#GVHTUwo82xi1Qkxh.99

4 December 2013

What a difference...

... a few days make!

Thank you for your lovely comments, advice, empathy for the last post. I so appreciate the support, the connections - so good to know I'm not alone!

Daughter's coping well, guinea-pig session went OK - tried to focus on them, and not me! And Christmas is happening - thanks to pretty good internet connect, hooray :-)

This morning I've spent two hours on this:

If you haven't seen it already on Susannah's blog, go and download it, and print it out, and start - it's a wonderful gift from this wonderfully generous soul!! Bless you, Susannah :)

I've almost finished reviewing 2013 - just need to list the gifts - and there have been many!!

And than I pulled today's card - sorry, but it is just too, too perfect (unlike the photo - I so need a new camera!)

Nuff said :-)

2 December 2013


It's a very grey, drizzly day today - and it's Monday... *sigh*

I write this with lots of emotions swirling...

Concern for our daughter who starts her GCSE mocks today - she's very bright, but struggles with the exam environment.

Low-level panic - how can Christmas be just over 3 weeks away?? I've done nothing to prepare - no presents, no cards...

Sadness for the families who have lost loved ones in the freak accident in Glasgow over the weekend.

And full-on anxiety for today's events...

I'm going to be a human guinea pig to help out my physiotherapist, who's teaching a course at the hospital. She's asked me to demonstrate how I walk - firstly, without any aids, then with my leg splint on, then with my FES fitted...

I know I want to help, and I'm sure it'll be fine when I get there, but since the stroke, I really struggle with any new situation and meeting new people. And the more anxious I get, the higher the tone in my muscles, and the more unsteady I become *sigh*

In this state, I drew today's card...

... aahhh!

I guess, I'm going to draw a deep, deep, deep breath... and get on with it...

As Mark Twain said,
Courage is resistance to fear,
mastery of fear, not absence of fear.

30 November 2013

Taking Stock - November

Originally, I thought I'd do this wonderful exercise from Pip Lincolne on the first of each month. Then, I realized it would make more sense on the last day - to take stock of the month just passing...
So here's goes - and fingers crossed the internet connection holds long enough...

Making time to ponder the past few weeks, and prepare myself for Advent...

Cooking as there's little I can do in the kitchen nowadays, I make sure I'm an enthusiast recipient of whatever others cook :)

Drinking water with a slice of lemon - it's how I get my 8 glasses a day!

Reading Christina Rosalie's A Field Guide to NOW - it'll be my Advent book this year.

Wanting peace and solitude - especially after such a full-on couple of weeks!

Looking out for gifts - I've hardly got anything and xmas is less than 4 weeks away, eeeekkk!!

Playing two favourite wintery CDs - Thea Gilmore's Strange Communion and Sting's If on a Winter's Night

Wasting energy fretting about all I haven't done about Christmas...

Sewing (since I cannot physically do this any more, think I'll change it to Sowing...) seeds of plans for 2014 - the year I turn 50 and we celebrate our Silver Wedding anniversary!

Wishing as always, for peace and justice in our world

Enjoying all the great dramas on TV (not to mention Strictly!)

Waiting for a burst of energy to tackle my To Do list!

Liking the peace and quiet as I'm the only one up

Wondering how long it will last

Loving the bright sun streaming through the window
Hoping it stays all day :)

Marvelling at how the internet connection is lasting...

Needing it to hold out a few minutes longer...

Smelling like I need a shower :(

Wearing my pj's and dressing gown (well, it is the weekend!)

Following the moving shadows across the wall...

Noticing the clock ticking... the only sound in the house right now...

Knowing soon there will be noisy activity upstairs as Sam has to go to work, and Nick needs to do grocery shopping - our cupboards are bare...

Thinking this a really wonderful exercise :)

Feeling so grateful for the wonderful beings I've met on the blogging course :)

Bookmarking all their blogs as they add them to the course blog roll.

Opening my heart to connections and possibilities...

Giggling/Smiling at the memories of Thanksgiving dinner - so much fun :)

Feeling so much better and calmer, and ready to start the day...

28 November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Right now, I'm most thankful for an internet connection, which has been sorely lacking for the past couple of days...

As I have an American husband - we met in Kenya in 1987, and yes, a long story! - we shall be celebrating today like our cousins from over the pond :)

When we lived in California, after we were first married, Thanksgiving was always my favourite holiday. It seemed totally free of the commercialism and ultra-expectation that often blight Christmas, and was all about family, food and fun!

We would gather with Nick's relations - sometimes at the coast, sometimes in the mountains. Everyone brought their speciality dish - his great-aunt's roasted yams with marshmallows was my favourite, closely followed by his Mum's green beans with bacon... *sigh*

Now, we live here in the UK, it's a much smaller affair, but Nick has the day off, and we'll be having a roast turkey crown with all the trimmings. He's invited a couple of his friends to dinner tonight. The kids and I haven't met them before, but I'm sure the evening will be full of Thanksgiving blessings -  food, family, (new) friends and fun!

And I'll close with today's card which seems rather appropriate

with a lovely Mary Cassett pastel, and Mr Wilde's wise words:
Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot.
In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.
Amen to that!

26 November 2013

Catching slippery thoughts...

