Wednesday, 26 December 2007

6000 Steps to Love

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For some reason writers and movie makers tend to see the “Great Romantic Stories” as those where love never quite makes it. Romeo and Juliet – dead before they reach their one week wedding anniversary. Lancelot and Guinevere – adultery, guilt and ultimately loss all round. Scarlett and Rhett of Gone with the Wind – unhappy apart, even more unhappy together.

Tragedy may make for a gripping story, but it implies that romance is so fragile that it rarely endures in a real relationship past the “I do” wedding vows.

How depressing.

I once read a book where the lead character said that “true love” was a man who got up in the middle of the night to get an extra blanket when his wife was cold. I agree with her. Romance isn’t love poems and soft music, although both can be appealing, and it isn’t dramatic tragedies keeping lovers apart either.

I think true romance is the man getting up on a cold winter night to get that blanket, because real love is someone doing something unexpected and unasked… simply to make you happier or your life better. Romantic gestures are fun and exciting, but having someone you can trust with your heart and life is of far greater value. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend for some, but I’d rather have the man who loves me be my best friend than have the diamonds. The fact my husband buys me five red roses(to mark a special anniversary) is lovely and romantic, but the truth is that the fact that he checks every night that I’m warm is way more romantic to me than flowers could ever be.

In China a husband’s love created a stairway of 6000 steps carved into a mountainside. He carved them so that his wife could get around the mountain easier. This true story, with pictures, can be found here.

Six thousand steps, each one carefully carved… it must have taken him years and years. How many steps are there to expressing real romance and love? Those little gestures and simple caring things: sharing the last chocolate, making sure your spouse is warm at night, telling her she looks beautiful no matter how old she gets, letting your husband have the last slice of cake, sitting by a bedside all night when the one you love is ill, holding your loved one close when they need to cry and grieve… the list is endless and beyond counting.

Six thousand steps carved into the heart of the one who is loved. What could be more romantic than that?

Monday, 24 December 2007

Song for Christmas Eve

Only one choice for me - Silent Night. :-) This version is by Celtic Woman.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

To all Readers...

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Wishing Everyone
a Peaceful and Joyous Christmas
and
Best wishes for
a Happy Healthy 2008!


Love
Michelle

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Our Tree

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Our Christmas tree and Father Christmas. We got the tree on sale after Christmas last year. :-)

Friday, 21 December 2007

Twelve Days of Christmas

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The Carol "Twelve Days of Christmas" has a fascinating history. Here's one version of the story:




"From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember..."


The partridge in a pear tree


...Jesus Christ.

Two turtle doves


...the Old and New Testaments.

Three French hens


...faith, hope and love.

Four calling birds


...the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

Five golden rings


...the first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch:


1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy.


Six geese a-laying


...the six days of creation.

Seven swans a-swimming


...the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit -- Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

Eight maids a-milking


...the eight beatitudes: Bleesed are...


1) the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake.

Nine ladies dancing


...the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit -- Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

Ten lords a-leaping


...the ten commandments:


1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God's name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet.


Eleven pipers piping


...the eleven faithful disciples: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James.


Twelve drummers drumming


...the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed:


1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the holy catholic Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting.

Christmas song for the Weekend

A more traditional "Carol Of The Bells" by Celtic Woman. :-)

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Christmas Get-to-Know

ChocMintGirl tagged me for this meme.

Rules:
1. Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share Christmas facts about yourself.
3. Tag seven random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. Wrapping or gift bags?
Same as Crystal and Tish, it depends on the gift. If the gifts are difficult to wrap, I will use gift bags.

2. Real or artificial tree?
No trees die for my holiday! Always an artificial tree.
3. When do you put up the tree?
We try to aim for first weekend in December, but it rarely happens. Preferably at least ten days before Christmas as it really does bring out the Christmas spirit. :-)

4. When do you take the tree down?
Usually a day or two after New year. A Tree up after new year just makes me feel sad.

5. Do you like egg nog?
I used to... until I realised it was raw egg. :-P

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
I can't say I had a favourite, but the most excited I can remember was getting a doll with blue hair. Blue was my favourite colour. I thought that doll was BEAUTIFUL. :-)

7. Do you have a nativity scene?
Yes. Two actually. An old metal one that belonged to my dad as a kid and a woooden one I made myself.

8. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
Oh, this one is an old family joke! My dad bought me a crouquet set as a kid. I hated the game. Not helped by the fact that our semi-desert African garden was too hard to knock the little hoops into the ground and we had no real lawn to play on.

9. Mail or email Christmas cards?
Actually.. I prefer ecards. No waste of paper or trees and you get such lovely cards that are animated and play music. But it still is wonderful to get, and send, real cards to people. :-)

11. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
No real set time, but probably somewhere in late November.

12. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Mince pies and my mom's stuffing.

13. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Clear.

14. Favorite Christmas song(s)?
The Christmas Song - Nat king Cole, Carol of the Bells, Silent Night... and loads of others. I sang in the school Christmas choir so I still know most of them well. I loved being in the choir for Christmas. :-)

15. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
Stay at home. To me Christmas is about peace, love and home.

16. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?
mmm... Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen...
I'm sure there's some I've forgotten.

17. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Star. We had an Angel as a kid, but she got old and I've never found a really nice angel to replace her.

18. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Christmas Morning?
Christmas day, usually afternoon since we'll be getting lunch ready in the morning and prefer to relax and open the gifts afterwards.

19. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
Some of the TV shows - either boring and silly or just weird. They're having a series of shows on deadly snakes and other creepy animals this week... what is festive about that??

20. Do you decorate your tree in any specific theme or color?
Yes, last year it was gold, silver, red and green. This year we bought some extra copper baubles and tinsel and did golds and brown/copper colours.

21. What do you leave for Santa?
Nothing.

22. Least favorite holiday song?
The Little Drummer Boy. :-P

23. Favorite ornament?
New - the big angel my husband bought me last year.
Old - cottonball kitty. I wrote about that here.


24. Family tradition?
We always light a candle on Christmas eve - to remember loved ones far away or who have passed.

25. Ever been to Midnight Mass or late-night Christmas Eve services?
No. i've been to an early service in a park, which was nice and I went to a Baptism on Christmas eve once, which was unusual.

I really don't know who to tag. I've tagged so many people lately. So I'll leave it open for anyone who wants to take up the challenge.

May you have Rain

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For me, Christmas Eve in Africa means rain. Soft rain. Warm rain. African rain. *Pula! (rain) - a blessing and a wish as powerful as “bless you” is to the Western soul. I was born in an area where rain fall never lasts longer than an hour and puddles evaporate within minutes of the clouds parting. In such a world rain is precious. Rain is survival. Rain is life, resurrection and birth.

As a small child Christmas rain would most likely be "guti" - soft soft rain on your face and hands that is more like a heavy mist than raindrops. At the coast it would be heavier more tropical rain that hisses like steam on the roads and rooftops.
My first Christmas in Scotland it snowed on Christmas day and I was so excited, but it was the cold sleet-rain on Christmas eve that made me feel blessed.

