Monday, 30 April 2012

Be a Door


I was looking for a Dirk Gently (the Holistic Detective series by Douglas Adams) quote this morning. They are such brilliant books - so funny and clever too. Anyway... I found another quote instead that I really love. It's about a chair that is fed up with people!
 
Here's the quote:
“It is difficult to be sat on all day, every day, by some other creature, without forming an opinion on them.
On the other hand, it is perfectly possible to sit all day, every day, on top of another creature and not have the slightest thought about them whatsoever.”

And I thought... that sums up some relationships. We talk about some people acting like "doormats" or how some selfish types "Walk all over you", but the chair understands that no-one notices you if they sit on you. 

It's hard not to end up as a chair... or a doormat. When people you love ask for help, or your boss keeps demanding too much from you, it's easy to fall into the trap of lying back and letting others sit on you. Then you give and they take... and eventually they end up sitting on you so long they forget you're there! 

 I think some people offer themselves up in love and trust so big they give ALL of themselves.  They open their arms wide, just like big comfy chairs. Thats' not a bad thing short term, it's lovely to have a friend who is "there for you", just like a cosy chair you can curl up in when you are scared or sad.



The problems start when people start to forget that chair people are real people with needs and feelings too... and they sit on them so long, so heavy... that they squash them down into doormats. Doormats end up worn out and thrown away.. replaced by new doormats. 

God never expects us to be doormats. He doesn't create anyone to be used by others or to give all of our self away. 

So how do loving caring chair people avoid becoming doormats... Maybe by becoming doors instead?
Doors open up, but they never change. No-one sits on doors or takes from them. Doors offer comfort by opening up... and showing new ways to go. They offer love, but they don't offer up themselves - they let the people they love move on. They let the people they love see that there is a whole wonderful world of possibilities beyond the doorway. Doors show people possible ways to take, but they don't go  with them on their journeys - those journeys are strictly the choices of the people who step through...

Sometimes it's nice to be a comforting chair, but long term it's far better to be a door than a doormat. 


Saturday, 28 April 2012

The Blood is Strong


Some music for the weekend, to celebrate a special anniversary. Ten years ago (and a day!) I arrived in Scotland, to meet my true love for the very first time. :-)

That very first weekend he took me for a drive all the way around Loch Ness. It took all day. I never knew how big Loch Ness was!

It was also back then that he introduced me to one of his favourite singers and groups - Karen Matheson and Capercaillie. He had a tape of their album The Blood is Strong, and we played it over and over that day. Loch Ness will forever echo in my heart to the songs on that tape, especially this one...


BUT...

what I never knew was what the song was about.Today I went and looked it up, since it is one of my all-time favourites. And today I found the lyrics in English. Here they are:

O my boatman, na ho ro eile
O my boatman, na ho ro eile
O my boatman, na ho ro eile
May joy await thee where 'er thou sailest!


I climb the mountain and scan the ocean
For thee, my boatman, with fond devotion
When shall I see thee? today? tomorrow?
Oh! do not leave me in lonely sorrow.


May joy await thee where 'er thou sailest!

Rather apt for two people who would have to part after that holiday, to be apart for almost six months before they'd meet again on the other side of the world.

The irony of that tape (and CD, I bought my own copy near the end of my holiday!) is that the songs were mostly written by Scots living overseas. It's an entire compilation of homesickness and longing to be 'home' in Scotland. I'd never thought to find translations until today. Now I'm reading them in English and feeling such a full circle of connections. I listened to these travelling around a land I'd never been to before and yet... I felt as if I'd come home.

Scotland called me, even before I ever set foot here, or fell in love with a Highlander... this land called me.I never knew until a year later when I drove past a beach I'd dreamt of years before in Africa. And in my dream it had been the past, there were ships with sails and I was a sailor. Did I dream another life I'd lived before of was it some ancestor's memories passed down to me? I have ancestors from Scotland.


Did the land call me or was it those ancestors calling me home? My mother's father's ancestors came from Scotland, but I'd never thought about the homesickness that those who left Europe must have felt...
It is a time of long times since I left Lewis.
I feel the winter night long,
Long, long, long it is,
I can see nothing but a bare prairie here,
And I can't hear a wave coming to the shore.
In the evening time when it's getting dark,
Often the spirit will be full of longing;
Thinking that there is a long, long distance,
From where I would like to be...

 Yes, the blood is strong. I never realised, this music that connected me to my "new" homeland and future husband - all that time it was also connecting me back to my ancestors as well.
Happy Anniversary, my True Love
and
happy anniversary, home of my blood.

xxxxxxxxxx

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Fu - ntastic!