Photo taken this morning at 7am in response to today's card, which can be found on the Card of the Day page,
which I've rearranged so the newest entry is at the top :)
I opened my eyes at my usual 5.30am, with sooooo many thoughts swirling, I knew I had to get out of bed, come downstairs, pour a glass of water, and start to write them down before they disappeared...
Thoughts are like Will o' the Wisps, you know, or flashing fish (as Virginia Woolf describes in A Room of One's Own), which need to be caught before they dart away.
I wrote about yesterday - spent with a dear, dear friend, who I don't see often enough as she lives in deepest, darkest Wales...
But mostly I wrote about the blog, and yesterday's 'About' lesson, and realized I hadn't verbalized what this new blog is actually about!
And I was reminded, quite visibly, about my Word for 2013 - Be a Vessel (you can read here how my Word came to me).
This wee coconut offering bowl sits on my altar opposite where I sit on the sofa as a daily reminder of my Word, and I suddenly I realized the blog is my vessel - my offering bowl, my receptacle, where I place my words and images to share with whoever wishes to partake.
But also, it's the other meaning of 'vessel' - it's my boat, my cargo ship, in which I place 'stuff' about me and my life and my own voyage of discovery, and launch it out into wide sea of Blogland.
And I was reminded of the Marcel Proust quote:
The real voyage of discovery lies not in finding new landscapes,
but in having new eyes.
Be a Vessel has both these meanings to me, and both private and public applications:
I pray alone daily, yet sometimes I want to pray with others.
I write alone daily, yet sometimes I want others to read my writing.
I travel alone on my journey into meaning, but sometimes I want companions.
Creating anything, including blogs, is usually a solitary activity, but many creators hope to have their creations seen, heard, tasted, experienced by others, hence we put them out into the world...
After all, we are by nature social creatures (at least some of the time!) and we do like to share our lives and experiences :)

25 November 2013

Getting the message....

Today, I drew Friday's card again - 3 of Wands with the Klimt painting and Stevenson quote!

Guess I really need to hear the words again...

To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming,
is the only end of life.

Then I suddenly remembered, I'd written out a quote from Christina's A Field Guide to NOW in my journal yesterday...

OK... I'm getting the message... new day, new post, new blog - it's all in the process of Becoming...

23 November 2013

The Fool - Today's card

My card for today from the Art of Life tarot deck.

The image is Jester with a Lute by Franz Hals with the quote:

You must live in the present,
launch yourself on every wave,
find your eternity in each moment.
Henry David Thoreau

A timely remember for every day, n'est pas??

UPDATE 10.30am
This has just arrived in the post...

I ordered it weeeeks ago (and I confess totally forgot about it), and it arrives today!

How's that for timing??

21 November 2013

45 things about me

  1. I'm a typical Taurean - stubborn, earthy, love my food :)
  2. I'm diabetic - Type 2 diagnosed 15 years ago
  3. I'm an introverted extrovert - I love people, but I must have regular times of silence and solitude.
  4. I'm a Type 4 on the Enneagram (the Overview is pretty accurate!).
  5. I keep a gratitude list writing 5 things I'm grateful for each day.
  6. I love dark chocolate - 70%+ cocoa content.
  7. I'm a life-long learner.
  8. I can't speak any foreign languages, though I studied Latin, Greek and Hebrew.
  9. I wanted to be an academic - I read Theology at Oxford.
  10. I wanted to be a mother more :)
  11. I have 3 children, but Connie died in-utero at 30 weeks.
  12. My maternal grandmother was Irish.
  13. I'm a life-long Liverpool FC supporter, and have a signed photo of Steven Gerrard on the wall (a gift from my Dad several Christmases ago!).
  14. My paternal grandfather was a Scouser.
  15. I'm a devotee of the Bloomsbury Group.
  16. I met my American husband in Kenya.
  17. We celebrate our silver wedding anniversary next April (2014).
  18. I turn 50 the day before!
  19. I collect quotes - mainly about art, literature, culture.
  20. Our house is full of books.
  21. I've broken both kneecaps (separate accidents).
  22. I'm a former Anglican lay minister.
  23. I've always been a lousy baker - much to my mother's dismay.
  24. Our daughter inherited my mother's gifted-baker gene :)
  25. My mother died in 2000 aged 55.
  26. I was a couch potato even before the stroke - never been sporty!
  27. I'm a Strictly Come Dancing fan.
  28. Spring and Autumn are my favourite seasons - I endure Summer and Winter.
  29. I have crushes on Simon Baker and Bradley Cooper.
  30. I have a girl-crush on Jennifer Lawrence.
  31. I'd love to have dinner with Grayson Perry :)
  32. I always chew gum after I eat - got to look after my teeth and gums!
  33. I've always been an early-to-bed, early-to-riser - need my 8 hours.
  34. Toast is my favourite clothes label, but I can only afford sale, or second-hand, items :(
  35. I lost my identity when I couldn't read for a year after the stroke.
  36. I have learnt to write, draw, paint with my left hand - I was right-handed...
  37. I don't like vinegar, anchovies, chilli, spicy curry, salad cream.
  38. I'm terrified of spiders.
  39. I'd love to do a parachute jump.
  40. I've never been skiing.
  41. I want to visit Florence.
  42. I'm allergic to Elastoplast.
  43. I could become a dotty cat lady in my dotage.
  44. I am a sensuous person - I delight in my 5 senses and how they help me encounter the physical world, but...
  45. I am a Soul having a human experience in this particular time and place.

19 November 2013


OK, Post 1 of a whole new blog...

Scary, exciting, a new place to live, to write, to express myself in this truly extraordinary world of Blogland :)

I've learnt A LOT today - how to create pages, how to edit photos - even though I've lived in Blogland since 2006, things keep changing...

My plan (hah!) is to gather existing pieces from my other blog homes onto their respective pages (there's nothing there yet, so bare with me...)

I have written About me, so do drop by and say hello :)

The Home page will always have the newest piece of writing/photos of whatever catches my mind's eye and reminds me that today is another deep day...

I won't write any more now, as it's already gone 11 am, and yes, I am still in my pj's!!

But welcome, it's so lovely to be here xx