Wherever you are, may there always be soft rain to bless you at Christmas.


* "..pula means more than just the wet stuff which falls out the sky: it stands for luck, life and prosperity.."

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Midweek Christmas song :-)

Carol of the Bells is one of my favourite tunes. This more unusual version is by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

The Meaning of Christmas

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Amel tagged me to do this meme. :-) The instructions are:
1. Make a paragraph next to the last paragraph in the tag that is passed to you “What is Christmas to you” and put your name at the end of it linking back to your site, or the page that answered this tag.
2. You can use a title that will suit your Christmas idea.
3. Then tag as many as you can.

Christmas is an annual holiday that makes my little wishes come true. A pair of new shoes, new dress and gifts from my Godparents. That’s how I defined Christmas years and years ago until… I came to Bahrain. That’s when I realized what it really means. A special day to commemorate the birth of Jesus. Here in Bahrain, Christmas is nothing. It’s just an ordinary working day for almost everyone, unless your boss is considerate, he’ll give you at least a half day to celebrate, if there are celebrations happening. But in my case, there’s nothing to celebrate literally. Everyone is at work, that includes my husband and myself. We attend the midnight (Christmas Eve) mass and that’s it, go to sleep and get back to work the next day, on Christmas day. My first Christmas away from home happened in 1999. I came here in October and had the most loneliest Christmas ever in my life - without my family. That made me realized their importance. On how meaningless celebrations would be without them. To cut the story short, for me Christmas is all about Jesus and family. If you have friends to celebrate this special day with you, that’s a bonus!
When Silence Speaks

A little while ago, I talked to my daughter about this year’s Christmas being different from the other Christmases we had. She asked me why. I explained to her that my husband and I are both undergoing financial difficulties since hubby has just been doing consultancy work since March and that means no extra money for the holiday expenses, not that we give expensive, extravagant gifts, we don’t. She said something like: “It’s okay, we don’t need expensive gifts, what is important is that we are together.” Thank you, Trixie, for making this easier. (Please click on her name to see what she has written in her blog about her thoughts on this.) We have always emphasized about the real meaning of this holy day. That this is about Jesus who came to save us from sins and give us eternal life. We always make it a point to go to church during the morning of Christmas day to give thanks to the Lord. Christmas is not just a holy day, not just a time of giving gifts but a time to thank the Lord for the blessings of life.

Christmas is about the decision that God made to save mankind! The piercing truth is that Christmas is about so many decisions. First: It is the decision of God to send us Jesus Christ. Second: It is the decision of Mary to accept the will of God and cooperate in the plan of salvation. Third: Joseph decided to take Mary as his wife despite her condition. Joseph did not understand completely and yet because the angel told him so, he decided to say ‘yes’, too. Sometimes I feel that the yes of Mary overstated and the weight of Joseph’s yes was underestimated. If Joseph did not agree to the angel’s leading, the ‘yes’ of Mary would have resulted in a condemnable pregnancy that could have led to a dead mother and baby. Mary should have been stoned to death if Joseph decided to say no. Joseph’s decision was important. Fourth: It was also the decision of the wise Men to go another way and not collaborate with Herod who wanted to kill the Child Jesus. Fifth: It was the decision, too, of the shepherds to go in haste and tell the others what they have seen. So, for me Christmas is a story of decisions!

hhhhmmmm, ‘what is Christmas to me?’ …..it is something that is very significant to my heart… Christmas to me is approaching Jesus with an offering of simple adornments, not gold or precious stones but a pure and clean heart! It is important to remember though that it is HE who wants to come to me, to us. How we look externally and/or outwardly might not mean as much to HIM but only a pure and contrite heart!…. He wants to look into our hearts because it is there where HE wants to dwell to bring to it beauty and light. His wish is that here, within the deep recesses of our hearts and souls, which HE fashioned with love after HIS own heart, only one STAR shines brightly!…. So our hearts must carry HIM and HIM alone. For HE is the light, like no other. And if we carry HIM in our hearts, there is no need for make-up, jewelry, or even a brand new colorful polo shirt or blouse and skirt because we will radiate with HIS light and beauty and when that happens, there can never be too much.

Gbex

What is Christmas? hmmmm… When the month of “ber” comes and it’s getting colder, Christmas is coming and i’m always looking forward for this month and weather. When i was young, Christmas for me is vacation, wearing new clothes, meeting relatives and getting more presents. But it changed when i entered college and got a job. The meaning became saving money, meeting friends and buying presents specially for my godchildren. Generally, we defined Christmas as the birth of Christ. Everyone is busy buying presents but we never thought or gave anything to the Celebrant (Jesus). This Christmas, give your present to God. Surrender your life to Him and this is the best present that you can give.

idealpinkrose

We celebrate Christmas because it’s the birth of our Saviour Jesus Christ. It’s all about Love why HE was born and died on the cross for us. John 3:16-17 says, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Therefore, for me the true meaning of Christmas is Love and with it comes forgiveness and reconciliation. We also remember His birth by giving each other gifts, worshipping Him, and being especially conscious of the poor and less fortunate.

Thinking Out Loud

Christmas for me is the ultimate reminder on how much God loves us, that He gave His only Son Jesus Christ to be our Savior. For me, its a celebration of love and a time to share our blessings to others.. a time for giving and reaching out to the less fortunate and it’s also a wonderful time to be with your family. Christmas is not just all about santa claus or the gifts that you will receive or for shopping, we should always remember that Jesus is the reason for the season and let us reflect on how much God loves us.

Just Let Go/Pieces of Me

Christmas is about giving love, forgiving. This remind us how lucky and how God love us when he gave us his only son Jesus Christ. A time for sharing our blessing to our family, friends and to others.

Celebrate Life/My Journey

When I was younger, I looked forward to every Christmas because that meant new dresses, new pair of shoes, toys and a lot of presents and money from ninongs and ninangs. Now that I’m older, married, and have my own family, I view Christmas differently. Remembering the birth of Jesus and the real reason why He was given to us by God the Father is the true meaning of Christmas for me. Whether you’re having an extravagant or just plain simple feast on the table, being together as a family especially on this blessed day is what really counts. Giving random acts of kindness to people you meet everyday and touching their lives in your own little way is more than giving expensive presents. These 3 are the true meaning of Christmas for me which I try to teach my children.

Liza of moms…..check nyo & A Simple Life.

To me, Christmas means my mom happily cooking to celebrate Jesus Christ's birth. She always sets up a tree, and her eyes shine as she does it - it is quite a treat for any daughter to witness: I love you mom!

MAX

For me, Christmas means HOPE. Always has been, always will be. The fallen world has received the greatest hope of all: the birth of Jesus Christ. And since hope is all around, then it's only normal to see so many acts of kindness around Christmastime. In Indo, we never exchanged Christmas gifts, but now I live in Finland and I start to buy gifts for my loved ones. Christmas also means family gathering for me and candlelight service at church. Plus I get to sing Christmas songs and enjoying a Christmas play and dance. Other than that, for me Christmas also means SERENITY. I can feel a different kind of peace in my heart whenever Christmas comes along. And since Christmas is near New Year, it's also time for reflection for me: reflecting all the blessings that the Lord has given me and then thanking God for everything.

