Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Valuable Gifts

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I was tidying up my blog the other day and found something I'd written in one of my old Newsflash posts that got me thinking all over again. In Spring I wrote:
Money isn't the problem - it's how and what we choose to value that's the problem. When we value new over enduring and flashy over beautiful. Money is merely a symbol of how we value the world around it and our fellow man. What's disturbing in the modern world is how distorted those values can become, but that isn't money's fault.

If we choose to accept that a "celebrity"earns millions and many dedicated hard-working people not enough to live on... that's not money's fault - it's our value system.

If we choose to spend on items we don't need, purely because the media say we have to have them... that's not money's fault - it's our value system.

The power of good or evil lies in what we choose to value, not in the inanimate.
It got me thinking about Christmas and gift-giving. It's perfectly natural to want to show your friends and family how much you love them at times like Christmas. There's no better feeling than watching the delight on the face of someone who has just unwrapped your gift and there's no nicer feeling than finding an unexpected card or gift box in your mail...


...but sometimes it seems as if the modern world is trying to make us believe that the true measure of our love for each other is best counted in bank notes.

Sometimes I worry that with all the media hype we're in danger of forgetting that it's not about how much we spend. It's about how much we want those we love to understand how much we value them; and sometimes we can choose the easy route of just wrapping any old thing for that relative we love instead of giving them what they'd really treasure - a visit when they're lonely, a thank you for all they've taught us, a hug when they're feeling sad...


I'm betting everyone reading this knows of someone who'd really appreciate a visit more than a gift, or a phone call more than a card. And we always mean to get around to it... but somehow it's just so much faster and easier to send the box with the card saying "love from..." than actually take the time and energy to go over in person.

I know, I'm as guilty as anyone. I have a friend in her 80s who phones and hints for a visit. She lives quite far from us so I phone... and I send a card every Christmas when I know she'd much rather have me there having a cuppa and a good chat.

So here's my Festive challenge to us all - this year I'm challenging everyone to spend less... but do more! Whether it's just picking up the phone to call that old aunt you tend to avoid because she never stops talking or whether it's going over to help your neighbour with that task you really know he needs help with. Or maybe volunteer for a day. This year there are hundreds of charities who need help in all sorts of ways.


Give a gift that really is beyond value this Christmas - give your self.
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Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Autumn Photos

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...with a difference.

I've put our Autumn photos into a YouTube presentation.


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Monday, 22 November 2010

Newsflash November

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I used to do a newsflash at the end of each season, but this year I missed out on summer in all our mayhem and now it's rapidly nearing winter. I'm way overdue!

Many of the photos I'm using here are ones I promised a while back - photos I took of Aberdeen when we were there with dad in hospital. Sadly every one of them came out blurry as there was a problem with my camera. In a way it is pretty apt; all our time spent in Aberdeen feels kind of fuzzy looking back...

Nature Entertainment Wise words Spirit
Family Lessons Artist Smiles Home



NATURE

Last time I wrote in spring we'd had Bunny Boy (Bunny Girl?) return for the year with... two tiny babies! Over this year we've watched them grow up and it's been a delight to see that even a creature as "everyday" as a wild rabbit has character. Over the summer two fuzzy blobs grew into two distinct personalities - Flopsy (who would drape and snooze anywhere) and Cottontail (hyper energetic and given to trying to tease other rabbits into games of chase-me). I'm pleased to say we do still see them now and then, but as winter comes in the rabbits go out - back into the wild places. Be interesting to see who returns next spring!

Otherwise the biggest Nature treat was when we spotted a whole flock of waxwings last month. They migrate here from Scandinavia. We stopped the car on the road side and I managed to take this photo. It was through the window (hence the reflections), because I didn't want to scare them.


ENTERTAINMENT

The best entertainment in Summer was going to the Speyfest music concert for my birthday. I'll never forget it. :-) It was such a fun night.


The best entertainment for Autumn has got to be Blogblast for Peace, even if I was offline on the day! Do go look at the list of participants HERE, there are so many fantastic entries this year.


WISE WORDS
My Wise Words choice are always from a fellow blogger. This time I'm picking my friend, Amel,

"I was once browsing for some food recipe and I noticed that in the comment section somebody started a HEATED debate between non-pork eaters and pork eaters. And as usual, once a couple started that debate, more and more people chimed into the argument and they started calling names and stuff.

I mean...HELLO?!?!?!?!?!

The recipe writer only wanted to SHARE recipes, but that was the "junk" she got in return? She didn't even write anything "controversial". It angered me to read all those nasty comments. I just wanted to shake them all and say, "What the HELL do you think you're doing here??? Can't we all be decent human beings who agree to disagree? Why do you have to attack one another like that?"

