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Grateful Heart

This Wednesday, I don't want to say much really but just offer you this thought. 

We can go through life feeling that we are owed something, but if we wake up each morning just grateful to be alive that's a good start.

If we go into each day believing that life is beautiful ... that's even better. 

As is the fact that this picture features one of my favourite cartoon dogs - Snoopy. from the Peanuts cartoons/ comic strip!  I wrote about this and the creator Charles M. Schulz  in my daily blog back in February. But in my opinion one can never have enough Snoopy!

Have a great day! 

Begin each day


Hope

Today I'm thinking about Hope!

It's something we all need, especially when things aren't going so well for us or when we are lost, or when we are grieving.

As I explained in Sunday's daily blog, this evening in Jersey there will be a service of Remembrance and Thanksgiving to allow us to celebrate the lives of our loved ones who have died. It'll be a moving hour with some reflective and uplifting music, prayers, thoughts, readings and poems.

Since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020, many of us may have lost people, loved ones, and we may not have been able to remember them or say 'farewell' in the way we may have wished because of the lockdown restrictions. But this service is also for us to remember anyone who was and is still important to us ...I've been privileged to produce the hour for Funeral Directors Pitcher and Le Quesne, so I've spent many hours looking at different poems and readings to inspire and comfort those who will be with us this evening.

One of the readings to be included in the service at St Thomas' (Roman Catholic) Church in St Helier is this one ... a profound 'thought' from Henri Nouwen, who was a Dutch Catholic priest, professor, writer and theologian who has left us a huge legacy of words.

Nouwen was a complex character and this is traced through some of his writings, and much of what he wrote about - faith, loneliness, self-esteem, acceptance and other personal struggles - helps us to identify with his and our humanity. I find his words and writings inspirational!

This is just one of Nouwen's 'thoughts' and if today you're struggling, for whatever reason, I hope this brings you some hope.

If you are sad - I wish you comfort and hope.

If you are grieving - may hope help you to see beyond the pain.

If you feel you are getting nowhere - may hope enable you to see into a future!

And if you're in Jersey and you wish to join us this evening at St Thomas' at 7pm, you'll be very welcome.

 

Hope Henri Nouwen

 

 


You're a Firework!

Before the coronavirus pandemic locked us all down and locked us all in, before the days of constant news about the 'virus' and testing and tracing and sanitising and physical distancing ... I was for more than a year part of a Community Choir here in Jersey. 

We met every two weeks on a Friday just to sing ... mostly inspirational 'pop' songs and music with a bit of a meaning. It was organised by a few of us at our church - The Salvation Army in Jersey - and it was wondeful.

None of us were particularly expert singers or musicians, including the trio (including me) who led the group, but we had real fun. We did 'sing out' at church services including at Christmastime 2019 just before the pandemic hit, but most importantly, and more important than the music, it was a time to grow friendships and sing. 

We know that singing is good for us, it can lift our spirits and help with stress because it can help control out breathing. And that's why the loss of song and music and performance and choirs, and the communities and friendships they create, were so missed during the lockdowns and the pandemic restrictions. Now here in Jersey, along with other parts of the world which are benefitting from the COVID19 vaccines, we are fortunately able to sing again. 

Tomorrow evening I will be at a thanksgiving service and concert here in Jersey which I've helped to produce - I spoke about that yesterday in this blog - and it will be fabulous to welcome 'live' musicians to perform for us! It's a glimpse of how we might be returning to some sort of 'normal', although at the service we will be remembering those who have lost their lives and for whom that 'new normal' will never come.

We haven't started our Community Choir again, but who knows?

However today I want to share with you one of the songs we loved singing. It's a song by the American singer and pop sensation Katy Perry, who's birthday it is today, and it's called 'Firework'.


Katy Perry - FireworkThe words are so inspiring and challenging and for any of us who've often felt 'invisible' or worthless or vulnerable, there's a real message of hope here.

I particularly like the line :

Maybe a reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road

Sometimes it feels like we're getting nowhere in life, that all the doors are closing on us and we're not getting any of our dreams or even wishes. Nothing seems to work for us, we feel abandoned and without hope.

But remember - you are a firework. I'm a firework and we can shine!

I just need to believe more ... believe in myself more, maybe ... and Ignite the Light inside and let it shine. Breathe in, be courageous, regain my confidence, show the world who I am.

Don't listen to the criticism. Forget the nay-sayers and those who would put us down! We are  worthy, we are valuable,  we are precious!

Let's Fly High!

This song, we discovered when we sang it in our Community Choir, meant different things to different people. It's got the knack of touching hearts.