Amel


As a child Christmas was the love of family holding me safe and stories of magic and miracles.
As I got older I grew to realise that there are deeper forms of love and more subtle forms of gift-giving. The love of God giving his son to the world is echoed every day in the love of good people making sacrifices for each other without regrets. The love of friends and family giving time and sharing, understanding and laughter. The love of a life partner giving more than there are words to describe. And the more you embrace that truth of love the more the gifts grow.

Christmas is a reminder that love is more than an emotion
– it is the energy of miracles.

Michelle


I'm tagging:
Betty
Jeff
Random
Guyana Gyal

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

CONFESSIONS

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PV of "Finding Me" wrote a great post recently on the idea of confessions. He said:

Let's have some fun with this blog. Confessions. I'll post a few of my own. If you are inspired, or just want to unload one, post as a comment - you can even post comments anonymously. I don't get off as easily.

I’m taking that challenge a step further and making it into a new meme. To give it some structure let’s limit it to five to seven confession statements. Tag five bloggers or leave it an open challenge - that part I’ll leave up to you. ;-)

My Confessions:

1. When I was little I thought a monster lived in the toilet plumbing and I was afraid to flush if I was in the toilet alone… in case I woke “it” and it came out and got me. I would only flush if I wasn’t alone, or the door was open and I could flush and RUN… FAST.

2. When I had insomnia in my 20s I started listing things to try to fall asleep (counting sheep is just annoying). I started with listing names of fruit and vegetables, people’s names, but ended up with dog breeds. As a result of that I can now recite a list of 70 breeds of dogs without much struggle.

3. I hate untidiness and clutter. I even feel more clumsy and less able to think clearly in an untidy space. Now this does NOT mean I am tidy and a perfect house-cleaner! It just means I get irritable if I am surrounded by mess… and eventually that does force me to go tidy up.

4. I was named Michelle because my mom’s doctor’s name was Michael.

5. I can hear high pitch sounds like bats and “silent” dog whistles

6. I worry too much… then I worry that I worry too much!

7. I’m driving phobic- does it have an official name? I have my license and I’m a fairly good driver, but I’d rather walk than drive and I avoid driving as much as possible.

I’m tagging:
Jeff
Amel

Crystal
Blur Ting
Mother Hen

Friday, 7 December 2007

For the Weekend - Christmas interviews

For those who won't know the TV show. These Tv short animations are made by interviewing ordinary people and then transforming their thoughts by turning the "interviewees" into animals. My favourite TV show! :-)

Monday, 3 December 2007

Friendship and friends

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Amel has awarded me the BFF award. Thank you Amel! In fact - a double thank you because I was actually writing a blog piece on friendship on Friday that I forgot about until I had this very pleasant "reminder". ;-)

Recently I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about friendship. This year I’ve made some wonderful new friends (like Amel and the others on my blog list), I’ve re-connected with some old friends, and I’ve managed to make new friends out of people I had first known as family (that’s actually quite an accomplishment as family bonds can sometimes make being plain old friends way more complicated).

I’ve also lost a few friends this year. That’s been sad, but a part of life. It’s not just that people change, but also that sometimes what we need from friendship changes as well. A close friend chose to walk away from me this year. I was sorry to see her go, but I do understand that she did what was best for her. Her life is following new paths where I just don’t fit anymore. That’s okay. You don’t have to be friends forever in order to have been blessed to know each other.
There’s an old email that talks of friendships lasting SEASONS or LIFETIMES. I’d say it’s more a case of friendships being like flowering plants. Some plants flower that year.. and then die – SEASONAL. Some plants bloom over and over – LIFETIME.

Both are beautiful and both are significant. We don’t think one flower is superior to another simply based on how long it flowers for – we just rate them as special because of how beautiful they are while in flower – friendships are just the same.

Enjoy them while they bloom and always be grateful for their beauty – no matter how long you get to have that beauty in your life. It doesn’t matter how long they last.

Friday, 30 November 2007

My First Christmas Gift

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My first Christmas gift arrived in the post today. Amel sent me a card and a really cute and pretty gift Christmas stocking all the way from Finland!


I have put it up on the shelf in my bedroom. You can see it here, but it's much prettier than it looks here with a lacy brocade material for the "sock" and a ruched satin trim.

Thank you Amel! It was such a lovely surprise. :-)


Monday, 26 November 2007

Continental Markets

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This month there have been two Continental Markets in our are and we've been to both because they are so much fun. I must admit... if anyone had told me ten years ago I'd find walking around in rain at freezing temperature "fun" I'd have say "NEVER!" One thing I have learnt in Scotland is that weather doesn't have to be perfect to be fun. In South Africa I left the beach and went home if it got below 24 Celcius and I ran for cover when it started raining. Here it took me about a year to get used to the fact people stay out in the rain and it took me two years to think of 24 C as a hot summer's day!

Even so the two Continental Markets were cold. The first, in Inverness, was windy cold, but the second, in Elgin, was just plain FREEZING!

...and we still had fun both times. :-)

The Continental Markets are outdoor markets with goods from Europe mostly. I say "mostly" because at the Inverness one there was a very nice Chinese lady who sold me a turtle pendant and I have seen Turkish stores in other years. The markets are held in Summer and Winter. The summer ones have more flowers, the winter ones more food. Oh my... such wonderful food!
In Inverness we mostly wandered around looking and eating, but this weekend in Elgin we went Christmas shopping... and eating. ;-) The stores offer you free samples, which works! You try something amazing and delicious and you want to buy it. We bought until our money was gone.

The photos I took were at the Inverness market. It was dark at Elgin (we got there around sunset 3:30-4:00) so I never took any photos.


Inverness Market from the middle looking down towards the river Ness, then up towards the Eastgate shopping centre.



This store was so pretty I had to take a photo. All the crockery on the left was poppies, in the middle were flowers and farm animals and on the right (off the photo) were mugs wih dogs and cheaper ledt-over mugs. We bought some of the cheaper coffee mugs. They have fruit on them - pears, strawberries and plums.

A Dutch store selling tiny pancakes with toppings of cream, caramel, choclate and other tasty things. They were delicious. I could eat a mountain of them.

At the Inverness market we had German Wurst sausages on rolls for lunch and then later we had a French dish of potatoes, cheese, onion and bacon. Very creamy and tasted amazingly good. At both markets they were selling everything from sweets, dried fruit and biscuits to sausages, pickles and cheeses.

At the Elgin market we bought French cheeses, fresh baked (portable oven) French bread and biscuits, sausages from... somewhere, Polish apple and pear cider, Greek olives stuffed with chili and garlic and Turkish delight. I also got some embroidered towels for Christmas gifts.