Sometimes I'm just sad at the nature of human beings, including myself. It's just so easy to spread "junk" without thinking first. When you're struck, your first instinct is to strike back. No wonder the world's never going to be able to enjoy true peace. That doesn't mean to say that we shouldn't try to create peace as much as we can, though. I'm also not saying that we should all lie and shut up and that we shouldn't express ourselves or rant if we need to, but we should all restrain ourselves to some degree, even in cyber world, esp. when it comes to throwing junk to other people's "areas" (blogs, video posts, recipes, etc.)
"

SPIRIT
This year the biggest spiritual lesson for me has been realising that miracles can come through my refusing to believe in bad things.

Sometimes trying to have faith and keep trusting in good gets a bit scary, especially when you have all sorts of drama thrown at you - money worries, health worries, etc.... we've had them ALL this year, as have so many of my friends. You can start to feel like this is how life is always going to be, but when dad took ill we all said, "No WAY is this ending badly!" and we fought back with faith that came from refusing to believe in gloom and doom.




FAMILY
Last time I did a newsflash I wrote,
"Spring has been pure chaos. All four of us have had some form of test and at least one trip to the hospital."

Little did I know it would get worse. Since then we've had all of us in and out of doctors, dentists and specialists and then the biggest shock of all... the only healthy person in the family , dad, gets rushed in to hospital and nearly dies. Every one of the tubes and wires in this photo were attached to dad... and that was BEFORE they moved him to the Intensive Unit in Aberdeen.


It has been surreal to say the least...

Dad's due for a check up next week, so we'll find out then what the doctor thinks about his recovery so far. I had foot X rays last week and am waiting for the results. It's the foot that started them thinking I have fibromyalgia. It hurts to put weight on or walk and I'm really struggling some days.

Mom will be going in for surgery in January. It was going to be end of November, but she asked to postpone as with dad home recuperating, Christmas a month away and me having problems it felt all too much. Hubby had X rays for an old back injury in August, but he hasn't been back to the doctor to see about them yet as right after that dad took ill and we have just been too busy. He says he'll go when things are calmer... and I'll keep reminding him. ;-)


LESSONS

The lessons for Summer and Autumn? My biggest lesson was that when you come close to losing someone in your family you realise how some things you thought mattered really don't. I'm not worrying as much nowadays. Money worries and possessions seem really trivial by comparison.


ARTISTMy Artist choice for Spring is blogger, Bryan. I love his calendars for 2011. :-)


You can order them HERE.


SMILES
Just...


HOME

Home reminds me of a very amusing sign I saw in Aberdeen. Sadly the photo didn't come out clearly, so I'll have to explain what it's about. The sign was up on a pole outside a Burger King place on Aberdeen beach front. It reads,

"HOME OF THE BIG WHOPPER!"

So what makes this so funny?
...there's a rabbit warren entrance at the bottom if that sign.

Aberdeen Bunnies are big and brawny and proud of it! ;-)



This photo above is of the road from where we were staying going back in to Aberdeen It seems to sum up the journey of this entire year - long, kind of bumpy with unexpected twists. It stretches out into the distance... leading where?

Where will I journey next year? Where will you be on your life road? Who knows! All any of us can do is hold onto our map books and hope for good weather and safe roads but even more important - you need good travelling companions. :-)

I've had excellent company this year, both in my literal travels with my family and in my online 'travels' with friends. I'm very grateful for both...



Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Autumn Wonders

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Two weekends back hubby and I took our cameras and went out to take some photos of the autumn colours - gold, copper and orange everywhere you looked. Some of the trees were so bright they looked like they were on fire.
We weren't the only ones out enjoying nature. There were quite a few people taking photos and lots of birds everywhere we went. We also bumped into some Scottish 'wildlife' in the woods. ;-)
I had to call out, "Hello" twice to get him to turn and have his photo taken. Mind you, I can't blame him for being distracted by all those amazing trees and autumn leaves to sniff through.
After that we took a walk through another forested area.
Looking back down the road you can just see a cottage tucked into the woods.
Some of the leaf colours are beyond description...
Along the road into town we stopped in a parking area to take photos back down the road...
and on up the road...
Autumn is definitely my most favourite time of the year! :-)
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Saturday, 13 November 2010

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Remember...

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It felt appropriate to take a side step on Remembrance day this year, especially since my theme for Blogblast for Peace was to "Be the Change" by refusing to believe any situation was hopeless.

In our area of Scotland a new 'battle line' is forming as people group together refusing to believe in unavoidable loss. As part of the government’s budget cuts one of our local RAF air bases, Kinloss, is being closed early next year. The fate of the other base - RAF Lossiemouth, is very uncertain.

...but the folk of Moray refuse to give up hope. All kinds of petitions and action are being organised to help save RAF Lossiemouth. Just last Sunday (7th Sept) a march was held in the town of Lossiemouth. Over 6,000 people attended, including ex-RAF pilot, Colin McGregor (sometimes better known as Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor's brother), Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, and leaders of other political parties.