So .. thank you Katy ... and Happy Birthday!

 
Do you ever feel like a plastic bag
Drifting through the wind
Wanting to start again?
Do you ever feel, feel so paper-thin
Like a house of cards, one blow from caving in?

Do you ever feel already buried deep
Six feet under screams but no one seems to hear a thing
Do you know that there's still a chance for you
'Cause there's a spark in you?

You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

'Cause, baby, you're a firework
Come on, show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go, "Ah, ah, ah"
As you shoot across the sky

Baby, you're a firework
Come on, let your colours burst
Make 'em go, "Ah, ah, ah"
You're gonna leave 'em all in awe, awe, awe

You don't have to feel like a wasted space
You're original, cannot be replaced
If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe a reason why all the doors are closed
So you could open one that leads you to the perfect road
Like a lightning bolt your heart will glow
And when it's time you'll know

You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine
Just own the night like the 4th of July

'Cause, baby, you're a firework
Come on, show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go, "Ah, ah, ah"
As you shoot across the sky

Baby, you're a firework
Come on, let your colors burst
Make 'em go, "Ah, ah, ah"
You're gonna leave 'em all in awe, awe, awe

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
It's always been inside of you, you, you
And now it's time to let it through,  

'Cause, baby, you're a firework
Come on, show 'em what you're worth
Make 'em go, "Ah, ah, ah"
As you shoot across the sky

Baby, you're a firework
Come on, let your colours burst
Make 'em go, "Ah, ah, ah"
You're gonna leave 'em all in awe, awe, awe

Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon
Boom, boom, boom
Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon

 

 


Choose Well

How has your week been?

I know some of my blog friends will have had birthdays and anniversaries, some may have changed their jobs, or even moved home or made some decisions which will be life changing in the long run. A mixture of challenges and happiness ... that's life I guess.

I saw this picture and thought online and it reminded me that how I react to the stuff happening in my life is up to me. I can choose how I react to life's moments and what is thrown at me.

I've had a busy week - I've chosen that. But I have also allowed myself to get stressed out from time to time and that's also been a choice ... one that I've tried to quickly turn around.

As I've said a few times during this year of blogging so far, it's up to me whether I choose to remind myself of the positive  or prefer to fixate on the negative things I'm experiencing or the things I don't have rather than all the things and people I am blessed with.

So today I choose to accentuate the positive ... I determine to choose well.

Today I choose ... JOY!

Choose well


Be Different!

Yesterday in this daily blog I was talking about the amazing children's author, Roald Dahl - it was his birthday yesterday, which is now celebrated as Roald Dah Day.

Hope you enjoyed it!

But I wanted to continue thinking about this amazing writer ... he was a real 'one off', a man with a huge imagination. Someone who was just true to himself. 

He never learned to type, he did all his writing in an old shed  with sharpened pencils. He invented a medical device to help his son when he suffered a head injury and the family could find nothing to help him. He made up his own language - or at least a language for his BFG (Big Friendly Giant) ... Gobblefunk!

And, of course, he wrote all those wonderful stories and much more ... see yesterday's blog if you want to read all about him!

Roald Dahl was unique!

Now, we can't all be world famous authors, or indeed hugely famous for anything.

But we can be different!

We all have things which make us stand out from the crowd, it's just sometimes we desperately try to fit in to other people's moulds and forget just to be ourselves! Instead of standing out and being proud of our differences, we squash them or hide them away. 

For most of my adult life I've been a little 'different' to others, but I did spend years being tempted to 'fit in'  - sometimes I DID do that, wore what people thought I should wear, looked like they thought I should look ... and that was just for starters...

But no longer! Now I am accepting my uniqueness and  I'm looking always for the things that make ME  different. And if people don't like it, they can lump it. I'm not going completely weird, but I am trying to be true to myself a lot more. And I'm finding it rather liberating!

So today ... I just want to encourage us all to embrace ... well ... ourselves!

We never know what we might uncover and how much fun we might have or where life might take us when we truly just become more 'real', more as we should be.

Have a great day everyone!

Be yourself


Time to Unplug and Re-boot!

It's a Bank Holiday weekend here in Jersey ... as it is in most of the UK!

That means many of those in work have an extra day off ... Monday is a public holiday ... I'll explain why when that day comes.

But meantime, it's a weekend to hopefully enjoy the back end of the summer, if you can, just before families start preparing for the kids to go back to school early in September, and unless you have to work - just chill out.

Recently I've been spending an awfully long time in front of mobile devices and my laptop... lots of writing, proof reading, making little films on my mobile phone ... all for work mostly as I try to scrape together a bit of a living.