Then we went home and ate a bit of everything...

*burp*

It was freezing cold in Elgin, but we stayed anyway because there was a band playing great music and everyone was having fun. My feet were frozen and my hands hurt from the cold, but I still had a good time. The band had a fiddler who played some lovely pieces and then their drummer did a solo, which my mom enjoyed as she loves drums. We left only because we still had to get some groceries before heading home, but I must admit that next time I'll dress warmer!

Friday, 23 November 2007

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Roar for Powerful Words

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Random has awarded me this award. Thank you Random! :-)

The rules are:
The people given this award are encouraged to post it on their own blogs; list three things they believe are necessary for good, powerful writing; and then pass the award on to the five blogs they want to honour, who in turn pass it on to five others, etc etc. Let’s send a roar through the blogosphere!

Random's three things were great and I'm reprinting them here..

Three Things I Believe Are Necessary For Good Powerful Writing:
1. The desire
to write
2. Discipline
3. Knowledge of random things


Now mine...
Three Things I Believe Are Necessary For Good Powerful Writing:

1. The passionate need to be heard
2. Honesty - being true to your own voice
3. Discipline (Random's right! writing is hard work)

Now for handing the award on to five others...
I want to dedicate this award to those people I know who I feel truly deserve (or need) this award, regardless of whether they blog or not. So I'm cheating and adding some folk who don't blog, but truly deserve this award.

These are my five nominations:
1. The "clan" - for being brave enough to allow every voice in the group a chance to be heard and claim their own power. You are ALL top of my list!

2. Dennis - for being a powerful writer who sometimes needs reminding that his own personal voice is as important, and should be as powerful, as the words he writes.

3. Victorya - for weaving such power into her present by having the courage to expose the vulnerabilities of her past.

4. Minna - for thinking she is a murmer when she's really a roar that makes the Earth smile and the angels sing.

5. and Robb, whose voice has roared across continents and news media in the unending effort to bring about positive change for the country he loves.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Reunions

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Photo by Clara Natoli

Last week an old school friend managed to hunt me down on the internet. (Hi Sheri!) We haven’t seen each other in a long time, but writing to her felt just like it used to when we wrote notes to each other in High School. Okay... I “wrote” notes, she typed them. Most of our written conversations happened when she was in typing class and supposed to working! ;-)

Someone else I know found an old lost love from High School online last week, but in her case the surprise was less appealing. Her move-star look-alike ex-boyfriend is now a little saggy, a lot chubby... and bald. She had been planning to try to arrange a reunion - now she’s not so sure!

Some reunions are wonderful - you get to catch up, you chew over all the old memories and you remember why you liked each other so much in the first place. Or, like my other friend, you realize some dreams are better remembered from afar. ;-)

Seven years ago my High school sent out letters inviting us all back for a school reunion. I’m not a fan of forced reunions. I declined their invitation, but I did answer their request to “give them my details for their magazine”. That letter has been on my mind today, as I was busy exchanging info with my long-lost friend. I was rereading (saved on my computer) and thought I’d share it here. Some of it is too personal to make any sense in a general blog, but most of it would probably fit anyone’s high school memories.


Hello everyone!

I doubt that many will remember me, I certainly tried my best NOT to be remembered back in those days! At the end of my 5 years at High School I doubt if even a dozen people really knew anything about me, but it never bothered me, I knew me and that was all that ever mattered. I was never sent to detention, not because I was good but because I was never caught out. I never saw the point in deliberate rebellion.

I have no regrets. I never liked school much, but then why should anyone? It’s a most unnatural state. I would be very depressed if I were sitting here now writing to say that those were the best years of my life. And to all of you, please PLEASE, if any of you really do feel that High school was the best years of your life… GO OUT AND CHANGE YOUR LIFE! School was a foundation, not a vocation. Remember the happy times, forget the lousy ones, and move on. How sad it must be if the only triumphs we were ever to have were from our school days. I do hope that most of you have grown more than that. I know I have.

When I sat at the final assembly I remember looking around at everyone and feeling a deep sadness that this time in my life was over, but I felt no urge to try and prolong it nevertheless. Life is all about change and it’s subsequent loss and that is something that is better embraced than denied. I have no desire to know what has become of those I knew back then. They are my past, not my present and most definitely not my future. I walked out of School with no dreams or wishes, strange as that may sound. I always wanted life to be an adventure, a surprise, and as such I had no fixed paths for my future. And the past 20 years have been all I could have hoped - terrible, wonderful, boring and bizarre but never EVER predictable. I have done things that the schoolgirl me never imagined, experienced joys she had no notion of and suffered calamities way beyond her basic fears. They have made me who I am today. I like who I am today, I like what I have become and what I stand for. Who can ask for more than that?

What of the past 20 years? If I were to write at length on what I’ve done I’m sure it would bore you all, I know it would bore me! Who really cares anyway? At school I was most likely remembered for what I did rather than what I thought. That makes it seem appropriate now to end by being remembered for what I think rather than what I’ve done.

So to all of my year classmates - God bless, good luck and go well. I hope you all are living lives you enjoy, even if they’re not the ones you were dreaming of back then in High School.

...

Sunday, 11 November 2007

For Remembrance Day...

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Today is Remembrance Day, but today has other special meanings for me. Today is also "UDI" - the day Rhodesia declared its own independance, but - more personal and more important to my family - today is the day my grandfather chose to pass away. I say "chose" because I have no doubt he picked the timing deliberately, if not consciously.


For you... gramps. :-)

...

Friday, 9 November 2007

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Happy Blog Anniversary!

Almost exactly two years ago (late October 2005) Prema asked me to join her on her blog Kombai. She was writing about her Indian childhood, from England, and I would be adding memories of my African childhood, from Scotland. In honour of our journey together (so far) I am posting this in both blogs.

For two years we have compared very different childhoods and discovered that some truths truly are universal:

1. Childhood emotions feel the same in any language… or culture.
2. There is always a spiteful kid or bully at school.
3. You will inherit physical features you rather wish you hadn’t.
4. You will pick up character traits and family mannerisms you rather wish you hadn’t … no matter how much you don’t want to!
5. There are always perfect childhood moments you never forget.

And…

6. You cannot escape family (who you are) no matter how far you travel.

When I joined Kombai I wrote "Dog of the Wind" for my introduction:


Hello!

Since Prema asked me to join here and write I thought maybe my first piece should be an introduction to who I am. The simplest would be to say "I am a mongrel". For a long time that worried me, but in recent years I've realised there's a lot of joy in being a mongrel.

I was born in Africa in a British colony. At first I thought I was British. Well... for three years I WAS British, but then Southern Rhodesia declared it's own independence and I became a member of a rebellious non-acceptable country instead. Then Rhodesia became Zimbabwe and they took away my nationality. Now I belong nowhere. I thought I was British, but then I did my family tree and found that I had as many ancestors walking Europe and the Middle East as I had in the British Isles. I thought I was Christian, but when I went to school my religious teacher told me my beliefs weren't "right" and researching our family tree led me to distant Muslim cousins in Turkey, one Buddhist, some Jewish family in America and way too many Christian variations to list.

