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friendship

There is so much talked and written about friendship. It is one of the greatest gifts you can give to someone.  It warms your heart, it is a place you can go to when you hurt and someone you can trust to hear your every thought when you are so confused you don’t know what to do.  It is one of the rarest treasures to be found.  It cannot be bottled or sold, it must be earned, because friendship is based on trust.

It can also shred your heart into pieces, leave you devastated and betrayed and make you want to curl up and forget you woke up that morning.

This is not confined to friends or acquaintances, it can also be family, loved ones. The people you most likely will never expect to ‘turn on you’ in your time of need.  Let’s face it, with the stresses and strains of modern life we all need more than a casual shoulder to lean on.  We need to know that if we have placed our trust and faith in a friend that they will not find something more interesting to do when you call and need to talk.

Perhaps it’s just me, I’m no longer sure. I may be too difficult to get along with.  I may have more thorns than a prickly pear let alone a rose and no one wants to be bothered picking out the prickles any longer.  The pathetic and sad fact is that I don’t have a friend I can call or write to any longer.

image from therockatbc.com

I had a friend I wrote to without fail, every year for nearly forty years. We never missed a birthday or Christmas. Since coming to Australia it has been confined to letters, but that’s okay, I’ve always enjoyed writing letters.  Two years ago I had the Christmas card and letter I sent returned,”Not known this address”.  How odd I thought and checked the internet.  Nope, they were still registered at the same place.   Two years later they are still registered at the same address and I have no idea what, if anything, has happened to cause the sudden change of heart.

However, she was my last friend.  I had slowly over the years, found that one by one they had dropped off. Divorce has a way of culling friends very quickly.  Some would say it showed how much of a friend they really were. Perhaps that is so. However, at a time when I needed a friend more than ever before, I found not one of my quite large circle of supposed friends willing to take the time to speak to me or to meet me for coffee, and the last time I dropped around to see someone, I was made to feel so unwelcome (the icicles were forming on the ceiling) that I haven’t tried again. No  I haven’t heard from them either.  I didn’t know the heart was able to shrivel that way, but it certainly feels like it. One hurt wasn’t enough, it needed company it seems.

image from glogster.com

It’s not the end of the earth, I hear you say. There are many ways to make friends; join groups, start a class to learn something new, say hello to people in your street, join a church group or an interest group. The lists are endless.  Most good friendships, in my opinion, are either started whilst at school, during your intense work period when interests bind you first and then develop, childbirth and rearing, or through a crisis of some kind.  What happens when they are exhausted, or perhaps worse, you are exhausted from the effort and rejection you have already been through. You close down to save yourself from more hurt.

I don’t have the answers to this one. You see I’m rather tapped out with my previous efforts and failures. Does this mean it’s me who is the ‘square peg in the round hole?” I don’t know.  I do know that when I was challenged recently to take five minutes to call, write or be with a friend my heart melted one more time.

Rusty

I am longing for my dog who passed away, Rusty, …. with him I had a friend who never turned away when I needed a cuddle, a sloppy kiss if I was sad or simply sat with me if I was feeling low.  The best friend a girl could ever have. I miss him so much, to this day, especially this day.

So for all those who recognise themselves in this blog, or find the challenge of calling, writing or being with a friend today, beyond your abilities, I will be your friend, because I know what it feels like to have that hollow feeling of emptiness inside.

image from dostoyreflects.blogspot.com

Welcome, one and all.

“No one can be happy without a friend, nor be sure of a friend until he is unhappy”. –Thomas Fuller

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Ray, Mum New Year Eve 2011, Moruya

They “year” began with New Years Eve at Ray’s parents in Moruya.  A beautiful day and night set the tone for the year to come.  It was a wonderful few days, seeing the sights – a finding a great little crystal shop. Needless to say I came home with bags of crystals. (We drove or it wouldn’t have been possible).

Tawny Frogmouth

A Tawny Frogmouth let himself be known early on and has been a visitor ever since.  We have at least four different owls living in the area, from a Powerful Owl, the Frogmouth and what looks like a Barn Owl, plus a very reclusive one we hear often but haven’t managed to get a good photo of yet.

Owls being my favourite birds, it was a real blessing seeing one so soon after we moved into our new home.

Presented to the guests, husband and wife

Presented to the guests, husband and wife

May was a brilliant month, and after months of preparation our wedding went off superbly. Here we are presented for the first time as Mr and Mrs  Jamieson, can you tell how happy we were – and are.  I’ve restrained myself to one photo, it’s hard to know which ones to use and there are so many!

Natalie and Christopher   Couldn’t pass the day up without showing off how fabulous my son and daughter looked on the day either.

One of my favourite gifts came from my husband shortly before we were to go away, a Nikon 150 camera. It is fantastic and even an amateur like me can get some marvellous shots. Most of all it made it super easy to have something to remember all the marvellous things which happened throughout the year.  A few lessons and I might make a reasonable photographer!

The Little Blowhole at Kiama, dodging salt spray to get a good picture.

The Little Blowhole at Kiama, dodging salt spray to get a good picture.

We had been so busy during the year that we hadn’t had a break – even after the wedding, so we spent a glorious week at Kiama, exploring the area and having a well-earned rest.  The Blowholes were in fine form and we saw lots of whales passing by.  Here’s the best picture we managed to get of the whales passing.

Occasionally I wished for a super zoom on my camera so I could get more photos – they really are beautiful creatures.

Humpback passing Kiama whilst we were there.

I found Nicole’s blog and became motivated to get back on track with my spiritual growth. It has been a wonderful year of rediscovery and discovery of new exciting things.