Today I got a parcel in the post. It was small and brown on the outside, but inside the bubble wrap...

was a small wrapped parcel of pretty tissue paper



and...
inside the tissue paper was an even smaller gift bag


and inside the golden gift bag 
were earrings, just for me!  :-)




The Beckoning Cat (Maneki Neko) is a lucky charm from Japan. They are also known as lucky cats, money cats, and good fortune or happiness cats. There are several different legends about how the cat came to be the symbol of attracting luck, prosperity, and protecting against evil.

When the right paw is raised, it invites money into your life. When the left is raised, it invites people to a business or it helps the owner hold on to money already possessed. When both paws are raised, it means protection.

The Chinese character written in gold on these cat beads is "fu" and it means "fortune." The color blue invites intelligence. These cats attract success in academic study and career.

I love their little smiley cat faces and I love the "fu" luck.
I need more FU! ;-)
They're made by Patchwork Jewelry
She makes new things, from astrology earrings to steampunk necklaces, 
as well as selling gorgeous vintage jewellery.

...and finally, here I am doing some maneki modelling.
 

Thank you, Joanne, I love them!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Most Beautiful Thing

Link
This is written for the WOWH (Writing our Way Home) "most beautiful thing blogsplash" challenge:

Tuesday the 24th of April, we're having a Blogsplash to celebrate beautiful things, inspired by my new novel, 'The Most Beautiful Thing'.



People from all over the world will be writing about their own most beautiful thing.
My Most Beautiful Thing

What is my 'Most Beautiful Thing'? What would I pick? I had to think hard on that one. There are a lot of beautiful things in our world - Nature, music, love... but what would I pick for MOST?

Well... to answer that I need a few props, some patience and audience participation. Are you willing to give this a try? Good. :-) Go find a mirror, preferably small enough to have here by this screen you’re reading, but how you bring words to mirror is up to you. Print me out and tack me to the mirror in the bathroom, take your laptop to a mirror. Whatever works for you.

And no, you probably don’t know why I’m asking you, so do it first and then figure it out! ;-)

So, you’re by a mirror… look into it and tell me, what do you see? I know – you see yourself, but what exactly is your self?

Now at this stage some of you are looking at your reflection and thinking this is crazy because “I am too”. You know the list of toos?

too fat, too old, too bald, too different,

too darn UGLY to EVER be called beautiful!

(and then again the really vain are standing there thinking, “Oh my GOD, she’s so right!”)

Actually, you are all wrong.

I don’t care what you LOOK like, I care about HOW you look.

So do it – look.

No, I’m not crazy… LOOK. Not at wrinkles or thinning hair, not at double chins or the wrong style of nose/lips/eyes/skin colour for the world’s latest cultural/fashion bias. I’m not talking about reflections. Reflections aren’t reality so they can’t be real beauty either, can they?

Look again.

What makes you here and able to look at this reflection in a mirror and comprehend both what you are looking at and the words that drove you to do this? What lies beyond the reflection?

If I created a perfect holographic 3D image of your face and body, maybe even “tweaked” it into the “perfect” shape/age/type it could never even come close to the beauty you are on the edge of seeing in that mirror.

Can you see it now? It’ll show in a change in your eyes as your brain does the “ohhh, I get it!” thing. It takes no words, no gestures to see that change. It’ll be there in your eyes at the moment you sees the beauty of reality in your reflection.

What word you choose for that beauty is up to you. I’m not picking one. Your word is yours alone, but for some who might want a hint I’ll name a few you might consider:

conscious awareness, Life essence, the human spirit, soul

You see, the word is inconsequential. It’s all about the essence that you are looking at right at this moment. That’s what makes you beautiful – that’s what makes you YOU.Isn't it amazing and incredible and... beautiful?

This

is my most beautiful thing.

Friday, 20 April 2012

The Moment from Mars

Today a friend reminded me of how a Mars Bar saved the day for me. For those who may not know - Mars Bars are a chocolate with a very gooey and chewy sort of soft nougat-caramel type middle. VERY sweet and not my usual snack, but now and then I do like one.

Well... this happened in the 1980s when, for no reason I can fathom, I had a spat of weird phone calls. They were all from an unknown female voice. Top be honest... I'd say two female voices. The calls were... odd. Not openly threatening, but odd enough to feel a bit creepy and menacing and definitely invasive. There are some truly strange people out there...



who were they? No idea! At the time I worked in a library in a small town and I worked part-time self-employed from home so my phone number was known to a large chunk of the town.