I have thought a lot of things only to find out they were illusions. The truth is I am a mongrel. I have no country I can hold as my ancestral home, not even a single continent I can claim as "mine". I have no single religion that runs through my family history alone. When I look in the mirror I see my grandmother's Irish face, my grandfather's Scottish nose, my father's English hair.. and in all this European-ness I have Persian eyes from some long lost ancestor.

There's a saying in Southern Africa - to be a "dog of the wind". Something homeless and restless, a person who has no roots. I am a dog of the wind and it can feel lonely. For a while it made me feel rather lost, but then I remember the blessings it brings me. If I belong to nothing I can also belong to everything. If I stand with my ancestry on different continents I can be a bridge between different cultures. I can enter many places of religion and find God... at times like that it feels good to be a mongrel. :-)

So I'm going to write from my own mongrel viewpoint. My British-Colonial mixed-up cultural muddled-religious self. I hope it will entertain more than it offends, but mostly I hope it helps to add another layer to prema's wonderful stories of her own culture and childhood memories.

This year both Prema and I became British Citizens. Perhaps no longer “dogs of the wind”, but our childhood memories and our ancestry will always play a part of who we are… and who we continually grow to become.

Thank you, Prema. It has been an honour to share blog space with you.

Community Blogger Award

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Amel of Amel's Realm nominated
me for this award.
She says:


This award recognizes those bloggers who “reach out and make the blogger community a better one.”

Thank you Amel, for reminding me of what really matters - people and community. :-)
...

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Taking a Break - UPDATE

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Hi friends and Readers,
It has been over a week since I last wrote anything here - my apologies for that. At the moment I have nothing in my head to put into words, so I'm going to take a break from blogging.

Two weeks ago we recieved the sudden and unexpected news that our landlord wants his house back to live in. Trying to plan packing and finding a new place on top of planning Christmas (gifts, cards, food...) is just too much for my old brain! It has ceased to function in any coherent form.

Thank you for reading me and supporting my blog. You've all been fantastic!
UPDATE:
Several friends and readers have asked me to please not stop writing, so I will try my best to keep my brain functioning and my blog going.
...
((((GROUP HUG)))))
...
...to everyone who wrote to say they care. :-)
...

Friday, 26 October 2007

Song for the weekend - Unwritten

UNWRITTEN
~ Natasha Bedinfield ~

...No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins..

The rest is still unwritten.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Branching out...

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Last week I had my tree read by Genie. If you draw/doodle a tree - send it to Genie and she'll tell you what it says about you. She did such a smashing job that I'm posting her reading here so I can add my own comments properly.
This person put a lot of detail into their tree. While not a stickler for details, s/he’s certainly capable of paying attention to detail and cares about how things get done. Notice also how you can see all the branches, the leaves seem only to be at the tips of the branches. This is an honest person. The more branches you can see in a tree, the more open and honest a person tends to be. This is not to say that a person who covers their branches is dishonest, just so you know.

Very true about getting things done. I like paying attention to things, but I don't get bogged down in details. Prime example is my housekeeping: it gets done, but on my terms and times - I rule the house, the house does NOT rule me! ;-)


The tree has plenty of room all around it and, except for being drawn so far to the right, it is a well balanced tree. This person probably plans well, and doesn’t run out of time for paying bills or finishing things s/he’s committed to doing.

I'm sitting laughing here! This is so true. If we have the money I pay the bills a month ahead. As for commitments... if I have doubts I'd rather say "no" than make a promise I might not be able to keep.

The tree floats on the page, it’s not planted down at the bottom of the page. This is a person who can be spontaneous, s/he can take off and do things at a moment’s notice but not without certain comforts. This is the kind of person who probably packs plenty of things in a suitcase, even for overnight. While the tree floats (spontaneity) it has also been given some lovely ground to grow in, it’s from this that I see while s/he can take off suddenly and doesn’t fear sudden change, s/he probably still must take plenty of home with him/her when s/he goes.

Well... I met my husband online and agreed to marry him within one month, then I travelled to the other side of the world to meet him and see his country. A year later we married and I moved countries. I took as many of my possessions with me as possible. I had to leave things, but I took my recipe books, my stones (I collect plain old stones, not crystals. I love river and seas stones the best), and as much "home comfort" stuff as I could.

The roots are exposed and very structured. The ground doesn’t cover them up at all. This person’s family roots are important to how s/he defines herself today. There was likely a lot of family structure in early childhood.

Oh, spot on! in fact I co-write a blog on those strong family roots - Kombai.
Lovely spiraled knots appear on the tree’s trunk. These denote two traumas in the artist’s life. What is a trauma to one person may be rather insignificant to another, so it’s difficult to define the nature of these traumas. For the artist, these traumas were significant when they happened and had a big affect on them. The first happened rather early in life, I didn’t get the artist’s age with this tree, but I would guess that it happened in the first five years. Time is difficult to judge in tree drawing and it’s possible that it happened anytime up to the age of ten, I just get the feeling it was earlier than that. Without knowing the artist’s age it’s difficult to pinpoint.

Tricky one.. at first I hadn't a clue, but then it hit me. The biggest trauma I can think of was a dog I loved being hit by a car and killed the night my parents took me to a Christmas pantomime. I'm not sure how old I was when Tammy died, but I was definitely under the age of eight. I'd say she stands out as the biggest trauma in my early childhood.

The second trauma was more recent, in the last five to ten years I would guess. My tree drawing analysis instructor once shared a story with us, relating to knot-holes and traumas, about a man whose trauma turned out to be having his bike stolen from him. This doesn’t sound very traumatic, but it happened when he was a child and it was a shock to him, having his bike stolen was a huge betrayal in his life and caused him to stop trusting people in general.

I'd say probably 1998. We were burgled and I lost loads of stuff including a few very sentimental items. It was a night we'd spent at the hospital because the doctors thought my gran was dying. Came home to find the doors open, muddy footprints through the house and so much gone. Very traumatic time.
Spirals, however, are archetypal symbols of life and continuity. To me, these spirals say, “Yeah, it sucked when that happened, but that’s life and it’s okay.” From the spirals, I feel this person is worldly enough to take the bad with the good. In fact, such a pretty, gnarled, and deeply lined trunk show this person’s ability to see the beauty in all life. The trunk is strong, thick, and well rooted. This person has a huge well of inner strength and is not easily “blown over.”

My husband always says I'm one of the strongest people he's ever known - as in inner strength, not physical! I'd like to think he, and Genie here, are right in what they see in me. :-)

The branches are many and all of them reach UP! This person likely has many interest and is definitely interested in learning from life’s experiences, including the losses.

That's exactly how I feel.