It might seem strange for a 'Peace Bee' blogger to be talking about saving an RAF base, but this is about far more than the obvious. Lossie is also the home of the search and rescue helicopters that regularly pluck the desperate and injured from mountains, cliffs and sea. Kinloss has been the aeronautical rescue coordination centre for all of the UK (police, fire, ambulance and coastguard) since 1997. Both Lossie and Kinloss air bases have been filmed in the TV show "Highland Emergency". You can find their fan page, and past episodes on YouTube HERE.

During World War II it was bases like Lossiemouth and Kinloss that helped to save the war and they helped to keep the Peace during the Cold War years too. Lossie is most famous as the home of the 617 “The Dambusters” Squadron (12 Nov 1944), but if both the bases shut we lose far more than just a portion of world history. Nowadays they also guard the coastline from more subtle enemies - illegal fishing and drug smugglers. The RAF bases of Lossiemouth and Kinloss have been a part of the community of Moray for over sixty years. The people from the bases work here, live here and have interwoven their lives into the area for generations. If Moray loses both bases the economy of the area will suffer... their will be civilians amongst the casualties of cutbacks.

So for this Remembrance day I'm asking my readers to not only remember the past, but also the future. When you think of those that have died for Peace you need to remember those still alive who work for it - especially those who are about to be made redundant.

Lest we forget... the living count as much as the dead.

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Friday, 5 November 2010

We're Offline :-(

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I'm here via a phone so can't hang around long. Our broadband went down early on 4th Nov morning (great timing hey, Mimi?? *rolls eyes*)

Love to everyone. So wish I'd made Blogblast for Peace day Live. Phooeey!!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Dona Nobis Pacem 2010 - Be the Change.

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2010 has been a year of upheaval, natural and manmade, for many including my own family, but deep within all that struggle and stress has lain an unexpected buried treasure - the gift of disbelief.

Faith may move mountains, but refusing to believe in limitations is what moves people.

In August this year 33 Chilean miners found themselves trapped deep within the Earth. As the whole world knows from bitter experience all mining disasters end in death and tragedy, but not this time! This time everyone refused to believe they wouldn't succeed. The families of the miners refused to leave ‘Camp Hope’ until every miner had been freed, the government refused to let the men die without trying everything to rescue them… and the world refused to stop hoping for a miracle.

They proved to the world that ordinary people really can do extraordinary things...

when they refuse to believe in inevitable failure.

On the very same day that the Chilean miners were being freed from the bowels of the planet my dad was getting ready to come home after a full month of being in hospital. A full month of having medical experts warn him, and us, that he was going to die… probably soon. He could have given up, we could have started preparing for the worst, but it just didn’t make sense that a healthy active man could fall ill and fade away in a mere month.

We refused to believe this fate was inescapable and that gave us, and dad, the strength to demand a new doctor who refused to believe too. This doctor was willing to try a little longer and experiment a little further. So, like the Chilean families, we set up our ‘camp’ as close to the hospital as possible and we kept on keeping on until dad was sent back home to us.

Sometimes you have to be willing to fight for what you refuse to believe in.

I do understand that all stories don’t end in miracles, but why shouldn’t we refuse to believe that all of them have to end in tragedy? My first Peace Globe day (2008), I wrote:

The truth is that as much as we may talk of Peace, pray for Peace or Blog for Peace, we cannever achieve anything unless we start from the simple truth that it has to begin from within. You cannot change the world to change people – people have to change themselves in order to change their world.

This year I realised that it’s is not enough to believe in peace and change -

you have to also refuse to believe in things staying the same.

We have to refuse to believe that we are doomed to continually repeat the mistakes of history – whether that be on a personal, national or global level. Can we refuse to believe in war in order to bring about peace? I don’t see why not. Gandhi refused to believe that violence would bring freedom and he certainly managed to change the world. ;-)

I saw the most gorgeous headline on the internet recently. It was on NASA’s news website: "Transcending Distance to Make a Difference." That’s what this day is about for me, what Mimi’s marvellous idea has become - all of us transcending distance to make a difference, because we refuse to believe that we are too small, insignificant or ordinary to make a difference.

It’s not just what you believe in that matters - what you don’t believe in matters even more!

I don’t believe in failing,

I don’t believe in giving up,

I don’t believe this world is doomed...

how about you?

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Tomorrow is B Day!

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Tomorrow is "B" day - Blogblast for Peace 2010 has finally arrived. I thought I'd never make it properly this year, with all the madness our year has brought us all, but I'm actually ready and excited.

Tomorrow I'll be BLUE, but in a good way. ;-)

Here's a taster of what other 'Peace Bees' and Blogblasters are doing for the day...



See you tomorrow! :-)
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Monday, 1 November 2010

GOING BLUE - Are You Too?

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It is now only 3 days till Blogblast For Peace is Nov 4th this year. On Facebook, on blogs and on Twitter people are going


to get the message through!


There's still time to join in and turn the world blue!

On Nov 4th I'll not only be putting up my Peace Globe ... I'll also be adding a few surprises. You'd better come back to find out for yourself! ;-)

To give you a hint... my message for Blogblast 2010 is in this picture (with thanks to Daisy)

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