Full Moon Ceremony Aug 31 2012 (Copy)Thanks to Nicole we had a fantastic ceremony provided for the Blue Moon in August.  This was taken just after the “Releasing Ceremony” and the crystals were in the bowls of water. The next night we had a “Becoming Ceremony”  which finalised the entire ritual. It was an awesome feeling and really made us feel great.  My blogging journey began shortly after this.  Reading and writing have always been passions, now they are intertwined beautifully.

Cutting the birthday cake

With lots of work in between we went back to Moruya to celebrate my father in law’s 80th birthday bash in October.  It was a beautiful day and night – in fact they outdid the younger guests. It seems stamina comes with age!   The cake was superb, it was only spoiled by the fact we couldn’t bring any home with us!

Coffs Harbour, Crystsl Castle and home 034

On the way home we stopped at Coffs Harbour for the night and the next day were greeted by this beautiful water dragon on the decking near the water feature. He was so tame he let us get really close. Obviously very used to all the visitors, he’s probably quite the model by now!  See he even gave us a good pose for the camera.Getting friendly with the neighbours horse2012 022 (Copy)

Back home we were back hard at work but love to take a walk around the garden at the end of the day.  Here the neighbours horse came over to say hello and was really friendly.  My first ‘kiss’ from a horse – strangely enough it was a special moment for me and I’m blessed Ray got the photo and so filled with gratitude that the horse was so  friendly.

Ray hard at work, surprissed by the camera!

I’d love to know the identity of this little fellow but just love his colouring.

Blue flash honey eater

We have lots of honey eaters visiting with the flowering trees. Some like this fellow seem totally oblivious to our presence and let us snap away merrily as he feeds. His colouring is ‘electric’!

Kookaburra ready for a dip in the pool

We were graced by a family of kookaburra who came down several times a day to take a dip in our pool as the weather became hotter.  They made lots of noise but it was worth it.  Occasionally there would be a line up of all the different birds waiting to take a dip. It was really funny watching them take off one by one and then ruffling their feathers out as they waited their next turn.

Water Dragon sunning himself on our garden seat

We were surprised and pleased to find another water dragon sunning himself at home.  When he was in the pool area I “chased” him around the pool  – from the upstairs balcony, to get some photos of him. It was so funny seeing me trying to run around to capture a good shot. As soon as I had him in focus he would take off again after some other tidbit he’d spied.

Christmas surprises

Christmas seemed to arrive so quickly. It was a special time for us – the first one as a married couple (old-fashioned isn’t it?) and getting the decorating done together with the family coming down to celebrate Christmas Day together. We were grateful we could all be together and Ray and I felt blessed that our family could get together when so many couldn’t.

Full Moon 30th December 2012

The last full moon of the year, December 2012.  Even with the inclement weather we were able to get some beautiful photos of the moon through the trees and the weather remained fine for our ceremony.  The meditation from Nicole was a beautiful way to complete a wonderful year.

As always we are mindful that not everyone has been as fortunate as ourselves. Like most people we have had our ups and downs. At times it felt as though the downs were holding mired in one place for far too long, but 2013 will be a wonderful year – for everyone.  Throughout 2012 we have tried to remain mindful of what has been happening for us, being present at the important events was easy, how could we not. Being present when things were tough was harder, but we managed and it felt very heart centered in being able to do that. Ill health has been a drag but I’m hoping that with a new move, hopefully to a place with some space around it will give me the right atmosphere to get on top of things.  Country life seems to beckon.

For myself, the unconditional love I have been so grateful to find with Ray has made this a wonderful, love filled year. Heart centered and soul centered, we have felt the growing and stretching of our soul growth throughout the good times and the hard times.  We have also felt, and been awed by the presence of spirit, our loved ones who are no longer with us – in the flesh at least. It has made each special occasion that little bit more extraordinary and that is something I am incredibly grateful for.

The records for 2013 are now about to begin!

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Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.    Ralph Waldo Emerson

HAPPY 2013 EVERYONE.                                              Blessings and stay safe.

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A Powerful Owl sitting on a tree branch

 Ralph Waldo Emerson quote

It is recognised that when something happens in threes it is a sign, or an indication that we need to pay attention to what is happening – there is a message there for us, if we can but read or hear it.

Traveling home from visiting friends tonight I was surprised and pleased to see a beautiful Powerful Owl sitting in the fork of a tree, calmly watching what we were doing.  I think we were rather too large for a meal, but the careful and considered look he gave me was enough to make me stop and wonder – was he trying to simply be noticed or was he trying to tell me something? Perhaps it was as simple as his next meal, which was hiding nearby as he was waiting for us to leave, but I had a feeling there was more to his impressive gaze than that. The question was – what?

image from mtnmatthews.blogspot.com

Driving along the country roads I was keeping an eye out for the “Kangawallafoxes” as my husband calls them. In other words the kangaroos, wallabies or foxes which are known to suddenly hop pr run out of the scrub along the side of the road. It can be a nasty surprise and make your journey come to a crashing halt!

However, it was not one of the usual creatures which caused the sudden startled intake of breath this night, it was the sudden and of course silent swoop of an owl across the road directly in front of us. He was beautiful and it would have been a glorious picture, but since I wasn’t thinking about taking a photo, I didn’t have the camera ready. It looked very similar to the photo I found, but it hardly captures the surprise I felt at seeing him.  So that was number two for the evening, and a very impressive reminder that something must be afoot. What was I supposed to be aware of and what was I missing?

We have quite a few owls around our place and I love hearing them call at different times, and I have been lucky enough to see them, although usually without a camera.  We were almost home when a huge owl suddenly seemed to swoop up towards the car, hitting the windscreen cleanly in the middle. He slid off the side and we pulled frantically off to the other side of the road so we wouldn’t hit him by accident.