And there have been losses. I count four falling leaves, falling leaves mean loss. I don’t know that there were four major life losses, the artists is obviously a true artist and these falling leaves could just be artful touches. I would guess that there have been some losses, however. But this is no stretch, who hasn’t experienced loss? One of these falling leaves is on the left side of the tree—this is the past. The other three falling leaves are more recent. I would guess that there was one significant loss in the past and a few recent ones as well. Like life traumas, losses can span a wide range of things from the loss of things, pets, spouses, and deaths.

There have been so many losses, it's hard to say. Past losses.. I lost my homeland when I was ten. My dad's dad died when I was two and then there were three pets who died as well as Tammy before the age of ten.

There were so many family deaths during the 80s and 90s... most memorable would be my granddad in 1990 and my gran in 1999, my cousin killed in an accident in 1997 and my great uncle murdered in 1989? I think it was 89.

Then being burgled was a literal loss in 1998 and moving to Scotland was a semi-loss of leaving an entire continent, friends, family.. the Southern Hemisphere. Sounds daft, but I really deeply missed the loss of a Southern night sky. The stars are all different in the North.

Which losses count amongst the falling leaves? Not sure. Remembering how I was feeling drawing the tree I'd say those leaves are symbolic of all the losses rather than depicting any particular ones.

The placement of the tree indicates a certain identification with the father or with male peers. There may be a certain resentment or a wish to disconnect somewhat from the mother’s influence. Despite the rightward tree placement, this is a very well balanced tree, which is indicative of a very well balanced person.

I have always felt more relaxed in male company than female and I do tend to identify with my dad. I can't say I resent my mom, but I did resent my mom's mom at times. My gran was a very strong personality and strong people aren't always easy to get on with. I adored her, but I did resent her trying to control or influence my life. Added to that her family ancestral line is one of feuds, fights and tragedies that have echoed through generations of family. Just this year I had a friend do an ancestral cleansing/blessing for me to remove some of that ancient negative influence. At the moment I've been busy tracing the literal history of that maternal lineage, so it's on my mind a lot. I'd say the need to disconnect comes via this maternal line rather than being literally maternal.
The openness of the crown shows a friendly extrovert but the crown is ultimately “closed” with the addition of foliage showing that the artist feels a need to create a certain buffer zone between his/herself and others. This could be defined as a naturally friendly person who exercises discretion and a certain amount of control in how s/he allows energy to flow between self and others.

Oh wow... That last sentence is me totally: "...a naturally friendly person who exercises discretion and a certain amount of control in how s/he allows energy to flow between self and others."

Bravo Genie, you did a brilliant job. :-)

Friday, 19 October 2007

Claiming your power

...
I was chatting to a friend recently about his personal "lightbulb moment". He had suddenly realised that he had to stop blaming his parents for his unhappy childhood in order to move on. Yes, he had an unhappy childhood. Yes, his parents were the reason why he was unhappy, but as long as he keeps holding onto those facts he can never move beyond them. They have become the cage that stops him from living a full and happy Present and Future.

I told him how interesting that was, because I had just heard from another old friend who had gone through some radical changes herself. Last time we saw each other her life was a mess. Now she pops back into my emails with a new job and a brand new life and, even more important, a new attitude. Before she always blamed others for her problems: the world, her employers, her childhood… Now her victim attitude is gone. She has claimed back her own responsibility for her life choices, and in doing so claimed back her own power.

None of us can ensure that our lives, or childhoods, are perfect, but we all do have one power that can never be taken from us. We all have the power to choose how we react to our life events. We cannot always control what happens, but we always have choice. There is always choice in blaming others. You can choose to hold on to blame, anger, fear, regret… or you can choose to let go. You can choose to be the hero of your own life story.. or the victim.

My male friend asked if I thought we needed another person to become a victim. It was a great question. I told him that I don't think we do. I think "victim" is a state of being - a sense of powerlessness. We can create it through anything. We can blame something less tangible like… bad health, the weather, our culture, our gender, or war. It does not have to be a literal person or persons. The only important thing to remember is that once we blame we hand over our power to the thing we blame. We say, "This *thing* is what holds me back" or "…has held me back." We give it the power and thereby lose our own power.

Pity is another way to destroy personal power. Sympathy is a lovely emotion, but pity can be very destructive. Sympathy says "I understand and will walk with you". Pity says "I see you as being a victim" and thereby strips away that person's power. There is also security in having no personal power, because power comes with moral responsibility.

So how do we learn to let go of being a victim? Like most things in life the answer is both simple and difficult. We just.. let go. We stop clinging to those things we blame. We can choose to stop being a powerless victim at any time, but I suspect we are sometimes too scared to. There's the fear of letting go of the known for the unknown freedom. So, like someone who thinks they are drowning, we cling in fearful desperation without realising that the very things we see as keeping us afloat are also the things that stop the currents from moving us forward.

Let go...
claim responsibility for your own self and float free...
you just might be surprised to find the shore closer than you ever imagined.
...

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

My Voice... Your Voice

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Amel has tagged me with a very interesting meme started by Mel of Monday Morning Power.

Why do we blog? I'm betting if you asked a million bloggers you'd get a million answers, but they'd all come down to one thing - we blog to have a voice. This meme is about adding your voice to the list of voices Mel is creating.

I'm tagging the following people:
1. Shastrix
2. Twilight
3. Genie
4. Blur Ting
5. Shan

If you haven't been tagged, but still want to join, please copy from **Start Copy Here** through **End Copy Here** and follow the rules.

**Start Copy Here**
We have a voice;
We must be heard;
Therefore we blog;
Now spread the word!

This meme is based on a recent post that was conducted asking the question “Why do you Blog?” and the rewrite “Why do you Blog? - Reworked.” The purpose of this meme is to tell our tales by spreading the reasons that we blog to as many sites as possible. We get to explain ourselves, direct traffic to our site and highlight our most important, most representative or most relevant post in an SEO favorable format. This will be a positive experience for everyone who wants to get involved. This will enable you to create a short advertisement for your site that will be spread across the blogesphere; a growing directory of blogs.This is an open meme. You do not have to be tagged to join in. All you have to do is follow the rules.Please let me know when you have added your site by leaving a comment on “Complete List” with a link to your post. This will insure an up-to-date list, giving you even greater distribution. You then have the option of copying the growing list back to your site.

Rules:
Create an inventive post title
Write a brief introduction to the meme.
Copy from “**Start Copy Here**” through “**End Copy Here**”
Paste into your post
At the end of the “*list*”, before “**End copy here**”, please add your name, site name (with link), a very brief description (2-3 sentences) of why you blog, and your most important, most representative, or most relevant post (with link.)
Tag at least 5 others to participate.
Leave a comment and a link to your post on “Complete List

*List*
My name is Mel and I am the Author of Attitude, the Ultimate Power, aka Monday Morning Power. I blog because I am passionate about happiness and living in the moment. I want to spread the concept that we are in control of our own lives and can choose how we act and react. My site is focused on the Pursuit, Capture, Care and Feeding of a Positive Mental Attitude. One of my most representative posts is “Happiness Vs. Human Nature.