Occasionally these tech devices do grind slow and so every now and then I do the obvious.

Turn off the computer/phone or whatever, walk away for a little bit to stop me pulling my hair out in frustration, and then switch back on again, to reboot the system.

It usually works.

And sometimes we need to do the same for ourselves.

Unplug for the weekendSo, today ... this weekend ... if you're feeling you need to just 'unplug' for a while, why not do that?

In a world where our working lives especially might be dominated by tech ... including all those 'ZOOM' meetings because we can't actually meet in person or maybe travel to projects we're involved in ... perhaps we could do with a day without computers and the likes?

I know some people give up social media for Lent ... that's like unplugging as well, because constantly looking at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all those other sites can be quite stressful.

Because I'm doing this daily blog this year, it's hard for me to do that ... but actually I enjoy chatting to you every day, and I can schedule some of my posts, so that's also a way of chilling out away from technology.

You can also 'unplug' by trying to find a few moments for yourself.

Now, I know that can be hard if, like me, you have caring responsibilities, but even a walk in the garden or a few minutes breathing deeply away from everyone else, can be a real stress reliever! For me, swimming in the sea and taking myself out of my everyday for even a little while really helps to 're-boot' my system and my mindset and my mental well being.

'Unplugging' will be different for everyone, so maybe just decide what works for you.

Whether you are taking the weekend off, or just a moment here and there in a busy life, I hope you DO get to chill out a little, forget the everyday challenges for even a few moments,  and give yourself some 'ME' time!

Happy Saturday!


Happy Friday Dance

 

Friday dance

Not much more to say really ... apart from 'thanks' to whoever made this picture ... DAVESWORDSOFWISDOM.com 

Couldn't have put it better if I tried!!!


Amazing Gift

Well we've come to another Monday ... and where I am the sun is shining and it's a glorious day!

I have a very busy week ahead, not just work but lots of conversations about all sorts of things to do with my life. Family events to celebrate as well so that's exciting!

It can be a bit daunting, standing on the brink of a week which has so much planned into it ... and so Monday can be a little bit stressful.

But, when I started this blog back on January 1st I called it 'One Day at a Time' because sometimes, even when you have your whole life scheduled, it is worth taking each day moment by moment. That may reduce the stress of thinking we can't cope with all that lies ahead. 

Just breathe, and do the next task. As it says in a certain holy book (The Bible) ... tomorrow will take care of itself! That actually is something which Jesus Christ talked about on the Sermon of the Mount.

So that's my message to myself at the start of this new week. 

Each day is an amazing gift. We are not promised tomorrow. And so  it's up to us ... it's up to me ... to make each moment and each day count.

Happy Monday!

 

Monday acrostic


The Week Ahead

It's Sunday ... officially the first day of the week, and the first day of a fresh new month - August.

How time is flying by!

Are you having a great weekend? I hope you managing to find some time and space for yourself and your family, are relaxing a little and having a bit of fun maybe. Putting things into perspective.

And I trust you now are now feeing refreshed for the week, and the month, ahead.

I came across this thought recently online ... and was inspired.

If only we can take something of the 'freedom' of the weekend into the working week ... that I think would keep me more balanced. If I am able to keep the spirit of the weekend through the whole month, that will be even better.

If, when I feel overwhelmed with the troubles of life, I can feel the essence of the weekend in my head and heart, and give myself a little time and space for contemplation and even meditation and prayer, then I am confident that I will feel more courageous. And I'll be able to cope better with what life may throw at me.

If, when I get a bit stressed out with my 'to do' list and all the demands that others are making on my life, maybe if I recall that freedom feeling of the weekend and realise that the negative stuff WILL, ultimately, pass ... hopefully it'll put my life into perspective a little.

I don't know about you, but I'm taking a deep breath. I don't know what the month has in store, but I'm confident I can DO it!

Hope you're inspired too.

Have a great week and a great month!


Take the weekend into the week!


Fridayest Friday!

If you hadn't guessed it yet - I love words!

I saw this quote and it made me laugh out loud.

Fridayist Friday

'May Today be the Fridayest Friday that ever Fridayed!'

Don't you love that?

I wish I'd thought of it!

Because in my mind it sort of sums up what Friday should be about ... awesome, fabulous, a bit of a relief because we've come to the end of the week ... the 'Fridayest Friday' in fact!

This quote got me thinking about one of my favourite subjects - WORDS.

I'm fascinated by language and words actually and especially intrigued as to WHY certain things are called what they are called.