Anyway... the phone calls ended it the most weird way and all thanks to a Mars Bar.

I was home, enjoying my snack, when the phone rang. Since I did work from home and was waiting for an important call I dashed for the phone... with a mouthful of Mars bar I was desperately trying to "deal with" before I got there. *chewchewchew*

So... I answered the phone and there's my unknown female voice! She asked something in a sort of menacing tone, and I could hear the other female voice there too, egging her on in a whisper. I tried to answer, but I was still gummed up in Mars bar goo and my reply turned into...

"Fffwwwaaar"

Well, I just packed out laughing and the more the unknown women spoke after that, the more I laughed because my mars bar laugh sounded like,

"fwarrrharr-mwarrrharr-harr"

It was hysterical... and it was the last phone call I got. Obviously I scared them with my insane Mars Bar laugh.



Is it because men are from Mars and (odd) women from Venus? LOL
Now you know - if you ever have crank calls from weird women...
grab a Mars Bar!



Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Mist and Magic

It was very misty the other morning and the grass was so amazingly beautiful that I had to take photos. (click on them to enlarge and see the details)

It looks so magical in the mist...




...but wait till we get closer!



and closer...



...until you can see all the tiny dew drops
that were shimmering and sparkling as the sun struck them.



magical!


Monday, 16 April 2012

Cheeky!

Mr Blackbird was very annoyed last week... chattering away LOUDLY. He was so annoyed he never even moved when I went closer to photograph him.



Why all the noise? Because there are sparrows nesting near his territory, and it gets worse... Mr sparrow is collecting grass in the blackbirds' territory and even went and sat on the same gate as him too.

What a cheek!


Into the Woods...

...
A few weeks back, when the weather was good, we took a walk in the forest. I'd completely forgotten I had photos still in my camera until today. I've used one for my April banner photo - looking up at the sky.

We wandered around, trying several different paths...





It got surprisingly hot once you were sheltered in the forest.



We met people with dogs and even a few on horseback and one forest walker who was very reluctant to be photographed. Every time I aimed the camera... he ran like mad! But eventually, by being verrry slow and patient, I managed these photos:






The gorse was full of flowers and the birds were singing like mad. I wish I could catch the sounds and the mixed smell of pine and warm coconut gorse flowers.



It was a perfect day. :-)


Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Is That Why They Call it Post?

Queen Mimi has once again set forth a meme on... Procrastination. If you want to join in simply take the question and then add your blog URL to Mimi's page.

Procrastination: The art of putting things off. I call it an "art" because it rears its ugly head in my life on a daily basis. Did you notice that I am writing this meme at 7:50 PM??? I rest my case.

1. Have you ever procrastinated about something that had life or death consequences?

My first thought was actually about someone else's story. I have a dear friend who put off seeing her doctor, for various procrastinating reasons, and now she is dying from bowel cancer - a disease that is easy to deal with if found early. If your body nags and niggles you... don't procrastinate.

2. What is the biggest area of procrastination in your life?

Oh glory! Only one? So I can't put in not doing snail mail until the snails win the race (is that why they call it 'post'?), or dusting, or putting away laundry? (hubby just dashed past folding pillow cases - has it reallt been a week since they were washed!) Only one? Okay... then it has to be showering in the morning.

My brain is it's sharpest in the morning and that's when I'm most likely to write. I'll get up, grab a cuppa, go right to paper or computer and start writing. I do know I should go shower first, but I always tell myself I'll just write that ONE page/post/reply, but ... I'll carry on writing! I haven't yet reached the stage of Michelangelo who went to bed in his boots and off to paint the next morning for months on end, but... (looks down at caftan and furry slippers and blushes)

3. If you are not a procrastinator, can you give advice to the rest of us who are?

Think less - just do it.

4. Can you think of a time when you wish you had procrastinated and NEVER done what you were waiting so long to do?

Ohhh yes! I wish I never said "Yes" to requests from people you don't know well. I do it every decade or so... say yes without looking closer at exactly what I'm agreeing to. When asked to do anything or sign anything... ALWAYS HESITATE. Take as long as you need. NEVER rush a decision to offer help until you are sure the person genuinely needs help and isn't either a scam or a parasite looking for a new host.

5. What are you procrastinating about right now?

My next blog post for BOOKS UNCAGED. I know what I want to put in it, I'm just struggling with putting it into the right words. First attempt sounded too silly, so I saved it in a draft... Now I'm hiding from it.