I am Max and I offer weekly articles on MAX. Why do I blog? I do it because I want to share my thoughts with you guys. I present a new and interesting way of transmitting philosophical thoughts: funny, engaging and intriguing! My funniest, yet intriguing, post is "Don't you just love People?"

I am the Great and Powerful Baba Doodlius. My 100% factual blog The Thoughts and Sayings Of Baba Doodlius is intended to educate all of you curious readers about the Truth behind the Great Secrets of the Universe. I have the Truth! Can you handle the Truth? For a sample of my powers of enlightenment, read my Revelation of the terrible secret of Bigfoot, aka Don't get stepped on.

My name is Amelia and I am the Author of Amel's Realm. I blog because I need to voice everything in my world so that I won't explode. My site is all about thoughts, experiences, fears, problems, misadventures, hopes, and dreams of an introverted tropical girl in a foreign land (Finland). One of my most representative posts is On Trust and Relationship.

I am Geoff of Geoffandcarley.com and I blog for reasons as diverse and as fickle as my moods. Mostly I blog because I'm firmly convinced I've figured a few things out and that the world will benefit from my experience the same way I've benefited from others' experiences. One post that I feel captures my emotional involvement and my ire (but not my humor as much) is Decision time.

My name is Judy and I am the Author of ~~Sugar Queen's Dream~~. I blog because it's cheap therapy and I have something to say. I feel my most powerful post is called “The Myths of Smoking......

My name is Sindi and I have written a blog entitled Life is a roller coaster!. My blog is based on the ups and downs of everyday life. I started blogging because I was going through some hard times and I wanted to meet new people to talk to. I like to write and was hoping people might enjoy reading what I have to say. I think the most inspiring post I have written to date is We Effect So Many.

People call me the Midgetmanofsteel (although I’m neither a midget, nor made of steel). I am the sole author the blog Mental Poo: a mostly true and humorous account of things that have happened to me, are happening to me, or are just filling my head and taking up valuable space where images of women should be. You can get a sneak peek into my mess of a brain by reading “Raisins are People” – a true account of my son’s first field trip.

My name is Sandee and I have a blog called Comedy Plus. My blog is just for fun, and I started it to poke fun about everyday life. My reason for blogging is to have fun and meet new friends. I have done both beyond my wildest dreams. I have posted lots of jokes, but when ask what my favorite joke is, I always pick Anger Management

My name is Lynda. I blog to as a way to expose my writings and to spread my knowledge on the subject of love. My primary blog (I have 15) is lynda's loft. My favorite piece would be I LOVE..... I have over 300 original poems and posts dealing with the wonderful and painful world of love. I love love!

My name Adrian, although most of you probably know me as the Mighty Genie King. I am the author First Time Dad. I started blogging as a way to document my growing up pains as my wife and I raise our daughter. I hope that one day my daughter will be able to look at this and get an idea what life was like "back then". Now I blog about everything but the main focus is still the same! One of my favorite posts is Goodnight Sweetheart! Hello Basil! Eh...Who's Basil...

Hello, my name is Ann and I'm the author of A Nice Place in the Sun. I blog because I care about people and want to make them happy. My site is focused on humorous, inspiring, and nostalgic posts about life, children, and memories. My most representative post, or the post where I'm most myself is "The Craziest Experience Of My Life."

We are a team of writers, and everyone calls us NAFA, so that would be our name. We are the proud authors of NAFASG©™ - United And Dedicated Behind You™. Blogging, to us, is a form of spreading useful information and sharing our knowledge to every part of the world in order to contribute to the betterment of our global community. The post that we feel would be representative of our blog and the global community at large is The Sociological Interaction.

Hola! This is Mariuca and I blog because writing is what makes me whole. I write about anything under the sun from life, love, friends to cats and work. I tend to write best when under pressure and my personal favourite post from Mariuca is Love in Disarray.

My name is Susan and I am the Owner of ~~Wake up America ~~, which is a political, right leaning blog. I blog because I believe we need more voices out there to separate fact from fiction, to support our troops and to high light the lack of ethics from journalists today. I feel my most powerful post is called "Are You Proud to be an American......""

Here I am :-) My name is Mauro and I'm the author of 1 Million Love Messages ... maybe the biggest love challenge in the blogosphere. Why I blog ??? Because I believe that bloggers can make a difference in the world. That's my challenge! My favourite post it's (for sure) Adam Donkus & Lizzie's Love History."

Hi there World I am Aussie, the author of Little Aussie Cynic and I want to Breathe among others. I was recently asked:"Why Do you Blog?" this takes me back to the beginning... I started blogging in an attempt to get people thinking, using my cynical humour as a tool to make people laugh, think and at times get the blood pumping.... Each of my Blogs takes in a little peice of my varied personality but the one which discribes me best would have to be There is Always a Natural Way the latest edition to the Aussie Cynic Family...

I am Zubli Zainordin, in Total Happiness, I organize the Book Project blog and co-author Santa's Community Blog and Hall Of Fame Blog. I blog with the purpose of documenting about my self for my own reference, my future generations and friends who prefer to know me. I also share vital and valuable information entirely on total happiness. I believe in Santa Claus and I share the Spirit of Christmas within this Blog World. In addition I promote bloggers, their blogs, and invite them to share their blogging experiences, and together with Shinade, I review their blogs and award them with the Zubli and Shinade Recommended Read awards. Those who continuously show continuous blogging improvements shall be residence of the Hall Of Fame blog.

I'm Holly from Mama Pajama. I am a stay-at-home mom to my two year old son, Cameron. He is such a joy in our lives. I just stumbled across blogging after watching a television show. I wish I had found it sooner, as it has been so much fun meeting people all across the globe. It's my own place to share about my family, interests, likes, dislikes, etc. I love that I've found my own little circle of blog buddies that will read the stuff I have to say....as mundane or silly as it might be! LOL It's fun leaving others comments, and knowing that something I post or comment just might make someone smile that day. I'm already having a hard time turning off my computer at night, so I'm hoping to keep this blogging addiction under control. My favorite post so far is Lucky Girl.

I'm Kathleen of Invisible Keepsakes.Well, I blog because if I don't, I'll go mad and get very hard to live with. I need a tableau for my creative endeavours. I write poetry. That is to say, I am a poet. I'm not a great poet; nor am I a deep poet, but I love wordplay and creating images and entertaining people with my ideas and interpretations of events and news and random topics. I've written quite a lot of poems, some have even been published, but I think the one I would have you read is Bad Dawg #7 because I feel so strongly about it.

I am Beth or Skipper - whoever you are most comfortable with, and I author My Life Starts at Forty Two. I am really trying to turn my life and myself around - and become the best me that I can. It is not always easy with family, illness, etc, but I refuse to give up. This is my journal of journey. One of the best posts that I can use to describe me is The Decision.