He lay there on the road and I was amazed at how large he looked close up. It was another Powerful Owl. I felt awful at hitting him, even though we hadn’t actually driven into him, more he flew into us – but then the effect was the same. Being extra careful of those deadly talons and beak we wrapped him in a thick blanket from the car and carried him to the grass at the side if the road where we could see him in the headlights.  After carefully unwrapping him it was difficult to see if he was injured at all. There was definitely no blood, the blanket ( a pale one) was clean and there didn’t appear to be any blood on his feathers. At least there was no glistening tell-tale marks on his feather which we could see.

Powerful Owl takes off as though nothing has happened.

He suddenly seemed to give himself a shake and was on his feet in a flash. He looked around at us, measuring us up for a meal I wondered? Then after what seemed an age but was probably barely minutes, he fluffed his feathers and took off into the night, apparently none the worse for his crash landing with our car.

Not so our windscreen which had a crack completely down the middle!  So, three visits in one evening. Far too much for sheer coincidence, but I have yet to work out what their message is.  As for an exciting end to the evening, it most definitely was.

Our usual view of the Powerful Owl at home. Beautiful isn’t he?

For me this was a special occasion, one to be mindful of as I sit under a full moon, pondering what new beginnings this portent means. I am being present with the spirits who are sending me this messenger, so full of love that this has happened. I am indeed grateful that life is so full of wonderful and unexpected surprises. I am truly blessed tonight.

 Charles Dickens quotes 

Here’s hoping you are as lucky as I and I can work out what my owl visitors are telling me.  Happy Full Moon people.

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image from fwallpapers.com

“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”    Deitrich Bonhoeffer

It seems appropriate that whilst I wrote about “12 Days of Christmas – Gratitude Style”, that it should be remembered after all the Christmas festivities have finished, that gratitude is not something which is only to be thought of then but throughout the year and for many different reasons.

image from theclassywoman.blogspot.com

Christmas day dawned bright and early at our home – perhaps too early for someone who isn’t sleeping very well, but it was a special day and what’s the loss of a little more sleep?  The anticipation of having my son and daughter visit was, as always, tempered by the knowledge that my parents would not be there, nor could I see them. My parents have passed over and despite the passage of time it feels like yesterday and the wounds are still raw.

It was brought home even more by the shooting in the US – so many wasted lives.  The private tears I shed and the prayers I said were for all those souls and their families as well as for myself. Yet for all that, I felt incredibly selfish. Here I was with my beautiful family and I was mourning the loss of my parents with whom I had shared so many beautiful memories of this time and others.  But, I am only human, and this is what humans do. I feel blessed to have my children with me on Christmas day, or any other, and grateful that I shared so many glorious ones with my parents, and they with their grandchildren. Yes, I have been blessed.

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I know that grief has its seasons, from the raw and open wounds of its beginnings to the calm and soothed eve of acceptance. I also know that we can revisit these many times over.  Strangely I am grateful that I feel so intensely for those I have and those I have lost, and those of whom I know nothing at all beyond what I have seen and read,  since it means, to me at least, that my heart is full of love for everyone and full of gratitude for their presence in my life.

image from 100smilechallenge.wordpress.com

Especially in my prayers and thoughts are all those who serve our countries and lose their lives.  The many soldiers, sailors, firefighters, ambulance officers, policemen and women, nurses, doctors, and even the bus drivers, train drivers, teachers, people who give their time so that others may enjoy themselves – even the call centre operators who work on the telephones that we may talk with loved ones far away over the festive season. I am humbly thankful for their efforts and grateful for what they do for us.  I cannot thank them all, I only wish I could.

image from naturallyearthfriendly.com

Christmas Day is only one day though and gratitude continues every day. The development of the “Attitude of Gratitude” is something we can all practice each and every day and make our world a more beautiful place, and in this place and space I thank and am grateful for each person who reads this who may perhaps be moved to think of others and be grateful also.  In such a way can we “Pay it Forward“.

image from stopeatingyourheartout.com

For those with no home, living on the streets despite the weather, I pray for them also, sending them love and light and praying that the glow of warmth I feel in my heart may somehow keep them a little warmer, more loved than before.  I am truly grateful for my home, my family and that we can gather together at any time. Love and family are my treasures.

image from theprovince.com

Love and gratitude can be found everywhere – even amongst our beautiful creatures. The bonds of love and family are as close for them as it can be for us. I am grateful for the beauty of nature, the glorious sights I can see and the love I can feel between two incredible creatures. We have all been blessed to be able to see such wonderful images captured if not in fact.

image from mindfulnessmuse.com

This is a simple message, that we may all be grateful for the treasures we have.  My hope that, despite the challenges we face, the hopelessness we may feel, that we may turn the corner from the darkness into the light and remember how much we have to be grateful for.

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”     ― Thornton Wilder

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image from comments.funmunch.com Where would we be without friendship?

“Somehow, not only for Christmas, But all the long year through, The joy that you give to others, Is the joy that comes back to you. And the more you spend in blessing, The poor and lonely and sad, The more of your heart’s possessing, Returns to you glad.” — John Greenleaf Whittier

There are so many ideas on what Christmas “should” mean to everyone. I really don’t like the idea that “should” can enter into the reason why we think, feel believe or do something.  There has to be a more visceral reason behind our thoughts and actions, especially at such a time of year.