6. Is it really ever too late to turn back now?

I don't know. Ask Capt Jean-Luc Picard. He always knows...

7. What is the cure for your wicked lazy ways?

I'm thinking bribes... "Pay me to not procrastinate" - I love it! Yes, I can do this. :-) I can. Or gifts? I'll take gifts too... if they're nicely wrapped.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Book Bugs and Blogs

My friend Betty and I have started a new blog. :-) It's called BOOKS UNCAGED and we intend to fill it with all things related to books, writing and publishing.

Come over and wish us good luck! :-)

Easter Wishes


Thursday, 5 April 2012

Seeds of Success

I found something I'd written over a year ago, saved in a file and forgotten. It seemed apt, coming up for Easter, so I'm posting it today.

Recently the topics of Manifesting and the Law of Attraction have been springing up everywhere I go. For those who aren't sure what those terms mean:

The Law of Attraction states that what we 'send out' is what we attract back. In other words; our prayers, wishes, dreams, desires... fears. You send out hate - you get back hate from others. You send out fear - the world sends you more things to fear. You send out Love - you are blessed with more love. :-)

Manifesting is the idea of taking this knowledge and using it to your own advantage. It seems very "New Age", but in actual fact manifesting isn’t a new concept. Around 2000 years ago a man named Jesus knew it well. He called it FAITH and promised that even a tiny amount could move a mountain.

The movie “The Secret” summed up Manifesting in three words – “Ask, Believe, Receive.”
Jesus, 2000 years earlier, summed it up in a very similar way:

"Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened."

Matthew 7:7

So, if it’s always been out there, and always available to us, how come we aren’t all busy moving mountains? Because society tends to be teach the complete opposite - that the only way to get anywhere in life is through hard work and struggle.

Our books and movie plots revolve around conflict and struggle. We love the drama of it. We are scared to let it go. It is the drug that makes us feel we are accomplishing something. We hold it up as a badge of honour. "I worked long and hard to get here," we say with pride. It's as if the amount of effort quantifies the amount of success. If humans are out there globally manifesting anything as a world consciousness... it's got to be struggle.

In spirituality this becomes: "Look how long it took me to reach this level of enlightenment. Look how long I studied, searched, sweated tears and to be redeemed."

Yet Jesus, who started a religion that can be quite obsessed with the hard work ethic, proclaimed we should be like the 'lilies in the field' who do not toil and yet are clothed in the Creator's beauty.


So the very man who started the Christian religion disagreed with the concept of struggle...

What could we create, what would we manifest, if we all gave up believing that we are here to struggle?

Monday, 2 April 2012

I'm on Kindle

I know I've been very quite lately, in big part due to my hands, but also because I've been busy getting my book, First Light, ready to put onto Kindle.

The longest struggle has been creating a new book cover. Last time I had to go with the Printer/Publisher choice of this...



Dull "blaaah" cover. :( Back when this first came out I did my own artwork to create bookmarks and a YouTube video as advertising. At least here I had a chance to create something I liked.



This time I wanted something that really expressed what the book is about - the world and its people. So I worked on created a city that fitted the capital city and that took AGES, but I'm really thrilled with the results. I even got in the dock front (far right), where two of the main characters are destined to meet up. :-)

Then I added in the mountains, which are important, and the two moons, because they're fun and point out that this world isn't Earth, and then I added Daen's face, because she just brings it all together. The fonts gave me grief too. I forgot the fact that Amazon link pictures are thumbnails - on a thumbnail my first font vanished and my second became a blob. :-(

So... FINALLY, after months of slow and painful work, (painful thanks to my hands and my fusy arty perfectionism!) here it is, my new cover:



The actual book (writing) transference was... interesting. They tell you it's a case of take your word doc, save it as html webpage, send it to them, but inbetween lies a whole range of formatting and coding errors that can boil your brain! Hubby and I took two full days to get the manuscript completely error free. Then I had to wait as Amazon checks all the legalities, such as "do you really own this book?", "Do you have publishing rights?", etc.

Well... it is finally up, on ALL the Amazon Kindle stores from the America to France. :-)



I even have an author page!

I'm so thrilled, and so relieved all my months of hard work has finally reached an end. Now the equally hard, but more fun side begins - advertising! Amazon already has me connected to Shelfari, which was very nice of them. I want to update my YouTube video for the book with a new, better version, but I promise not to leave my blog so ghostly empty this time.