I am Delirious the creator of Lifeonalimb. I always wished I could have my own little newspaper and write all of the columns myself. But since I probably wouldn't make enough money to pay for the paper to publish it, I decided to go the "free route" instead. I don't think this is my best post, but probably one that most people would enjoy; death-defying Stop in, check it out, leave a comment, then go get therapy.I am Bridget from "And Miles To Go Before We Sleep"

I am a stay at home mom of five young children, ages 1-12, three of which have special needs. Two of my boys are afflicted with Autism so it is a very busy household. I started bogging because our family moves around a lot and we ar very far away from our families and this was a great was to stay in touch with them. I met so many great people through blogging and I enjoyed it so much that I now feel like it's another job (one that I enjoy). My favorite post so far has to be The Old Tree In The Middle Of The Dry Desert

My name is Winsome Gunning and I am an artist who started blogging about `The Creative Process’ and `The Power of Listening to Silence’ on Winsome Gunning Art Walk. From my own listening to silence came A New Green Earthmy personal voice for green change. About DioxinAbout Simple Ways and A Green Earth are also my voices for green change. On these two blogs I publish contemporary green news from around the world.

I am the wily Blogolope, and I blog for fun and to get things off my chest and hopefully be funny. I created Blogolope because I thought it would be fun, simple as that. Blogolope to Assist Santa, Elves if a funny post. is an example of the issues about which I have felt compelled to write.

Hi, My name is Janice Ng & I'm the miracle mum from "This is a miracle". I started to blog to document the foot steps of my 2 boys : Amos & Zachary. With this blog, they are able to look back what they have been through: their joy, excitement, laughter, fighting, crying, screaming... etc when they grow up. One of my favourite post is "The loving brothers" on how the 2 brothers showed they tenderly care through a piece of strawberry cake!!

My name is Michelle of Crow's Feet . I started writing because I love words and wanted to make people feel... and think, but I soon realised that writing is about connecting. Because the more we connect to others - the more we learn about ourselves. I'm picking my post Small Miracles as representing who I am, why I blog... and why I love the internet.

**End Copy Here**

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Dinner Part Meme

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Amel has tagged me to do this meme. The rules as set out by Graham (the originator of this meme) are:


The idea is to work your way through the eight phases of the dinner party, answering all of the questions on the way - being as honest and creative as you wish. Once your homework has been completed, please nominate any bloggers who's "virtual" dinner party you would love to hear about.

1) The Dinner Party Theme: You have decided to hold a dinner party. When writing the invites you clearly state that fancy dress must be worn. Assuming that cost is no issue, who or what would you dress up as, and why?

I would pick a Halloween theme since we never celebrated Halloween in Africa and it always sounded good fun. Halloween is also my dad's birthday so we could really make it a BIG celebration!




If I'm cooking and being the hostess.. I'd go for not wearing a fancy dress costume. I have a tendency to be "accident prone". I am the one who puts her elbow in the butter or dips her sleeve edges into the gravy. I am the girl who got her shoe heel stuck in her dress hem and fell down stairs into the lap of a stranger at a disco.. so any costume would have to have no dangly bits, no sticky-outy bits and nothing I could accidentally trip on! I think I'd rather go for wearing something simple in black and add Halloween make-up. The full "dead vampire princess" look… maybe vampire teeth. * evil toothy grin*

2) The Invitations: This dinner party is for 6 people (including yourself), you are allowed to invite any 5 other people (either past, present, real or fictional), who would you invite and why?

Like Amel all I can say is.. "Only six? NOOOOOO!!!!! I have too many blogger friends to invite and I wanna invite 'em all and I wanna invite my WHOLE family too"

and.. Like Amel, I'm cheating and inviting all my extended family and internet/blog friends and THEN picking five "special" people. I'm picking people who are alive and dead.. since it is a Halloween party I figure I can add some ghosts. :-)


1. Leonard Nimoy
because I loved him as Mr Spock, but then was amazed at his poetry and then later even MORE amazed at his photography. I'd love to ask him about his photos.

2. M Night Shyamalan
Because I find his movies fascinating and think he'd be interesting to talk to.

3. The Dalai Lama
because he's wise and adorable. :-)

4. Jane Austen
I love all her books and her gentle feminine humour would be a nice addition to the table, I think.

5. My spirit-guide Sol
I figure he's been dead 500 years.. the guy could do with a good meal! Plus he's got a great sense of humour (he has to being stuck with me!) and I'd love to be able to literally hear and see him for one evening.


3) The Starter: You are preparing the menu, which dish(es) would you choose as the starter, and why?

For Halloween? it should be pumpkin soup! I'll cheat and get my orange colour with carrot and orange soup. It's not as rich as pumpkin and more refreshing.

4) The Main Course: Okay, now for the main course? and what drink would you serve with it?

Oh boy.. I hate choosing food for others. There's always a vegetarian, or someone with an allergy, or someone who hates whatever everyone else loves. If I was cooking purely for myself… I'd go for tender Scottish lamb stew with mustard dumplings. Served with brown rice and fresh vegetables.
Drinks? I'd have a good South African red wine for those that drink alcohol and a choice of fruit juices for those who don't. Probably red grape juice, apple and cranberry.

5) The Sweet: Finally, the sweet. Which would you choose, and why?

Full cream vanilla ice cream (they make wonderful real cream ice cream here!) and a choice of sauces and sprinkles. That way every guest can be creative and find something they'd like.

Sprinkles: dark and light chocolate, fudge "bits", diced fresh fruit, and toasted nuts.

Sauces: chocolate, caramel, strawberry, black cherry, Scottish heather liqueur (Hubby's favourite), Coffee liqueur (dad's favourite) and loads of whipped cream.

6) The Entertainment: The dinner party has gone swimmingly, everybody has had fun, conversation and drinks have been flowing all evening. At the end of the meal you announce that everybody should perform their 'party piece' (no matter how strange or pointless). What party piece would you perform?

Oh what a horrible thought! I'd much rather my guests all enjoyed laughing and talking than force them to do something that might make them, and me, feel stressed. No-one should feel stressed at a party, but.. since it is a Halloween theme.. I'd ask each guest to tell their favourite "scary story", preferably something from their own lives.


7) The End Of The Evening: The party is over, everybody has gone home, the house suddenly feels empty and quiet. Your eyes fix on the hi-fi in the corner of the room. You search though your CD collection to put on some music as you want to listen to one more track before your retire to bed. Which track would you play?

Dancing in the Moonlight, by Toploader. I love the song and it seems to fit the Halloween theme.

8) The Dinner Party Nightmares: Okay, so the "virtual" dinner party is over. Now for the real thing. Have you ever been to or hosted a dinner party during which something has gone wrong (either with the food, a guest or something else)?

I went to a New Year's dinner party with my parents when I was a teenager. This family friend had made a sweet of marinated grapefruit segments. I stuck a piece into my mouth and.. YEOW! It was unbelievably bitter. We were sat around a smallish round table so there was no way I could spit it out. I ended up swallowing it whole… fast. It was just horrible!

Tagging..
I'm not tagging anyone in particular. If you are reading this and want to join in, go ahead. :-)