I know some people  are of the belief that the ‘true spirit’ of Christmas can only belong to those who are in real need. To some extent that may be true. I feel deeply for the many who will spend their Christmas season in hospitals or care due to ill-health. I won’t categorise the level of need or ill-health since that feels shallow, to me at least.

Is the person terminally ill with cancer any less in need than someone needing a transplant or a heart valve replacement or a small child with an acute allergic reaction needing a respirator to breath? I don’t think so.  Yet there are those who are suffering from any kind of mental disability for whom the very joy around Christmas adds to their depression or malaise.

image from facebook.com Happiness is….

Yet I can understand these people all too well and I am totally grateful that they have a chance to start the New Year better than they finish this one. I pray that is the case, although there is also a measure of sadness in that wish, since for them to be better someone else has to have found a worse ending.  Life is like that; what is given on one hand is also taken away on the other, and who am I to judge?

The other people I think of at this time are those who don’t really fall into this group.  Their ailments seem trivial in comparison and yet they can be as devastating in their own way.

The person with a chronic skin ailment who has to spend all summer hiding from the sunshine whilst the newscasters joyously tell us will be hotter and brighter than the day before. It must be demoralising for them. What about the person in chronic pain, stumbling around their home, trying desperately to get all in order for the ‘big day’ yet knowing that within a relatively few short hours they will be left alone in their pain with none the wiser. These people I also think of and wish an easier time for. These people know that there is no cure for them and cannot, even tenuously, hold onto a hope that help may be around the corner.

image from lessonsinashell.blogspot.com

Yet I have found that I can ‘gift’ to the world. In the same way I can spread gratitude around the world – by intention, then I can also spread love , happiness and friendship around the world – by intention.

I visualise a beautiful rainbow coloured sphere encircling the world, coming from my heart and covering the world. I chose rainbow colours to represent all the chakras, but also to help ‘fill up’ any chakra which was a little flat or empty. After I firmly have this vision of rainbow light covering the world I imagine it showering down on everyone in the world, bringing love, friendship and happiness.  It can also cover love, friendship and understanding for the self as well as for others, and also all the animals, plants, spirits, in fact anyone or thing inhabiting out little planet.

image from facebook.com

This is my small way of giving a gift to everyone on the planet. Of course the gratitude is also there, that I have so many wonderful people to be grateful for; that I have so many creatures on this planet to spread all this to also.  In my own small way I am also blessed because I can help to bring some peace and joy to everyone.

image from fineartamerica.com              Puppy love at it’s best

“It is the personal thoughtfulness, the warm human awareness, the reaching out of the self to one’s fellow man that makes giving worthy of the Christmas spirit.”    – Isabel Currier

May your Christmas be filled with love and laughter, peace and understanding and happiness to fill your heart the whole year through.  Bless ❤

(c) owls and orchids: Susan Jamieson

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image from themutt.wordpress.com –   Even Snoopy had something to say.

Anyone who has lost track of time when using a computer knows the propensity to dream, the urge to make dreams come true and the tendency to miss lunch.   Tim Berners-Lee

Why do some people blog? Why do they spend their time communicating on a vast range of topics to an unknown audience? Is there some primal urge to “spread the word”, to “teach”, or simply to share our ideas with whomever they resonate with?

It’s a strange compulsion, this urge to write, especially when you sit down without the vaguest notion of what you are going to write about.  Nevertheless you get your computer out, sit at your desk, or in my case, ensconced in bed and start to ‘write’.  Why, I wonder, do we still refer to it as writing when it most obviously isn’t?  I suppose we have a need to create order and a point of reference.

image from http://www.coolpctips.com – Progress in effect.

Laptops have taken over with their ease, portability and ever decreasing size.  So in order to keep manual records will we always use computers in some form or another?

What happens when the world changes a little more and we no longer need letters, books, or computers to communicate our ideas to each other? When, for example, telepathy rules the day? Will we still have this urge to create using the written word, or will we perhaps have mind controlled computers?  Almost mind-blowing really.

Can you imagine a think tank where everyone is telepathic and ideas are shared at lightning speed? Just thinking about the time gained which can be better utilised to – blog!  Yet that doesn’t really answer the question of why some of us decide to blog.

It’s true that few of us will ever be published authors, yet the urge to write is still there.  Could this be the reason for so many scribblings?  At times I have sat down and typed out my blog, only to find that someone else has written almost the same thing, but managed to publish already. For a while I found that very disturbing, and I wondered if I should publish my work at all. With an established blogger  who has already gathered a following ‘your’ attempt may go completely unnoticed. A writers worst nightmare, to have a ‘published’ work and be largely or totally ignored. Quite a conundrum.

In reality, the urge is a deep desire or need to speak to another person, to communicate your ideas, thoughts, feelings, and hopefully, not just have someone like what you are saying but also to comment on it. It then truly becomes a communication.

Whilst satisfying publishing your blog, is there much rationale behind it if it is unread by anyone else? Receiving a comment about it is an amazing feeling. It means that somehow I have managed to reach another person.  In truth, everything I write is a statement about something which is important to me. So like all writers there is a part of my heart and soul in the words I write.

So, I blog because I care if something I say has a meaning for someone else. It may be that some little thing I’ve written may help someone in some small way, and in a large part it eases the loneliness of being stuck in bed, without the energy to get out and about as I would like. It is my tenuous link to an outside world I feel cut off from.

So I may not be a Pulitzer prize winner, I may never receive any great recognition for what I say, but it is better than losing the ability to think, to communicate and interact with someone ‘out there’. If I can get that message to those who need that lifeline then I would count my blogging a success.