For the longest time when I was a kid I was obsessed by the English word 'cup' ... I know, that's a bit weird but it's true!

What kept spinning around in my head was this question ... WHY is that vessel we drink from called a 'CUP' ?

I have no idea why that word got me, but if you just listen to the word and try not to think about the object it's describing, it's a very strange sound.

CUP! 

Say it out loud and you'll get what I'm talking about. I'm sure there are other words which sound just as odd, when disembodied from the visual image of what it is describing. But it was 'CUP' that made me think endlessly.

The Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins tells me that the word is from the Old English and comes originally from the Latin word 'cuppa'. But that doesn't help me really. WHO decided that the strange sounding word 'cuppa' was a good way of describing that sort of vessel? Whoever it was, I bet they never guessed that that Latin word would also make it's way into the English language.

I feel like a 'cuppa' tea just thinking about it.

There ARE some words, of course, that DO make more sense because they sort of describe how the thing SOUNDS. That's an example of what we call 'onomatopoeia'. I love these kinds of words.

SIZZLE .. it sounds like what is it!

HOOT ... I can hear the owls in the night-time  now!

SNAP, BANG, BEEP, POP ... I could go on, there are masses of these words. I'm sure you can dream up a list of your own.

But the thing I love about language is that it's always developing. New words are often being introduced into our (English) language as culture develops.

For example, when I was a kid we didn't have the words 'social media' or 'internet' or 'cell/ mobile phone', 'emoji'  - those techy terms just for starters. And the coronavirus/ COVID19 pandemic has also resulted in a whole new set of words we had never or hardly heard before early 2020.

If  you follow the Oxford English Dictionary's 'new' word trail you'll find that new phrases and words are constantly being added to the lexicon. In July 2020, for instance, the New Words section of the OED included now familiar phrases such as 'contact tracing', 'contact tracer', 'physical distancing' and even 'Zoom' as we all turned to the internet to stay in touch during lockdowns. They are all now in the dictionary.

When it comes to making up words, however, in my experience the Champion of the World has to be the amazing author Roald Dahl who is best known, of course, for his children's books and stories, many of which are a bit surreal.

He often made up words including those that are onomatopoeic. Words like 'churgle' , which describes gurgling with laughter, and 'bibble', a perfect description of how water makes a soft gurgling sound when it hits ...  a giant peach! And how about 'scrumdiddlyumptious' - delicious!

Roald Dahl also made up words which sort of incorporate sounds and words we already know ... how about 'Giganticus' which  describes something ' Grand and spectacular'. Or 'Jumpsy; which is if you feel anxious and the slightest thing will make you jump. 

Dahl called his language 'Gobblefunk' and he apparently made up nearly 400 words - over 300 for his fabulous story 'The BFG' (The Big Friendly Giant). If you want to investigate some of his word inventions there are loads of website sites including The Wonderful World of Dahl: GOBBLEFUNK: Dahl Dictionary and Matilda Gobblefunk: A Dictionary of Roald Dahl’s Made-Up Words

Sometimes the writer just mixed up English words. One of his heroes is 'Esio Trot' ... Tortoise backwards. And if you've ever heard someone talk a load of old nonsense then you've experienced Dahl's 'Rommytot' - TommyRot!

But there are just bonkers words which Roald Dahl made up ... conjured out of his own imagination. 

My favourites include those that are written on the walls of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire in England ...see my pictures of the place below ..

"It is Truly SWIZZFINGLY FLUSHBUNKINGLY GLORIUMPTIOUS"

WHAT an imagination!

Many moons ago just as I was about to go into my final English exam at high school - my final 'A-level' exam - my teacher, who was standing at the door giving all her students some last minute encouragement, said to me "Cathy you ARE capable of getting an 'A' today ... but only if, just today, YOU DON'T MAKE UP ANY WORDS!"

Yes, I was well known even then, aged 18, for making up words. I often wrote a word which would, in my mind, sound right but which was actually a mixture of already existing words. It was something my English teacher picked up on, and although not discouraging me in my imaginative wordsmithing, was just reminding me that the examiners might not quite understand my brain!

And, by the way, on that June morning, I did resist confloberating a few words, and I did get an A in the English 'A-level'... top marks!

So, back to my thought for this day.

Have a Fridayest Friday!

Don't be a 'Grunion' (a grump) ... have a 'Phizz-Wizzing' (a brilliant) Day everyone! 

Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre exterior 2

Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre


*The Roald Dahl Music and Story Centre, Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire 
(images by Cathy Le Feuvre)

Visit if you can ... it's 'Whoopsy-splunkers' - Fantastic!