Blog away my friends, we are making history and this may be a lasting record of who and what we were and thought in times to come. I am grateful I can be a part of history in the making and live my life to its fullest learning whatever comes my way until I can get out there and find it for myself.  Even then I will still be blogging – it must be in the blood!

“I tried always to do better: saw always a little further. I tried to stretch myself.”    Audrey Hepburn

Being an awesome human being is a part of everyone’s awards in life.

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image from psychicconnextions.blogspot.com

Time is passing and never so quickly as this lead up to the festive season.  The original countdown of “the Twelve Days of Christmas” was  something played in all the shops, churches and homes all around me when I was growing up.  At times I miss the reminders from my childhood, they had a certain familiarity to them. We could, with absolute certainty, mark down the days to “the big one”  after hearing this song every day.  Like the Advent calendars our children used to love opening up each day, they formed a reliable measure of time, time already passed and time still to go. It had its own way of engaging the mind, heart and spirit and increasing that wonderful anticipation of what was to come.

It didn’t matter if you were religious or not, the celebration would go on and the true roots of the celebration and songs were lost in the annals of time. It’s how religions overtook each other and left only remnants behind.  It’s also only in recent years that the arguments over what we are celebrating and who the celebrations belong to have arisen to cast a cloud over what has been a joyous time between the darkness and dreariness of winter and the coming of spring. Perhaps it is easier to remember why Christmas was celebrated with such joy when you recall the old days, the conditions people lived under and how the turning of the seasons held such an importance to them.

Yet that is another story in itself.  Battling my demons, and when I say this I think of a children’s animated movie called “Sword in the Stone”.

image from tumblr.com

After a monumental and hilarious battle between the witch and Merlin, the witch finds herself bested, confined to bed , green with purple, red and blue polka dots covering her and the antidote – sunshine.  On hearing this there is a wonderful rant and she screeches “I hate  horrible, wholesome sunshine”.  I’m sorry to say sunshine and I don’t mix. I burn like flammable material, finish up looking like a well cooked lobster minus the butter sauce, but nowhere near as tasty! I hide from one air conditioned place to another throughout the heat of the summer, grateful for the sunshine and rain, in moderation, but equally grateful to return to cooler days as autumn finally arrives.  But I digress, these were the demons I referred to.

The Universe looks after us at all times, even when unasked, even if we don’t believe.  I do believe and I was immensely grateful that I was paying attention to what was happening today.  I was in one of my favourite haunts, a bookstore, searching for a gift for my daughters boyfriend.  No hardship there, it took my attention from aching back and feet and the truckload of packages we were juggling. I had seen the book I thought would be ideal but decided to ponder a little more as I lost myself amongst the shelves of books.  With time and my back  telling me I needed to make a decision I asked Ray to collect the book I had seen an hour earlier.

He was standing not two feet from me with the book in his hand when it suddenly flew out of his hand and landed in the aisle. The lady standing next to him looked startled to say the least, but then again, so did I.  Rule number one, and totally inviolate, you cannot buy a book or give one as a gift if it has been on the ground before being given to the recipient. Especially if it may have, heaven forbid, a crinkled edge. A dog-eared book is a sacrilege! Yes I have strange “rules”.   The book was fine but for me that was it, that book would not be leaving th shop with me. It was also the only one of its kind in the store.

image from thebaremidriff.blogspot.com

We left, one gift not purchased and I was sore and disappointed.  On the way home my phone rang. I was not really inclined to answer but I knew it was my daughter calling, “thank heavens for little girls” (Maurice Chevalier), and I knew I needed to take it.  We talked of Christmas and shopping and gifts, and books, a book for her boyfriend.  I could buy David Gemmell or Raymond Feist, (I almost bought this), but put it back when I saw a Brent Weeks omnibus. It was the omnibus which went flying.  This was the ONLY book I could not buy she said – because she had already bought it for him, but Raymond Feist would be brilliant!

I may have to make another trip to a bookstore – such a hardship for me (ahem!) but I know what I will be buying. (Well, at least one of the books I will buy).  I am so grateful Spirit was watching over me today and helped me from buying the wrong thing. Talk about ‘right timing’, I was trying to be so mindful of all the recommendations she had passed on previously and had started to get tired. I was fully present with the situation, in my favourite store I am always fully present. Ok, I was fully present with the task at hand.  Even in a bookstore I eventually still get tired.  I was concentrating on her boyfriend, being fully present with all I knew about him and what I was trying to do, because buying a book a really important, it has to fit with the receiver or I’ve failed!  I thought I had succeeded when, whoosh, through the air it went. I got the message, and I fully accept that without Spirit’s help I would have bought the wrong thing and would have had to exchange it – if I could.

I am very happy, truly grateful for my Guidance, love shopping with my husband (it’s a special treat), have that wonderful feeling of peace inside because I know Spirit is with me always, and I can spread my attitude of gratitude around the world for everyone to share. Thank you Nicole, thank you Ray and thank you, my wonderful spiritual helpers and Magical Beings everywhere.

image from virtualbeauties.blogspot.com

May you find magic in your life today and everyday within the small or large appearance of gratitude in our lives.

“When we become more fully aware that our success is due in large measure to the loyalty, helpfulness, and encouragement we have received from others, our desire grows to pass on similar gifts. Gratitude spurs us on to prove ourselves worthy of what others have done for us. The spirit of gratitude is a powerful energizer”. – Wilferd A. Peterson

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image from duskyshadow.blogspot.com It’s hard to see the light when you feel oppressed by the darkness.

Life is filled with unanswered questions, but it is the courage to seek those answers that continues to give meaning to life. You can spend your life wallowing in despair, wondering why you were the one who was led towards the road strewn with pain, or you can be grateful that you are strong enough to survive it.”   J.D. Stroube, Caged by Damnation

There are twelve days to go until Christmas and I have  begun to reflect on the past year.  It has been a crazy year, at times a crappy year, sometimes insanely fabulous, filled with enormous highs and unplumbed lows, this year more lows than highs it seems. There were times when I didn’t think I would make it and yet, underneath all that, I knew I had to, I had no choice. I have several very important reasons why failure is not an option, why the ongoing struggle must continue no matter what, and they are and have been constant for many years now, but I will admit it becomes harder and harder each time I feel knocked to the ground again.

Last Christmas I was in a state of total overwhelm.  I was trying to pack, look for a new place to live (at Christmas of all times), continue to work in a cramped space and get everything ready to produce that once a year treat, Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, lots of love and of course gifts.  There were difficulties with getting money paid which was owing to us, knowing that if it didn’t make it in time it wasn’t going to come through until well into the New Year.  The fact that it was a substantial amount, dragging on for months, didn’t make the situation easier to handle.   It was not an auspicious way to bring the New Year in, but I managed to keep that from everyone and we had a fabulous day. I simply collapsed after they left. A four-hour visit after a marathon effort – who decides if it’s worth the effort? Broke and needing to move, not able to physically move much, I questioned my sanity on a daily basis. Of course, there is much more to this story, many more things which added to the mounting stress, and there were times I felt I would have sold my soul to have someone to talk to. It’s all the other “stuff” left unsaid which pushed me to the brink.

image from christmas.lovetoknow.com The ultimate indulgence. I wonder what it is really like?

Of course, as my doctor warned me, stress and tension are no good for me – or anyone else, and my back was telling me just that, thanks to the car accidents I had  been involved in.  Movement of any kind was agonising, bands of intense pain lanced through me each time I moved. Even trying to rest in bed was impossible, since stillness simply allowed the muscles to seize completely. I questioned the sanity of continuing the struggle, disgusted with my ‘failure’ to overcome this obstacle, so I continually searched for some enlightenment or explanation which might help.  I was lost in a dense forest, dark and lonely and desperate for answers. I was drowning under the weight of the circumstances and exhausted from fighting to find a way forward.

image from deborahswift.blogspot.com It’s not the night which is dark, it’s the despair in your soul. The despair comes from the deep longing to find that light at the end of the tunnel.

I was planning my wedding, struggling with unpacking, trying to work and get all the arrangements in place for May. I had chosen my mothers birthday since she had passed away and I knew it would bring her closer to me at that time.  It is still a raw wound, one I have no idea how to begin to heal, my mother, my best friend, and when I believed I had finally found my corner of heaven she wasn’t here to share it with. Oh, I know, in spirit they were here, but their physical presence, the ability to talk things through with them….Time, a great healer I am told, is scant comfort.

Perhaps I’m too stubborn by nature but failure was not an option and I had no-one I could call on to help. In this day and age it seems strange to admit that. It was a beautiful day. My dress was all I could have hoped for, my daughter, as my attendant was beautiful and my son gave me away – looking so strong and tall. The groom and his son (best man) were just as resplendent, but then I am biased. It was the only highlight of my year.

Avalon Gardens

So what happened after that?  The ongoing struggle financially began to erode my self-confidence and despair crept in.  I found  the blog of someone I admire greatly and I took it to be a sign, the one I had been asking for. It became a challenge to read her blogs every day. How on earth did she manage to write every day I wondered when some days I couldn’t string together two coherent thoughts?

Some days I found it hard to get myself together before mid afternoon. What incentive was there to do otherwise?  I thought no-one would want to read my “dark and twisty’ thoughts, and they were all that consumed me, all that I could see.  I followed a gratitude challenge and kept going.  It had started to life that dark cloud and I was  grateful for all it was teaching me, mindfulness, being present, unconditional love, amazing insights each day. A way out of the dark labyrinth I thought.

I started blogging a long time later. It began as a challenge for me, since I didn’t believe I could do it, and ironically, I didn’t think anyone else would want to hear what I was saying.  I needed an outlet for what I was thinking and feeling. I was tired of the never-ending struggle to sleep, wake, find that motivation to do something, even an interest in doing something.  I needed to feel what I was doing was making a small difference somewhere, in some small way. It was an attempt to find the light inside me and share it with others. I’m not sure if I have been successful with that yet.

image from bloggergeeze.com The urge to blog

Christmas is so difficult. My father passed away on January 2nd and that last Christmas was so hard. Sitting by his bedside, alone at the end was something I will never forget.  Then, the cycle repeated with my mother and my last anchor was gone. Now, I had to be the sole “stanchion” in my family, for the sake of my children and my brothers. The cracks appeared. I could see them, feel them, but I had become very good at “painting on my face” and putting on a good front, papering over the cracks.  I was told I was “unemotional and cold” because I couldn’t cry at her funeral. My tears were dammed up inside.  They still are in large part. Perhaps the truth is that the dam is finally breaking under the strain.

So, once again, what happened to the fairytale?  So much and since it’s not just “my story” it makes it difficult knowing what to write. There is so much it would be another blog in itself.  Although it is a part of why I’ve lost my tenuous grasp on who I am and why I’m here. Whatever the reason I’ve slipped, my roller coaster has fallen off its rails and the forest has enmeshed me in its thorny bushes and if I cry I’m not sure I can stop.

Sometimes, honest people are hard to find, especially in the finance game.  Licensees can be pariahs and this one is withholding thousands of dollars. Money which was earned after a lot of hard work, money they take 10% off the top of and then almost $2000 a month for the privilege of being under their license. Why? Because they can under a pretext and here we are again, after a hard years exhausting work,  “on the bones of our asses” trying to find money just to pretend Christmas is still Christmas.  I’m not sure if we will even have anywhere to live after the next couple of weeks. I’m tired of the never ending struggle.

image from proactiveinvestors.com.au

I desperately need to hear another voice, someone to let me know I’m not really insane, we will “make it through the night”, but I’m terribly good at scaring people off.  I’m even better at not asking for help, a lesson someone taught me many years ago when I was young and impressionable and found that asking for help gave them the power to use that to hurt you more deeply that you thought possible.  Of course, the one person who matters most I can’t ask. Well I can and have but I knew the answer before it came.  I need an outside perspective, but is that possible? I don’t know the answer to that any longer either.

image from funnycutestuff.com Everyone needs a hug

At the end of the day we must, I must, believe in something. I choose to believe this!  And this is the closest I can come to my tenuous hold on life. I crave to feel the warmth and love from “my puppy”, to love unconditionally, who will always be there, always loving and never hurting. My last dog passed away at age 17 and a half.

My logical self is telling me this is the wrong time to post this. My heart tells me I have to. I apologise for the hopelessness I feel flowing from these words.  I hope someone out there is listening.

Two qualities are indispensable: first, an intellect that, even in the darkest hour, retains some glimmerings of the inner light which leads to truth; and second, the courage to follow this faint light wherever it may lead.  Karl Von Clausewitz

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image courtesy of positivethoughtsonlife.wordpress.com

“Old friends pass away, new friends appear. It is just like the days. An old day passes, a new day arrives. The important thing is to make it meaningful: a meaningful friend or a meaningful day.”      Dalai Lama

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Each day is a mystery, an unopened present. We have only an idea of what the day may bring. Some follow each other like soldiers marching along in unison, with little change and either reassuring in their sameness or boring in their lack of difference.  Some, take our breath away with the explosions of unexpected news, loss and sadness we can do little to avoid.

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I struggle each day with patience, or I should say my lack of it.  I want so much to be able to Do – anything, everything, something!  The endless sameness of each day make the hours, minutes, even the seconds feel like an eternity. I am grateful for each day since it gives me an opportunity to grow. I know this sounds more like I’m not sure what I want or talking about, but it’s an accurate reflection of how I feel.

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Each day brings with it its own sweetness, the dew on the grass, the bright sunshine as the sun rises shining on the bright colours of the buds opening on my rose bushes, the birdsong caroling the start of the day. There is a magic in the air at the moment the sun crests the horizon, a hush in the air where, for a time, there is the feeling that anything may be possible.

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image courtesy of http://www.deviantart.com

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What better reminder of unconditional love than when I see this rose blooming in my garden. Yellow, my mothers favourite colour for roses, and also for me the same in this, the Peace Rose, a perennial reminder of all that she meant, and still means to me, even though she is no longer here with me.

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For me it is also another reminder that I struggle for patience which she teased me about and the search for peace, peace of mind since her leaving, which, whilst a blessing, is still a raw wound. Life is so full of contradictions.

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image courtesy of http://www.dreamthisday.com – None of us truly know what each day will bring.

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I often wondered how she managed to retain her inner strength of mind and will, when she undoubtedly knew what the day would most likely bring.  Her gratitude for another day, her happiness that she saw her children and grandchildren one more time, her acceptance that life is impermanent and each moment to be cherished for the tiny miracles it brought.  All of this countered with the knowledge that she was marking time, her health was not going to improve and time was a vanishing gift, one to cherish like a fragile snowflake, beautiful  yet gone too soon.

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All the things I struggle with, she had in spades. (old Yorkshire saying). I struggle against the inactivity brought about by not being well, and even though I’m doing all I can to become well again, meditation, chanting, praying, none have really brought me closer to the patience I hope to achieve. The inexhaustible patience she appeared to have, I know is also not quite true.  She railed against her ill-health, being unable to walk around her home or garden, not able to leave her home because the short trips by car were too exhausting. She was human, as human as I and struggling with the same things I do.

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My mother was a “Yorkshire Lass” and had all the hallmarks that entails. She was strong and unyielding, refusing to allow the state of affairs to bring her low. She was the epitome of all I could wish for. The word “indomitable” always comes to mind...Impossible to subdue or defeat: “indomitable spirit”.  Despite the passage of time, I am like her in so many ways.

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I struggle for the patience she had to learn over many years.  Many would think me unyielding, more because I refuse to yield if there is a chance of success, which I feel is different.  The gratitude, love, happiness, joy and contentment with my family and husband, I am overwhelmed by the unconditional giving and receiving of these treasures.

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I have been reminded once again of the impermanence of life, of its fragility.  My aunt has been struggling with cancer. A strong lady whom I pray for daily. Thus far she is winning her battle and I am grateful for this.  A wonderful friend and mentor is once more struggling with her fragile heart. A heart so full of the love of life, of the people in her life, her life in its entirety, and I pray for her also.

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These wonderful people are my inspiration.  I will find that elusive patience and I will continue to cultivate the ‘attitude of gratitude’ for all the many blessings I have in my life, in each day.  My grandmother always said, ” We are never given any burden to bear which we don’t have the strength to carry”. She was another indomitable lady whom I admire. So many wonderful women for me to emulate.

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image courtesy of magicalmysticalmimi.blogspot.com –     Dig deep and find the extraordinary in the ordinary of your day and be grateful for the miracle of sharing one day.    Being Mindful of all there is in each moment.

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Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good, even in unpleasant situations. Start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful.” – Marelisa Fábrega

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couple in love

image courtesy of weheartit.com

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Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.”   Bruce Lee

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There are many choices throughout life, some are easy and some take a great deal of reflection.   The decision I made to become a police officer was one of the easiest I ever made. It was at a time when there was still a great deal of respect for police officers and there were few police women around.  I was determined to be a ‘real’ police officer, doing all the tasks a police man would during the course of a normal day. Not that there were many ‘normal days’. It is often very difficult for anyone to understand why I wanted to be a police officer, but the most simple explanation is that I wanted to be able to help those who were unable to help themselves, in the kind of situations where a police officer was called in.  Also, I truly believed that I was able to do something which not many people were able to, and this was by no means being derogatory towards anyone else or heaping praise on myself.  It was and still is a job where you see the worst of people and if you are fortunate, you get to see the best of people also.

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From a time long, long ago.

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That was a long time ago, but some things never change. That desire, that drive to help others remains to this day.  You find yourself in some strange and unforeseen situations because that ingrained belief still holds true.  I found myself chasing armed bank robbers dressed only in a leotard and tights (a long time ago!), tackling someone trying to evade the police in Roma Street whilst on the way home from work as burly men carefully stepped aside to allow the man to rush past, and  I also found myself  facing down a seven-foot tall angry Maori who wanted to take the heads off two teenagers with a tree branch because another young man had lost control of his car and crashed into a tree.  At the time he said someone could have been hurt – the fact was the two teenagers were in more danger than any bystander.  Then there was the bleak winter night when an elderly man tried to run across six lanes of traffic in peak hour to try to catch a bus and was hit by a car.

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I wasn’t the first on the scene yet no-one wanted to go out there to help him, lying on a wet road in dim lighting with cars whizzing past.  I don’t recall seeing the cars as I dashed out to him, I’m sure they were there, but my focus was on the man lying in the road. He was unmoving, and I had a terribly bad feeling about it. He was obviously, very seriously hurt. Someone called an ambulance, but in peak hour…..  and the police!  A blanket was passed across, but his vital signs were barely there. This was just as  the era of the fear of aids and hiv were taking hold. Neither crossed my mind despite the blood.  I simply had to help.  The ambulance arrived eventually, after he had been resuscitated, and again by the ambulance officers.   Unfortunately he didn’t survive, but I did what I could, little though that was.

.The incredible ambulance officers.
car accident scene

image courtesy of gympietimes.com.au
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A week later my son came home from school rather upset.  He had found out that day that the elderly gentleman I had tried to help was the grandfather of his best mate.  The funeral had been the day before and he had asked him where he had been. In such a simple way it illustrated how small our world is, how connected we all are, whether we know it or not.  His friend had talked about this unknown woman who had tried to help his grandfather at the accident but no-one knew who she was.  My son was shocked at hearing the news from his friend and also a little proud that it was his mother who had dashed out into the traffic that night.

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Both of my children have followed in my footsteps to some degree. Both have ensured they have current first aid training and both, at some time or another have had call to use those skills at accidents.  Another circle has been created of people who want to make a difference, to help those who cannot help themselves and, often without thought, put themselves in possible harms way.  It is something I am very proud of, that my children care about their fellow-man, or woman, despite the prevailing feeling that “you shouldn’t get involved because of possible repercussions”.  Our litigious society may regret preventing ‘good Samaritans’ one day.

.Our hard-working firefighters

firefighters at accident

image courtesy of beaumontenterprise.com

.The amazing doctors and nurses.

doctors and nurses

image courtesy of masterfile.com

.The dedicated soldiers.

soldier in afghanistan
image courtesy of kotaku.com.au

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My little tale has nothing to do with weddings, although both parties say “I do” and in that moment they are also saying that the welfare of the other is at the forefront of their mind and heart.  At that moment they are, often without really knowing it, acknowledging that at some future time, there will be other lives, lives other than their own, which they will place before their own safety trying to help them.  Parents can go to extraordinary lengths for their children time and again. Husbands and wives can find extraordinary strength and fearlessness in times of danger.  In fact, families have a tendency to extend that care to include all members of the family, not just the sons and daughters or spouse.

.Family generations.

family

image courtesy of living.msn.com
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Yet the “I do” which I refer to is the one where the ordinary, average person is saying “I do” to the acceptance of doing what may not be possible for everyone, helping in heart wrenching situations, and sometimes, although not often, putting themselves in harm’s way.  I think about the Rural Fire Service, Careflight helicopter rescue, Coastguard rescue, and so many others who put their lives on the line to help save others.  There are many others, nurses and doctors, firemen and paramedics, any recur organisation who go beyond the call of duty, to try to ensure our loved ones are returned to us. These are the ties that bind us, the circles we create which hold us together and which prompt some of us to offer to go that extra mile to ‘protect and serve’.

.The Rural Bush Fire Brigade.

bush fire fighters

image courtesy of perthnow.com.au

.RACQ Careflight Rescue chopper.

rescue helicopter

image courtesy of qt.com.au

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Two small words which can have such far-reaching consequences and yet without them these wonderful people would not be doing the jobs they have undertaken. No-one twisted their arms to do this, it has come from a deep-seated conviction that someone has to be prepared to say “the buck stops here’ and I am here to make things right.  They are the unsung heroes of our society, they have said “I do” and we are all better off for them saying this, for believing as they do.

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I am eternally grateful for their dedication, their care and the love they show to everyone who crosses their path in time of need.  Their loss is everyone’s loss.

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“The thing about a hero, is even when it doesn’t look like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, he’s going to keep digging, he’s going to keep trying to do right and make up for what’s gone before, just because that’s who he is”.   Joss Whedon

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